'...it was helpful to understand the pace of the journey and pray with others who knew what I was going through.'
A You and Ministry weekend nearly four years ago proved to be a key moment in Beccy Allen's journey towards ordination. This summer, Beccy begins her new role as a curate in Sparkhill, east Birmingham. As she prepares for that, she reflects on how events during that You and Ministry weekend led to making a significant phone call almost as soon as she returned home.
The You and Ministry weekend was when things changed for me,' said Beccy, 'so on the following Monday I arranged my first appointment with the diocesan director of ordinands.' Speaking on her initial impressions of the weekend she says 'When I arrived it was clear that other people were at various different stages of the process, so it was helpful to understand the pace of the journey and pray with others who knew what I was going through.'
She continues 'There were a few significant moments, but the biggest shift was getting away from asking myself the question "why would anybody do this?" and seeing the benefits. There were ordained ministers on hand to answer questions about the realities of clergy life, and it was great that they found it just as easy to talk about the positives as well as being honest about some of the costs.
'The churches which I've been part of had always had male vicars, so it was also helpful to talk with the other women who were exploring their own vocation and Rosie Ward, a vicar who was co-leading the weekend.
In her own life Beccy started to work through some of the implications of her decision: 'I've got a young family so I had some concerns around that, but I can also now see the benefits of my children growing up with a wider focus on life, the chances they'll have to mix with different types of people, and the relationships and opportunities they'll find in the life of the church.
'As well as the sessions and conversations, on the Sunday we had an hour and a half of quiet reflection time. By the end of that time with God I knew this was what I had to do.'
Beccy has gone on to study for an MA in Transformative Christian Practice at Queen's College in Birmingham and is gearing up to start her curacy in Sparkhill, which is a predominantly Muslim area and says 'it will be exciting to work with the incumbent and the congregation as I continue down the path God has called me to.'