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Author Topic: Selection Conference - how do we support before and after?  (Read 8081 times)
Vic VDB
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« on: April 23, 2013, 05:45:25 AM »

I have been challenged by the number of people who have attended a conference and not been selected. Experiences, thought are most welcome.

V
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Dave C.
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2013, 04:35:46 AM »

I have no experience in this area, and can only imagine the cognitive dissonance that would result from believing you were called by God to do something that a committee then rejected. 

There are of course plenty of people in the secular world who are deemed great successes who faced early setbacks and failures.  Charles Darwin, A. E. Houseman, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, just to name a few.  And figures from the Bible such as Moses, Jonah, Peter, as well. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure there's a single revered person from the Bible who achieved what they set out to do in the way they planned, yet God was able to use them to great effect in unexpected ways. 

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Admin
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 07:56:45 AM »

I think the problem for many is that they are invited into places and given a pseudo status of 'almost a dogcollar' by some who then drop them like hot potatoes. The other problem is that many feel that the 'not this route' is a 'not wanted' and therefore the rejection is, for them, real and painful!

As you say, many have stumbled, fallen and find their way to the place where they are who they are called to be - true in church, sport, science and every area of life :)
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jd2387
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 08:10:47 AM »

I was turned down for ordained NSM ministry in April 2008, shortly after my wife was accepted for stipendiary ministry. Both of us had been in the exploratory process for around two years. We both were accepted for the exploratory process, recommended to the bishop, sent to a panel. I had my first inkling of what was to come when I got my letter from the bishop. Whereas my wife had got ‘Dear Jane’ and the promise of the prayers of the bishop, I got ‘Dear Mr. Smith’ and no such promise. It made me realise that she was ‘in’ and I was ‘out’, and that no matter what had been repeated time and time again about the a ‘no’ from the selectors not being a rejection, that was in fact what it was.

Perhaps rejection is the wrong word, or the wrong concept. Because what I found in the days that followed was not so much a feeling of rejection, more a sense that in some way I had ceased to exist. The policy in our diocese was that the parish at large was not informed of our exploratory process. Consequently once my wife’s had been accepted, her success was made public, whereas my situation was not. This meant that I entered a curious space where I had no context in which to work through my loss, but was confronted on every side by those wishing to congratulate me on and talk about my wife’s success. My vicar was helpful and supportive. I had an hour in his study every so often, but I couldn’t seem to connect with this wider feeling of being in a place of non-being, where there were no markers and seemingly no signposts.

And I believe that the loss of an anticipated vocation is a very great loss. During the two year exploratory process it is inevitable that the process of priestly formation begins. One is repeatedly and consistently encouraged to imagine oneself in the position of a priest. The process itself, with the ongoing encouragement of the DDO, the sense of vocation taking shape, the recommendation to the bishop, the bishop’s own recommendation to a panel, fosters this formation. Despite the knowledge of possible failure, the decision itself inevitably comes as an abrupt and destabilising end to a long, slow and thoughtful process.

I have met a number of other people who have been turned down after a BAP. Each one, without exception, has found it to be a devastating event which the church has given little help with. And I think that the problem is that the church’s selection system, as it is currently constituted, will inevitably produce this result. It is, effectively, designed to.

I recognise, as the comment above indicates, that this is a spiritual experience. Being cast into the wilderness has many biblical precedents. In my case the journey entailed has taken me out right of the church. But is this really what the church wants?



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Vic VDB
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 12:51:42 PM »

There's much to consider and respond to here - I know a few others on the vocations journey (varying stages) have (or will be) joined and hopefully this will add some perspective too!

Back shortly (and welcome)

Vic
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Vic VDB
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2013, 07:12:24 AM »

Having read JD's comments and discussed this a bit I am sad to say that he doesn't appear to be an isolated case :(

Some of the clergy I've spoken to are obviously at fault because of embarrassment and a sense of inadequacy but the reality does appear to be that we often handle the 'not this route' path rather badly.

In our diocese the DDO has put together a group to help those in this situation to refine, explore (and perhaps represent themselves to conference) and most of all, care for those who have been unsuccessful at conference - something ALL should be doing.

More later

V
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clockman
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 06:26:23 PM »

My wife was initially rejected by ABM (as it the was) - or rather 'not recommended for training' (not even go & get some life experience then re-apply) - and it knocked her completely for six for about a year. She had taken 10 years to get to that stage, doing every course the WEMTC could offer - Sunday School leadership, then Lay Reader (with special emphasis on children's ministry, and finally Local Ministry Team training, and the rejection felt very much like the devil winning. It did not help that the report from the lead interviewer seemed to be talking about someone completely different - nothing he said rang true to the bishop, the DDO, the local parish priest or me. While the phrase used by the ABM panel was indeed 'not recommended tor training', and the bishop/DDO could have overruled hat recommendation, this was not (politically) possible since our bishop was head of the ABM board!
She reapplied a couple of years later and was accepted.
As it turns out the delay meant that timings were far better from the point of view of our kids schooling, and that she was in the right place at the right time (during her curacy) to be very influential for a group of 5 kids (including one of our own!) in the development of their faith - 2 are about to start training for priesthood, one is in Africa doing mission work and is (I think) quite likely to train in due course, and I would not be surprised if our son also does.
We now see the work of God in the delay, though it was shattering at the time, making her wonder if she had any idea at all about who she was, or indeed what she was - what sort of person. This for someone for whom communication is an essential part of her being....

On the other hand a colleague of hers on the Lay Reader course who was also rejected (though not by the same panel) was turned away from the church by his experience. I can't help feeling he would have been an excellent priest - but what do I know? I'm only a layman!
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Vic VDB
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2013, 06:40:37 AM »

There are some who find that the 'look somewhere else' message was merely 'wait' in different clothes and that's fine - but the manner in which some are told and the way they're not supported after a selection conference 'crash and burn' is quite awful and obviously wrong!

I know a couple of people who left after being 'turned down' and this wasn't totally due to the way they were told, in fact it was more about having promoted themselves as potential vicars or readers they couldn't face going back into the rank and file membership as they saw it.

I think we need to cherish those who come forward and support them equally the same whether it's a 'Yes' or a 'Try another path' response.

Thanks A for such a positive story with your other half :)
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clockman
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 06:11:28 PM »

Yes, if you have boasted that you are up for the selection and are turned down it can be hard to go back - but if you are the sort who <i>boasts</i> about this kind of thing perhaps they are right to turn you down!
As you say though - we need to care for those who are rejected as well as celebrating with those who are accepted.
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