My return to the big smoke was in many ways a bit of a culture shock. I had returned to the office where I had started when I first moved to this part of the world. But the office had since been relocated to another part of the city, and the technology used was very different to that used in the other offices. The feel of the office was consequently very different to what I had expected. But my interests had changed from when I had worked there before too.

I found a flat close to where I wanted to study, and only a short tram ride to work. I then enrolled myself in two units of Old Testament studies. Tuesday nights was Old Testament 1 and Thursday nights was 1 & 2 Samuel. Now, apart from Sunday School stories, I knew nothing about the Old Testament. But the lecturer brought his subject alive, and I became totally enthralled in this new learning.

Not surprisingly, old temptations came my way; temptations to revert to previous practices. And it was complicated through not being able to find a church I could call home. Nevertheless I felt God’s hand steering me in the right direction. Work was difficult too, but only because I found myself marking time—ticking off the days—until I made the expected change. But, finally, the first year of studies was over, and exams completed, and it was time to reapproach the bishop regarding the ordained ministry.

Now I never expected it to be easy to be accepted as a candidate for ordination; indeed I expected there would be large hoops to jump through. But to my surprise that didn’t happen. I flew over for the meeting, talked with the bishop, and an hour later our meeting was over—and I had been officially accepted. Furthermore, although it was quite normal at the time for ordinands to complete only two years theoretical training, I asked if I could do three years—so that I could include some of the practical training that was being offered too. (After all, I had only been a Christian for a short while, and had not done many of the things that others had done prior to going to college. So it seemed sensible to me to do an additional and more practical degree at the same time.) To my surprise the bishop agreed. Indeed I became the first to do the three years, which I am happy to say then became the standard for future Ordinands.

A couple of months later, then, I resigned from the job that I had once loved so much, I moved in to the college, and sat down in the lecture room as a full-time student. It was about three weeks before term was about to begin, and it was time to immerse myself in Preliminary Greek.

To be continued …

Posted: 3rd September 2016
© 2016, Brian A Curtis

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