GUEST POST:// Laura Collingridge is a first-year ordinand at Wycliffe Hall studying for the Durham BA. Sent from Soul Survivor Watford in St Alban’s Diocese, she was formerly a university administrator and a non-resident member of the Community of St Anselm, and she blogs at https://lollingridge.wordpress.com/.
What do menstrual cups, DDOs, and evangelism in common? Apart from the potential mess and being initially awkward in public toilets?
If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen a particular tweet on my timeline. Whilst the story is 100% true, the true author of that tweet is my housemate who semi-regularly likes to do a Twitter takeover. You can’t choose your family and you also can’t choose your vicar school housemates… But people asked for the full story, so here it is.
Back in 2017, I decided to give up single-use plastic for Lent. As part of that, I had to work out what I would do when it came to my period. This predicament caused the closet menstrual cup evangelists to come out of the woodwork and they convinced me to invest in one. You can read more about that Lent adventure here.
Like Paul on the road to Damascus, I was immediately converted. Not only was I converted, but I found myself wanting to introduce every woman that I knew to this life-changing thing that I had discovered. Any time I sensed an opportunity in conversation, I would launch into my hard sales pitch, claiming the life changing benefits. I would send links, I would follow up to see how people were getting on, I’d invite any questions that they had. If I could have bought them a book, I’d have bought them a book. Sound familiar?
This got me thinking. Why was I so comfortable to evangelise about a little plastic cup, and yet was not speaking about my faith with the same enthusiasm and gusto? If I really believe that encountering Jesus is the most incredible thing we can ever do, why was I not seeking every possible opportunity to speak about him to my friends and neighbours?
So when my DDO (for the uninitiated, it’s the person who guides you through the Church of England discernment process!) asked me to put together a mood board of my spirituality as my homework for that particular selection criteria, I knew the menstrual cup had to make it on there (has anyone else ever been asked to do this or are those of us in the St Alban’s Diocese the only ones fortunate enough to be set such a task?!). Other inclusions on the mood board were the mighty McFlurry, champagne, and Sclerder Abbey.
In all seriousness, the menstrual cup is the thing that has challenged me about evangelism more than anything else. Because it has meant that, when I’ve been out on the streets on College missions, convinced I can’t talk to strangers, I think of all the times I’ve tried to convince people I barely know about the menstrual cup, so why not Jesus?
The mood board was for the spiritually selection criteria, not the evangelism one. But perhaps the mistake we – I – make, is in separating the two? The God we know through our spiritual habits, our devotional life, is the God we want to share with others and yet the God of the evangelism protocol of college missions can seem so wildly different and that is of our doing, not of His. Let’s introduce people to the God we know, the God we rave about, the God who can captivate us and transform us in an instant.
So, there we have it. The rumours are true. No fake news here. May this be an encouragement to you all to embrace that sustainable menstrual apparatus (it WILL change your life!!) and persevere in your evangelism. Because following Jesus IS one the greatest decisions you can ever make, do we not want others to share this joy too?
Are you an ordinand? Would you like to write for ‘Confessions of a Trainee Vicar?’ Use the ‘Contact’ page to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you – and I know others would to!