Blog; New beginnings…as an ordinand

Photo by Bess Hamiti from Pexels

September can bring many ‘new beginnings’ in the chapters of our lives. For Emma Haggar it marks the beginning of ‘life as an ordinand’. As part of her two year journey, Emma is writing a blog of her experience, some of which will be serialised in Network Suffolk.

In August 2016 I sat in the chapel at Bishop’s House on the island of Iona and read these words, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19). As I wrote them and the surrounding verses in my journal, I knew that the new thing God was calling me to was priesthood in the Church of England. And I said yes…



It’s Friday 6th September 2019 and I am sat in my new bedroom, in my new flat, in my new home of Bristol, about to embark on life as an ordinand at Trinity College Bristol. So I thought I’d write a blog about it. I can’t promise it will be very profound but there’s a few reasons I thought I’d write it…

Firstly, even my computer doesn’t know what an ordinand is and has put an angry red line under it, suggesting I’ve mis-spelt a normal word like ordinance or ordinary. So I thought it might be vaguely interesting to explore what being an ordinand really means and what it’s like in real time, as it happens.

Secondly, I didn’t expect to find myself here. Which suggests to me that there are probably people sat at home, innocently reading a blog, who may find themselves being called to an unexpected journey a little like mine. My hope is this blog will cause people to ponder and pray about what God is calling them to, and provide encouragement that if I can do it then so can you.

And thirdly, I thought it might help me process some of the incredible, exciting, terrifying, boring, exhausting, and wonder-filled experiences I am likely to have over the next two years. And who knows…perhaps the odd profound thought will sneak its way in without me noticing!

So…what is an ordinand? Well, basically it’s someone who is training to become ordained in the Church of England. For the next two years I will be learning about God (theology) and all sorts of other useful topics like the Bible, Ethics, and Pastoral Care to train me up ready to be a vicar. I have already started a personal training regime of drinking lots of tea (more tea, vicar?) and trying to be more deliberate and intentional with my prayer time (as opposed to my usual frantic ramblings when things go wrong or the embarrassed prayers of thanks at bedtime when I realise God’s been busy on my behalf during the day and I haven’t paused to notice it).

Today we met our pastoral groups – those people who we’ll meet with regularly to support each other – and I went food shopping and discovered that Bristol has more hills than Ipswich! Tomorrow we have a service in the afternoon and then we will share food together. I feel sure a future blog will be all about community because that’s such a key part of life at Trinity (and life with God) and I’ve already met some amazing people (and a cute cat called Albus…).

So life as an ordinand has started and I look forward to sharing it with you.

You can see all of Emma’s blog, ‘Thoughts on the way’ here.

Emma is from Ipswich and has been involved in various Christian projects over that time, including Town Pastors and the Ipswich Christian Resource Library. She is an accomplished musician, with involvement in a number of local productions as well as previously practising as a private music teacher.
The thoughts expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of Network Suffolk