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BBC Radio 4:Rev Dr Rob Marshall 30/06/2018

时间:2018-07-06 11:13:48

Good Morning . This weekend, in cathedrals across the country, bishops will be ordaining new priests and deacons to serve their parishes and communities. Vocations discerned over many years or, for some relatively recently, are publicly affirmed by the laying on of hands in the most poignant of services.

In the wider context of fewer people attending Church of England services more generally, it may come as a surprise to many that the number of men and women who started their training for ordination last September was at a ten year high! Many of the ordinands already have day jobs and will take on part time roles within the church. These include 3 doctors, who will be ordained at the same service by the Bishop of Lichfield, whilst the former cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken will be ordained deacon in St Paul’s Cathedral by the Bishop of London.

In the book the Fire and the Clay, members of an Anglican religious community in West Yorkshire reflect on how the life of an ordained minister is both public and sacramental; priests are called to make Jesus Christ known to their people but also to reflect publicly the primary characteristics of the Christian life because of their vocation. And to that extent, like many other callings, the task of the priest or deacon is much more than just a job and is complex to define.

Interestingly, and with this in mind, it’s been revealed this week that teacher numbers in schools are too low. Recruiting qualified new teachers is proving increasingly difficult for schools as the vocation to be a teacher seems to be under ever greater pressure with increasing workloads and rising expectations.

It’s the same with midwives, doctors, nurses and members of the emergency services. Their vocation involves something else other than just work – what some have called “the whole personality.”

So a good teacher is not just going to be an expert in a particular field but is someone who embodies a way of life or a way of doing things which sets a good example to others; and this kind of challenge or calling does not suit everyone.

The effective recruitment for key vocational tasks on which we rely for a happy, educated and healthy society is a real challenge. We need more people to be attracted to this kind of way of life for our well-being and flourishing as a nation to continue. So we must cherish them.

As new ministries begin in the church this weekend and the notion of vocations is very much in the spotlight – I will also be thinking about all the people who fulfil crucial callings, to help make the world a better place.

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