After a process of candidature stretching over nearly two years, it has finally come down to this - the final appearance before our District Synod. This would determine whether we would be accepted as probationer ministers in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
The "whittling-down" process has been ruthless. While I don't know how many potential candidates entered the first stage of appearing before their Circuit Quarterly Meetings, of the 39 people in our District who made it onto the list of candidates issued by the Education for Ministry and Mission Unit at the beginning of 2008, only 7 of us got to stand in front of the Bishop and the rest of the Synod delegates to make our promises to the Church.
There were many tears flowing as the Bishop prayed for us, after which he invited the Synod delegates to participate in "organised chaos" as over 200 people came up to hug us, shake hands, and offer congratulations.
Up to now there have been three pivotal moments in my life - receiving Jesus as Lord, marrying my wonderful wife, and seeing my son come into the world. Being accepted as a probationer for ministry must surely rank up there.
I give thanks to God for choosing one so unworthy to be part of the Great Commission by calling me to the ministry of Word and Sacrament. It is only by His grace that I can even hope to bring Him glory in this manner. I also want to thank those who have supported me thus far, including my family, friends, and the many people within the Church who have journeyed with me (even those who "nailed" me in the February screening - that experience has enabled me to grow).
[I have not long returned from this morning's service, and since I have not even seen my family for nearly four days, we are going out for a meal to celebrate. Words and images from Central District Synod 2008 will follow shortly.]
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