I am Judith Griffin (below), a first year theology student from Wycliffe Hall, Oxford (left) and hope to be ordained into the Church of England next summer. At the end of the first year we need to have 5 weeks on a work placement where we will gain experience of a church environment which is different from that of our own. I have come from an inner city church so I was keen to know more about country parish life and ministry.
I was completely overwhelmed by the kindness and the warm welcome which I received from everyone whom I met in Dorchester. I was particularly struck at how much time many people give up volunteering for so many roles within and associated to the Abbey. The hard work and team spirit enables this historical place of prayer to be open and accessible to everyone. I was amazed at the variety of events and services that are available that reach out to all different sorts of tastes, needs and age groups.
Under the excellent leadership of Sue and the willingness of the volunteers to coach me, I feel that I have been privileged with the best experience that I could have ever imagined. I have learnt so much practically, but what stands out as a continual thread is the community and the way in which people relate to one another in love and understanding. Through Sue’s example the practical aspect of being a priest and being part of such a community is something that I can see is lived and enjoyed and is not contrived or something confined to a 9 to 5.30 perspective.
I will take away many valuable nuggets of experience and remember my time at Dorchester with warmth. This positive time has added to my excitement about the prospect of becoming ordained and I can’t wait to get out there and use what I have learnt this summer.
Thank you Sue, to you, your family, the team and everyone who I met; it was like being part of a large family .......and I shall also miss the cake!
(Blogged by Judith Griffin, Wycliffe Hall Ordinand on a 5 week placement at Dorchester Abbey during June/July 2010)