18 March 2011

on a different topic... (2)

 Thank you 
to everyone who prayed for me while I was away on the Bishops' Advisory Panel (or BAP). I visited family first, which was nice and low-key - a pretty good way to relax a little before the grueling 48 hours of the BAP. 

For some English speakers, a bap is a bread roll (USAID photo)

We started off with a Personal Inventory - like an interview, but written, and with very, very tight time restrictions. The goal was to get our first reaction answers - to give us no time to think about any of the questions. I found it rather horrific to be under such time pressure! 

Then each of us had to make a presentation which we had prepared in advance, of no more than five minutes in length, to initiate and lead a discussion on our presentation topic, and finally to summarize the discussion in two minutes. I'm comfortable speaking in public, but found the two-minute summary pretty tricky. It's not something I've really ever done before, and I was a little disappointed in how I did. 

Each of us also had three fifty-minute interviews (individually, with a different interviewer for each interview). 

All of these tasks were related, very explicitly, to the church's nine selection criteria. Our fourth task was that we were given a fictional (but plausible) scenario at the start of the seminar, and were required by the end of the seminar to hand in a 500-word letter responding to the situation. It was called a Pastoral Exercise, and yes, was pretty clearly designed to examine our pastoral skills. 

We also had several worship services, and of course meals and coffee breaks together. In theory, we were not under scrutiny during the services, but were observed during meal times. (We were asked to make sure we sat with different people, especially the various interviewers, at different meals.) 

I confess I skipped our own said Evensong in order to attend sung Evensong at Ely Cathedral. It turned out that I missed out on a sermon/address which everyone else said was very comforting and inspirational, but I was very glad to have gotten away from our retreat center for a little bit, to sit in the vast space of a cathedral and listen to beautiful, prayerful music (Sumsion's Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in G). 

Ely Cathedral in background (licensed image 2007 by Gwendraith) 
I should hear within a fortnight (two weeks) whether or not I have been approved to train for ministry in the Church of England (Diocese in Europe). 

[Update here.]

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