Tuesday 19 December 2017

A Late Ordination

Ed Tomlinson of the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate damns the new Bishop of London, Sarah Mullallay, with faint praise:
"What we witness, instead, is a late vocation to the church whose residentiary training was in nursing not theology. Does this not speak volumes? And does it make it a triumph for women’s ministry if she is being promoted not on merit but gender?"
Her "residentiary training" being in nursing  does indeed speak volumes. For her dedication, before ordination, to a caring profession. One in which she so excelled that she is a Dame of the British Empire  (Hnaef: please correct if I've not understood the British honours system).
But what about her non-residentiary training as a minister in the Church of England? If my sums are right, she trained  for her Theology Diploma while simultaneously raising a family, getting her kids through teenage angst, and doing a senior job.

Now I've got a terribly wrong view of full-time theology colleges. In my mind, they're populated by people calling each other "Doris", while pouring pints of beer over each other's heads, reading Newman's Apologia and flicking through lace catalogues. And goodness knows what the Anglo Catholics are like. But my point is, being a single young bloke in a theological college is nothing like as hard as being a married mum studying part time, while not merely holding down a day job, but being at the top of your profession. (And incidentally being a married mum or dad while on a residential course ain't necessarily that easy).

So crack on, Bishop Sarah. London is very lucky.

* pouring beer over each other's heads an insight provided by @BruvverEccles 


  1. Many years ago Fr Ed , as a newly ordained Priest , described myself and another female NSM Priest at a Chapter meeting as 'Hobby Priestesses. I don't think he was ever quite the same after we got him in a corner in the car park after the meeting.

  2. Excellent blog. A woman of + Sarah's age could hardly be anything other than a 'late' ordinand, could she?

  3. Interesting post. By coincidence the new Archbishop of Paris soon to take office spent twelve years as a doctor. If they ever have occasion to meet at an ecumenical event they will have a lot in common!

  4. On the basis of Fr Ed (why do I connect this title to the old TV Show of the Talking Horse Mr Ed?), our Current Ordinand who happens to be a Senior Matron in the NHS and will be ordained this September, should be a Bishop within 18 months and perhaps the next ABY when AB John retires?

    I don't think so. I actually thought that the Ordinariate has folded as many of those who fled there, have quietly slunk back to the CofE without fanfare not wanting to be told "I told you so".

    Perhaps Fr Ed is being loyal, just like he was to his Ordiantion Vows in the CofE.

  5. Nursing and the church do seem to go together. I've known several people who have progressed from the one to the other; of course, in the "good" old days, the women used to have to marry a minister/ordinand to satisfy that vocation, just as they used to have to become nurses (and hope to marry the house surgeon) while their brothers went off to train as doctors. Things do change!

    I'm rambling. Sorry, too many mince pies at the annual office do this afternoon.


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