At this time of the year churches and clergy vestments are adorned with green. In this ‘growing’ season our thoughts and prayers turn to nurturing our own lives of faith and energising our faith communities. Central to such growth is discerning what God is calling us to be and to do.
The Latin term for ‘voice’ is voce. Hearing God’s voice and embracing what God calls us to is what we mean when we talk about vocation. Vocations Month runs from 15 July and 15 August. During this month I encourage all Anglicans to explore their vocations. We all share one primary vocation: to live out our Christian faith in our workplaces, social circles, schools and homes. Beyond that basic sameness there is great diversity in the shape this one vocation takes for different people in different places. For some, vocation includes service in special ways in our church: as church wardens, liturgical assistants or volunteers in ministry. For others, the call to ordained ministry shapes and fulfils their lives, bringing great joy along with demanding work and the sacred leadership of ministry, sacrament and preaching.
The theme for Vocations Month this year is ‘Vocation Conversations’. I invite you to speak with one another about how God is calling you to live out your faith. Some vocation conversations are particularly life changing. I remember a conversation I had when someone first suggested I should consider being ordained. That had never occurred to me before and it changed the direction of my life. There have been many unexpected twists and turns since then, all of which emerged from conversations with other people of faith.
In scripture we find many examples of unexpected conversations which led people deeper in their relationships with God. Think of Samuel and Eli in the temple. It was Eli’s gentle advice to Samuel (1 Samuel 3) to listen to God’s voice and respond with a simple “Speak Lord. Your servant is listening.” Philip told Nathaniel about Jesus (John 1) and, when Nathanial was sceptical, Philip suggested that he “Come and see.” Nathaniel’s life changed forever.
Whether you are wrestling with your own sense of call, or can see the potential for leadership or ministry in someone else, please follow that thought simply by having a chat about vocation. Encouragement, sound advice and prayerful support can mean the world to someone who is feeling unworthy or unsure whether God may be calling them to ministry.
Please also visit the Anglican Vocations webpage and the Anglican Vocations Facebook page to learn more about vocational discernment. If you would like to explore a vocation as an Anglican Church deacon or priest, please contact The Rev’d Canon Sarah Plowman, Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Vocations, on (07) 3835 2267 or email at DDOV@anglicanchurchsq.org.au or via Anglican Vocations Facebook.