Returning to 'lifegiving' training in the 'in-between places'
By Jerome Daniels, Senior Student
About three weeks into term, I was speaking to a student over lunch and they said: “You know Jerome, I didn’t realise how much of a difference being in person at Ridley would make, it’s been brilliant!”
I think they have summed it up very well. Given the uncertainty before the start of this term and all the anxiety around us meeting back in person, things have gone very well. Another student noted to me whilst having small talk outside the chapel, that being in person is ‘much more lifegiving than being on Zoom for prayer’.
These are the places where we get to rub shoulders with different people, share ideas and challenge each other.
Those two examples are significant, not just because they are students reporting how much of a blessing this term has been, but also because these conversations took place in the in-between places. One of the great blessings of residential training is the ‘being together’: the talks over lunch, the bumping into each other between lectures etc. These are the places where we get to rub shoulders with different people, share ideas and challenge each other. It has been very good to hear the chatter in the dining hall and the laughter in the common room as people relax and reflect with each other. We are grateful to be back in person!
The Ridley Lay Ministry (RLM) students were also able to come back on site this term for their block week. This term, for the first time, we enjoyed morning prayer led both by ordinands and RLM students. There was a lot of mixing at lunchtime, evening socials, and ordinands mentioned to me how much they enjoyed getting to know the RLMs this term. We look forward to more opportunities to meet and serve with them in the future.
We were encouraged to see Yvonne, a past student and wheelchair user, open the new library with Bishop Dagmar. Students have remarked how the new library is warm and inviting. I would like to thank Anna and the team for making that a reality, as it is not only a blessing for us currently but enables Ridley to be fit for purpose in future years. Students also enjoyed the resources provided by the tutorial staff in celebration of Black History Month, and the creative use of the portable window to honour St Augustine as an African saint.
Ordinands this year have come together to plan praise and worship evenings, a BCP choir, bonfire night fire pits, the creative theology project based on the theme ‘in the beginning’ and the end-of-term Christmas party.
Michaelmas Term has been a lot of work, especially during the middle and end of term when essays are due and everyone is tired, but it has been a good term and very formative for us all. We are extremely grateful for the staff that made this term work so well, and for the wise leadership that has allowed us to be formed together physically on site, as well as be safe from Covid-19.
Jerome Daniels is in his final year of ordination training at Ridley and serves in the role of Senior Student