1988 Yearly Review


This year saw two ministry interviews, a failure and a success. Both decisions were right for the time, and for the attitude. The first interview (should say interviews) really saw the end of the Anglican possibility because during it I pined for Anglican security and definition, but after it could not return in that direction. The second time the Anglicans never featured, although there was the risky input of ¼ input of an Anglican - and even Fellowship of Vocation chaplain - referee, very high risk but I still wanted to stress the ecumenical element (I wonder if he is the first Anglican chaplain who's directly helped someone to ministry training in an heretical sect?!!). But the important thing is that Unitarianism could have been [even] falling down and I wouldn't [now] have considered the Church of England. I just don't believe tht at all anymore.

During the period in between [the two interviews] I realised that I shouldn't let the local situation determine national ministry ideas. But the big thing was the Sea of Faith Conference which put the final nail in the Anglican coffin (and dropped it in the hole) and saw me assessing the whole radical situation and seeing myself as a minister like that 30% present, but more so in hearing the bad state of Chesterfield [Unitarian Church] from ME. I felt like I was in touch and acting ministerially.

There was another influence too, I knew it then. My record for moving out of town is abysmal - Bangor and Essex being disasters. ...Hopefully, I'd, in ministry training, be going away to go away. Nothing in Hull, and certainly not in Clowne. On top of this it was alright being unemployed as the thesis came to an end, but this couldn't go on forever and the dole was breathing down my neck. So I had to do something. At 30 nearly I had no experience in anything. All I knew was that I had good knowledge on religious type matters, and that the intellectual side made me a good candidate. They did show [at the first interviews] that they wanted me, and I was able to reapply rapidly.

As a back up I had an application for Further Education. This was born in the crisis of the chaos at the [Ministry] Colleges ... and was enough to put a stall on any ministry [application] but I went to the prison meeting with the Anglican FOV demonstrating an interest, although as I've said no direct interest was involved (I still put it on the form - gosh, what high risk!). When for me the college crisis was over - he pulled out of wishing to become UCM Principal -it reduced the appeal of Further Education. But because of moving and unemployment reasons I kept that application there.

UCM or Oxford? Well, when I went in January [first interviews] Oxford [city] struck me as very artificial and not my kind of place. Too southern, to full of egghead students (lonely in a crowd~) and full of artificial buildings. Actually, the second time it wasn't so bad, but it would have been far away from my natural area. So Manchester it would be - being ecumenical, the Newcastle bit (a possible route to academic reputation, building on Faith and Freedom), nearer, better church practice, Federation learningand 50 miles from the family - hopefully a transition period of 2 - 3 years before I could move far away.

To come to the interviews again I prepared myself with the arguments and views I needed. I'd battled to get the minister as a referee so it looked normal ... and I wrote my [required] essay based on the years' events. At the interviews the whole thing was better and all four of us got through. This happened as the Hull/ minister decline and our moving let me lose interest locally.

Incidentally, one forgotten point. I had resolved that Jenny [dog] may retire at Clowne and I'd move on. That she died did mean. Rightly or wrongly, that I wouldn't feel bad about going away as I did when she was alive.

The Review considered other subjects including the local Unitarians. Basically I saw the development situation of the local church being held back, particularly congregational involvement (this happened properly only some years later), as well as the why issues of losing people. My own feeling was that he could have retired when approached two years earlier, but I found the relationship at that time had become very difficult and obviously this affected the application.