For those who don’t know me, my name is Godwin Chimara, a second year Ordinand from this our beloved Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney and training at the Scottish Episcopal Institute (SEI) toward a full-time priestly ministry within the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) and the worldwide Anglican Communion.
As I am writing this, I have just returned from the last residential weekend of this 2021/22 academic year. The SEI is a dispersed community who gather only six times in an academic year (orientation week and five residential weekends) to learn, worship and fellowship together.
Next (before the end of May) is my appraisal conference with a staff of SEI and my diocesan Advisor, Rev’d Dr Ruth Green, to review my ongoing formation and training particularly looking at the past year, and at the end make recommendation to Bishop Anne (my sending Bishop) either for me to proceed to the next and final year of training or not. At some point in the Summer, I will then meet with Bishop Anne to discuss the recommendation from the appraisal conference, to which she will either accept or reject the recommendation. So, now, I don’t know what the future holds. The waiting game has just begun just as we are waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
My training for the past two years has been both challenging and enriching. Challenging in the sense that I am juggling between full time work in the Oil and Gas industry, family responsibilities (father of three children including one with special needs), and training. In this past year, my training included a seven-month placement at St John’s Crown Terrace Aberdeen under the supervision of Rev’d Dr Jenny Holden. My training has been enriching as it has been formational in preparing me for the discerned ministry that I am being called to. More so, it has enabled me to continue to pray in grace, grow in grace, and give in grace as a disciple of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Those among us from St Andrew’s will be familiar with this mantra of grace which was our last congregational theme before we teamed up at St Mary’s. And I have continued with it as my personal focus in this period of discernment and formation.
My placement at St John’s has been a blessing. I must admit that before this placement, I have only been to that church once, which was in September 2020 (under Covid restrictions) when I represented SEI at the priestly ordination of Rev’d Dr Jenny Holden as SEI staff were not able to attend. Thus, this placement provided me with the opportunity to get to know the congregation and develop new relationships in addition to offering myself to be part of the work of God in this growing congregation. My last day of placement (Sunday 24th April 2022) was an emotional one across board which attests to the bond of friendship established.
In the last year, following election by my fellow students, I represented the student body at the Institute Council which is the SEC’s governing body. At the just concluded residential weekend, I was elected by my fellow students to lead the student body in the next academic year otherwise known as Chair of the Student Chapter, and that is assuming that I am recommended and approved to continue my training in the next academic year which starts end of August 2022.
On a final note, the all-round support (and prayers) I have received and continue to receive in this journey of continued discernment and training has been unbelievable. My family and I are deeply grateful for this. So, keep praying for us.
This photo taken on my last day of placement captured when I was presented with a lighted candle as a remembrance of the ministry we shared together. I was charged to light it in my next place of ministry, and in so doing, it should remind me that in the light of Christ, we are all one.