Clay on the potter’s wheel
Nick Barroccu reflects on his journey to ordination
Well, what a journey, from DVLA to the altar. After two years of training, studying and assessment, I’ve been ordained as a Priest in the Church in Wales and it’ll now be my honour to serve as Assistant Curate in Bro Aman LMA, alongside our incumbents, all of whom have been a great source of encouragement.
In the week leading up to ordination, a retreat is usually held for the ordinands to become fully immersed in worship, fellowship and faith and to share any hopes or fears they may have. This year’s retreat consisted of two and a half days on Zoom, then, the day before the ordination services, a dress rehearsal with Bishop Wyn at the cathedral.
During my training I made some new and treasured friends when I joined various formation cells and study groups. In one of these, we set up a WhatsApp group, quaintly named ‘The Naughty Corner’!
On the morning of our ordination, we had to be at the cathedral for 8:30, to make our declarations to the Bishop and have some time for reflective prayer together. While there, I thought about how we had all made separate faith journeys, yet all arrived at the same place. Mine may have taken a little longer, but, nonetheless, here we are … here I am.
When making our declarations, we were each presented to the Bishop by the Registrar, who read out our formal qualifications. We were an assortment of BAs, MAs, an MLL (Law), a DPhil and even an MBE. Me? I’m just a clerk, but then I thought back to the apostles, the first priests and deacons, and could hear St Peter saying: ‘I, Peter, a fisherman…’ and it all became clear to me.
In one of my study assignments, I quoted from Sir Isaac Newton who, on being praised for his work on the theory on gravity, said: ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ Not that I’d ever compare myself to someone like that, but I have stood on the shoulders of giants in our parish, and it’s with the love of our congregations that I am where I am now. None of us can see what God sees, none of us can do what God can do: we are simply the clay on the potter’s wheel. From that point on, I saw my calling in a different light.
As JRR Tolkien wrote, "the road goes ever on’, wherever the journey goes."