Doing "virtual classroom work" in an Ottawa research centre while he considered doing an M.A. at the University of Western Ontario, Matthew realised that "the call to ordination would keep coming back." Accepted at Trinity College, he approached the Reverend Brian Ruttan, a priest and faculty member at Trinity College, to inquire about the process, and had "a chat with Marion" (the Venerable Marion Vincett, Executive Archdeacon of Niagara). Given application forms and essay questions, Matthew "went away and prayed, and had long talks with my spiritual director. I was pretty convinced, had that feeling that it was coming together. It makes sense, feels right."
Cheryl too wrestled with the question of ordination. "I kept questioning, pushing it aside. I got married and divorced, dated again." Looking at her pictures, she found "God speaking to me. Every single one had a scriptural reference! I asked 'How can I be a priest?' I'd had many experiences, but done nothing really bad. I was a C & E (Christmas and Easter) Christian, but I was excited. It felt right!"
Cheryl applied to audit classes at Trinity College. The Reverend David Neelands, Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, invited her to an interview with himself and Brian Ruttan. When she said "But I just want to learn a little!" they replied, "We don't think you should be doing this halfway," and, to her amazement, offered her a place. "I threw up all kinds of roadblocks (money, accommodation, etc.) but when I got home I had four phone calls." The first was a request for her to help in her father's office, the second an uncle offering a two bedroom apartment in Oakville, the third her real estate agent saying that her house had sold, and the fourth a friend looking for a roommate! "I said, 'Okay, God! I get the message! I'll do it!'"
During a course for seminarians and newly ordained men and women from around the world at Canterbury, England, in 2005, Cheryl's vocation was 'cemented'. "I learned so much (about) what it means to be part of the Anglican Communion!" Meeting the Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, "I thought, 'What's he going to think of me? I've never been one for smells and bells!' (But) there's something about him, he's down-to-earth, never more than his alb and cincture. It moved me most how easily people came up to him after services to request prayers." Her experience was fulfilled when "they asked me back to be chaplain in 2006!"
Both Matthew and Cheryl are energised by their experiences at Trinity College. Matthew says, "I keep using that word, 'fun'! It really is! I truly believe God wants us to be happy, so I think if we're not doing something we enjoy... (something) meaningful, rewarding, then we're not doing what God is calling us to. It's been my experience (observing others) that if you love it, even if it frustrates you to no end, then it's what you're meant to do." Cheryl enthuses about "all the stuff I find so stimulating. Where else can you go and have lunch and theological discussion? It's a supportive environment."
What lies ahead? Matthew admits to "a degree of uncertainty, nervousness. I feel a vocation to the priesthood, (but) I don't know what the Diocese of Niagara thinks... I don't think there's much we can do but be unsettled. God calls us to be unsettled... As I read the Gospels, if I find 'Hmmm, I can be comfortable and relaxed here,' then I haven't entered deeply enough..." He speaks thoughtfully, "Most of what I've hoped for in terms of specifics over the years has ended up looking remarkably different... so essentially it means I have to be open to whatever happens... Working on the M.Div. gives me the opportunity to learn, to meet new people."...
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