Happy New Year! we are starting 2020 right with a ten-year ordiversary celebration with Shuna Dicks, a minister in the Church of Scotland. Here’s her story:

1. Tell us a bit about your journey into ministry.
Prior to starting my training for ministry I worked for one of the Church of Scotland’s Boards. My role was a development one working across four presbyteries. I was home based. During the 4 years I had this role people would often ask if I had considered ordained ministry. I hadn’t and didn’t until sitting chatting to a young person at one of the church’s National Youth Assemblies. We were talking about his sense of call and I then realised we were talking about mine too. The rest is now history!

2. What is something you remember from your ordination?
My ordination took place In Aberlour (Scotland) on a snowy January evening. The exact date being the 29th Jan 2010. It had snowed all day and people kept calling off from being able to attend. I was worried there would be hardly anyone there. As it happened the church was packed full. At the end of the service we walked out into the snow and walked up the hill to the village hall for the party. It was idyllic.

3. Over your ten years of ministry, what have you most wished you learned/had been told when you were training?
It’s not all about you. When things go wrong, and they do, remember that it is not always your fault. You will not please everyone. No matter where you end up there will be someone who doesn’t appreciate you or approve of you.
Oh and learn to move furniture….you will move a lot of tables and chairs…or at least you should. Share the menial tasks with your folks, they will appreciate that.

4. What are you most looking forward to about your next ten years in ministry?
I am now in my second call and it could not be more different to my last. I went from small and rural to large and suburban. I went from being on my own to having staff to look after. The Presbytery I am part of is going through changes, which are radical and will affect how ministry is done in our area. I am looking forward to being part of a team ministry and to guiding the folks here through the changes that will happen. It is going to be challenging but I am lucky enough to have a great pragmatic leadership team who are already looking at the changes proposed for us in a practical open way and not getting into their bunker ready to defend the current status.
I love ministry and I love my current parish and best of all feel loved back!

5. What advice would you give those being ordained this month?
Advice? Take your time. Work out who are the doers and who are the speakers. Build up a good relationship with your Session Clerk (or equivalent lay leader), meet with them regularly. Say thank you to people who ‘do’. Get involved in things outside of parish ministry, for example join a board of committee at some level of your church’s structures. It will feed you and your ministry. Finally find some ministry colleagues to confide in. And stuck with the RevGals. Both of these networks will be invaluable to your wellbeing. It can be lonely work if you don’t reach out.


Thanks Shuna! Happy decade ordiversary to you!

How about the rest of you? Tell us your January ordination stories and advice. Let’s get this party started!

Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland. She lives along the beautiful Firth of Clyde, though writes today from a chilly New Year celebration in Paris. She is co-author of Who’s Got Time: spirituality for a busy generation, a board member of RevGalBlogPals, and a contributor to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit.

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