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personal, St.Mary's

Positions, Music and Discernment

St Mary’s had their AGM yesterday morning during the morning service. The two church wardens had reached the end of their 6-year terms and had been due to step down at the AGM, but in light of the fact we’re just coming out of the interregnum and the new vicar has not yet formally been installed and taken up her duties, the term restriction has been lifted and both will serve for an additional year so as to best support the new team rector and also give the chance to actually train up possible candidates for the roles of church warden before the next AGM; to that end, the position of assistant church warden has been created.

As I have mentioned before just post-Confirmation, I have been going through a process of discernment for sometime as to what plan God has for me in taking a greater, more active role within the church and considering whether I am being called to ordination at some point in the future. Over the past couple of years I’ve spent some time as a CAP befriender, taken a role as co-leader of the LifeGroup I’ve been a member of for several years, and for the past year been an active member of the music ministry team at St Mary’s, leading sung worship alongside a small but dedicated team of singers and musicians (occasionally playing flute or guitar myself but predominantly singing) under the expert and talented direction of Jonathan Rathbone; but following the announcement of the creation of the assistant church warden posts I am very seriously considering whether I am being called to something more. Several people have since told me since the AGM that I was the first person they immediately thought of, so at least I have the reassurance that people think I may be suited to the role, but it’s not a decision I want to rush into. I need to learn far more about what the role would entail in terms of duties and responsibilities, time commitments etc . Certainly if I eventually do put myself forward for consideration for ordination at some point in the future then the experience of serving in the role of church warden will be invaluable, but it’s something I need to think carefully about. I need to consider whether I am actually ready for such a huge step up in terms of responsibilities and commitments, and in which ways this will impact on my role in the music ministry team. I have been trying to discern whether I am being truly called towards ordination or whether my place is as a church musician and serving the church and God through music.

This past weekend has been hugely fulfilling in terms of music; we are in the midst of rehearsals for the evening choral service for Good Friday (I’m an alto in the St Mary’s Ladies Choir), on Saturday I sang tenor (yes, really! I’m a mezzo with an extended absolute 3-octave range from C3-C6 and a comfortable range of about F3/E3-E5 though this ranges up or down depending on whether I’ve been singing predominantly alto or soprano most recently) for Stainer’s Crucifixion at St Andrew’s in Leytonestone, and then singing both for the morning service and AGM and the evening service attended by the new Area Bishop of Barking, the Rt Rev Peter Hill who preached (mostly soprano in the morning but I dropped down to lower harmonies for the evening service) – all of which I enjoyed immensely. I’ve always felt closest to God when singing sacred music and hymns; it’s something I find very spiritually uplifting. But I have been inwardly questioning my motivations – conscious or subconscious – for being part of the music ministry team; whether it arises out of a desire to serve God and the church – or myself? I’ve been concerned that maybe it’s been through love of the act of singing, vanity and pride. I’ve been trying very hard to discern just what my true calling is.

If it comes down to a choice between music ministry and church warden (assuming I’m a suitable candidate for the latter of course), it will be very hard to make that choice – but I have to consider it from all angles, including my motivations for filling either role. There will be a lot of praying for me to do, and much seeking of advice from both the existing church wardens and other trusted and spiritually-mature people; both within St Mary’s and the other three churches, and without.

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About arkadyrose

Genderqueer artist, singer, musician, writer, tailor, mead-mazer and doll crafter living in Walthamstow, NE London. Periodically develop obsessions with various topics; currently it's Paganini, previously Ancient Greece and Alexander the Great, but also fascinated by Ancient Egypt and Romano-British culture. Christo-Pagan.

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