Sunday, 27 March 2016
Last week CTM Parish was in the process of appointing a priest to fill the vacancy left when Jeremy Tear moved north.
I'm not quite sure where that process is officially as I write, so I'll leave our new Transitional Minister anonymous for the time being; I assume that when she is formally announced she will appear on the Parish website.
During the days when I knew which candidate I preferred but not who had been chosen, I had time to think about the discernment process. Partly wondering how I would feel if the candidate chosen was not the one I would have preferred; partly worrying about how badly wrong the discernment process had gone back when I was part of Caversham Baptist Church.
Actually, it is remarkable, I think, that the chosen candidate could easily have been someone other than my preference: not only were all four candidates strong in their different ways, but they were all very different in their style and approach.
Would I have been willing to work with someone other than my preferred choice? Of course. I may have reservations about discernment in general, but I am still inclined to trust the interview panel over one single person, even when that person is me. My judgement was that the other candidates would be less likely to make a go of achieving a change that's somewhere between miraculous and impossible, but that's no reason not to give it our best shot.
Although I would want to do so without compromising on my core beliefs about what following Jesus means, which could have caused issues. On the other hand, addressing such issues might have led to mutual growth, sometimes one has to trust God to sort such things out.
As it happens the official interview panel's discernment was the same as that of our unofficial 'stakeholder' panel. That doesn't necessarily mean we are right, but I think/hope it gives a better chance.
If it comes to that, it doesn't make the job we're asking her to do any less miraculous/impossible. But if we've got the discernment right then at least it gives God something to work with.
In the end, it's all about trusting Him.