GUEST POST:// Jordan McDermott is an Ordinand from Blackburn Diocese studying at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield – he is going into his second year. Jordan enjoys Cricket and Football, as well as being a Music Graduate. His biggest loves are Becky, Smelly Cheese, proper beverages and Shetland, Scotland.
The College of the Resurrection, Mirfield – A theological college like no other, so the website suggests. I am just about to start my second year of three at the college, and having started at Level 2, I will do the final year of the BA in the coming year, – complicated I know! So far my time at college, and as an Ordinand, has been so many things it would be difficult to quantify in such a short piece of my musings. However, thanks to the kindness of those who follow me on social media I have a few questions as starting points!
Why did I choose Mirfield?
When I was going through the discernment process Mirfield was not top of my ‘Colleges I want to look at’ list, Cuddesdon was. I was told that the best way to choose a college was to look at places based on where other priests I admire had trained, and that would give me an idea of where might be good for me, based on the person I saw myself becoming in Ordained life. I knew a number of excellent priests who I admired and respected hugely who had trained at Cuddesdon, so it was top of my list. However, coming away from the open day, I felt like it was not the place for me to be for this season. Mirfield was the last college on my list to visit. Fortunately, as I pulled into the car park at the college a smile made its way across my face, and it did not leave again until I had told everybody about how amazing this odd little college in West Yorkshire was about 4 days later. Mirfield won me over because it felt right, I knew from the moment I arrived that it was the place for me, and that feeling has still not dissipated one bit!
What is it like being at a combined Theological College/Monastery?
Living, working, praying and playing alongside a monastery is one of Mirfield’s main selling points. The monastic life is woven throughout our own in every aspect of life in college, culminating in a state of being that goes by the name ‘Common Life’. This common life is all about learning as a community of Christians how to think, how to live, how to be… Attempting always to put others before ourselves, as difficult as that can be! It is one of the best, and one of the worst things about living at Mirfield in many ways, but I have no doubts that it is one of the most important aspects of our formation as future ministers in God’s church.
At college we have both morning and evening prayer, and mass every day as a community, joining the brothers for Evensong. Compline and Midday office are optional, although a number of students attend both regularly as part of their prayer life. The members of the Community of the Resurrection offer both informal moral support, and more formal Spiritual Direction to us as students. I see it as a real privilege to step on the conveyor belt of prayer that goes on at the Community, and very comforting knowing that I am prayed for every single day that I am a student at the college. Walking alongside the brothers for three years and being welcomed into their lives is very humbling indeed.
I have the dubious privilege of being the ‘College Child’, the youngest Ordinand – a title that I will carry forward into the new year. This involves putting up the flag on feast days and cutting the cake at the tri-annual college dinners; at the first of which I boldly thrust the knife into the cake, for only the handle to come back out again – not the best start I thought! Everybody in our community is given, or volunteers to do various jobs over the course of the year to ensure our year runs smoothly, being the college child is in my unbiased opinion the best of course!
I’d love to know specifically more about training at an Anglo-Catholic institution and what that adds for you personally.
Training at Mirfield offers Ordinands a taste of Liberal Catholic/Anglo-Catholic worship and life. Not everybody who comes to the college would label themselves as one or the other, and certainly nobody who comes to the college would ever have experienced liturgy as it is done at Mirfield. The infamous ‘Mirfield Way’ of doing things allows everybody to be thrown into the deep end together. We are all formed together, in the same way, no matter what our tradition – again it is not about us, or our own personal opinions on how things should be done, it is about doing things the same way as a community of faith.
What have been your best and worst moments of training this year?
At the college we work hard and pray lots as has already been mentioned, both things that are very important parts of our formation. However, an equally important part is learning to live together, and as part of that journey we have a lot of fun along the way. From trips out, to playing sport, to the Bingo, there is something for everybody at the college. I have loved making new friends, people who think similarly to me, and some that don’t. At college it doesn’t matter what our personal beliefs, we do the best to put them to one side in order to fully appreciate others, and love others as brothers and sisters in Christ – this leads to a lot of fun in the long run! The worst part about being at college, is also the best. Living so close to one another and doing everything together as one body of Christ means that there are going to be fallings out, no matter how hard we work to avoid it, we are all human after all. However, nothing can brew for too long at the college (often including the tea, much to my dismay), as you can’t hide from one another, so things will get sorted quite quickly, and all being well, everybody is back to loving one another, and we are probably the wiser for it.
Mirfield, a college like no other… The best bit is, that the tag line is absolutely true. It has its odd quirks, and its issues no doubt, but most importantly it is a wonderful place to accept God’s love into your life and allow God to form you into what you are supposed to be, whatever that is. I love Mirfield, and I can’t wait to get back and do another year. If you have any more questions, then don’t hesitate to ask me on Twitter: @JordanMcD2. I hope you enjoyed just a tiny snippet into my world, or should I say our world.
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 too!