The third and final year at college was very different. I was not attached to any particular church, and it was a matter of whatever subjects I had left to do. And that included Theology II, Greek New Testament II, Prayer Book and Ethics. Furthermore, the college began experimenting with a system of internal assessment, but without dispensing with the external exams. As a consequence, the year involved much more work in terms of essays, whilst still having all the exams which had to passed in the normal way.
An added complication, was that the Theology lecturer was far more interested in getting us to think in terms of theology, than sticking with the syllabus by which we would be examined. Indeed, at the beginning of each lecture he would write a topic on the board (e.g. ‘Will we continue to sin in heaven?’), and then for the whole lecture he would facilitate a debate on the issue. It was a very good approach in terms of getting us thinking, but it wasn’t much help in regard to passing the final (external) exam.
Now not being placed in any particular church, meant that I was free to wander. And knowing that this was my final year, and at the end I would be ordained, I was very conscious of the need to experience the ways that different churches operated. So, I “visited” many different churches to see how they functioned. Furthermore, I was also conscious that at the end of my training I would, most likely, be spending a lot of time ministering to young people. As a consequence, I attached myself to a youth group in a church where I was able to take an active part.
However, like the first two years, the year quickly came to an end and exam time loomed. It also came time to switch thinking from study to ordination. And this was helped by a phone call advising me of my posting. But it was not from the bishop (who was supposed to ring first). Rather it was from the minister under whom I would be working—and various arrangements were discussed. This then left me to complete my exams, and move (once again). But this time to the church in which I would be working.
In a sense, it was an exciting time; the future was going to be very different from the past. Nevertheless, it was with great sadness that my college days had come to an end. Because I enjoyed study so much, that I would have been quite happy to stay on, and continue to study forever.
To be continued …
Posted: 11th November 2017
© 2017, Brian A Curtis