All over the country, the soon-to-be ministers are under starter's orders. Ready to head out into the world to serve God, their congregations and their supervisors/superintendents/incumbents according to denomination.
But who are these new ministers? Do you know what sort of people they are? Can they, in short, be stereotyped?
Of course they can.
Charisma Kate: Charisma Kate will be dropped into a Charismatic church in a medium-sized town for her probation / curacy / trainee minister appointment. She will be great. In three years time she'll be in a cold Church at 8am, sharing bread and wine with two other people and wondering what on earth happened there. The Spirit will still be there. But she'll wonder sometimes.
Chronic Introvert: In many ways, on wonders how Chronic Introvert ever got through the selection and training process. How could anybody interview somebody who, at any point, was more likely to be looking out the window and wondering what it was like on the inside of a raindrop? How could they engage in group work when they just wanted to be outside looking like a leaf? Well, here they are now, ready to go. And the only question is this: will Chronic Introvert be found constantly dripping round the graveyard wondering what being dead feels like? Or will they take up a cricket bat, express their inner warrior, and beat the congregation into submission? The hot money's on the cricket bat.
Doing Their Best: Having followed a rather unexpected call through three years of discernment and another three of training, Doing Their Best is relieved to discover that it will be another three years before they are allowed to run a church all on their own. They will go out to a first church training placement, keen on doing their best. They will then go out to their own place, and keep on doing their best. Most clergy trainees, and clergy, are Doing Their Best.
Earnest Earnest: Earnest is very earnest. He is earnest about his calling, earnest about his work, earnest about the future. Earnest is going to hold a church together very successfully for quite a while without anything much that is spectacular happening. People like Earnest.
Formerly Working Class Bloke: Holds his former working class status and dropped aitches like war medals. Despite the Oxbridge degree and job in the city. Will be baffled to discover that the "poor" to whom he plans to bring the Good News aren't as working class as he thought, and drive into the parish from the middle-class parts of town where he himself now lives. Will soon become frustrated that the real working class don't seem to be so interested in church, outside of baptisms.
God is in Everything: Hazelnuts, veganism, voile, tea lights, bodhrans, Tibetan bells, liturgical dance, Coldplay, Teilhard de Chardin. All things nobody wants to know about in St Bogwald's. Mithering in the Mould. Good luck, God in Everything,
Keen Dean: Has been up every day for 2-3 years at 7am for "prayers for the community". Up for late-night-worship. Doing extra modules. Reading the Early Fathers in the original Greek. Looking forward to serving in a church where he can lead other people who have his interests and enthusiasm.....
Liturgist: Convinced that all the Church needs, if it is going to grow and bring the Good News to the nation, is to do Mass better. May have a point, you might think.
Moses; Nearly always a bloke. With a big long beard. Like a more-intelligent Jeremy Corbyn. Confident in his demeanour, his learning, his wisdom and, above all, his beard, Moses is looking forward to inspiring his congregation with quiet words and an unshakeable belief in his own rightness.
Person Who Knows Everything: Despite knowing everything, the Person Who Knows Everything has not had this fact acknowledged by those around them. However, with a dog collar around the neck, the Person Who Knows Everything will now be in the perfect position to explain to anything up to eight people at one time that they know everything.
Pioneer Minister in Training: About to be launched into a Christendom paradigm with the aim of doing radical things. Probably about to discover how good Christendom is at colonising an new work of the Church by ensuring that things are done "properly". Pray for them. Some may sneak through the gaps to be successful. The Church needs that.
Squire in a Spire: Already being a member of the County Set, the Squire in a Spire will now be well on the way to shoring up their position as Lord of the Manor with the additional responsibilities of Self-Supporting Minister. Once all the levers of power have been seized, the village will be in thrall to the Big House in a manner not known since before the Black Death.
University of the Third Age Person: Having seen the whole process of discernment and training as basically a mid-life theology qualification, U3AP is shocked to discover that they will be responsible for other people's spiritual care shortly. They walk out of the college "final hugs and tears" service, and immediately start researching the best institution for their MA.
Woman with Spiky Gray Hair: Armed with buckets of enthusiasm and limitless energy, the Woman with Spiky Gray Hair is all set to turn some congregation's life upside down. And if she doesn't, the 27 grandchildren almost certainly will.
Worship Leader: Plays the Strat at the final farewell leaving do. Knows that three years in a traditional church is going to be hard work. Wonders if this is what is meant by "taking up one's cross".