Happy December! It’s often a month of celebrations, but this year those will be different…yet the ordiversary party is still here to brighten up your day! This month it’s Maggie Roderick, Scottish RevGal celebrating her 10th ordiversary, kicking off the party.
Tell us a bit about your journey into ministry.
It’s a long story, so I’ll try to shorten it.
Having been raised as a Roman Catholic child whose parents subsequently divorced, then married other people, attending a Glasgow Roman Catholic School in the early 1960s was not a fun experience. By the age of 12, I attended a non-denominational High School and decided a year later to stop going to Mass.
I tried to join the Baptist Church a year later, but my mum thwarted that.
I then joined and attended my local Church Of Scotland Parish Church Youth Fellowship, without telling my mum. I remained there until I became a university student. After unhappy experiences as a student in church, I simply stopped going.
At the age of 40, my 2nd husband died, leaving me with 2 young children. I decided to ‘send’ them to Sunday School. I was encouraged to attend worship when they were in Sunday School and did so. They were baptised a year later and I joined the Church by profession of faith a short time after that. I have never left since.
After becoming involved in church affairs, I became the Communications Coordinator. It was while I was putting more and more up posters about ministry discernment that I realised the message was for me.
Having dismissed the ridiculous idea initially, I applied, was accepted and trained, gaining my BD at the University of St Andrews. I am hugely privileged to have been ordained and be a minister of Word and Sacrament. I have had wonderful support and guidance along the way from so many people.
What’s something you remember from your ordination?
My ordination was on 9th December 2010 at Carnock Church in the Parish Of Carnock and Oakley in Central Scotland. It was the worst winter on record for over 100 years with snowfall of over 50cm. A massive effort was made to transport parishioners to my ordination and many friends, family and colleagues could not get there.
I remember the efforts the parishioners made to make it special and will never forget the laying on of hands, which was such a spiritual experience.
What have been some unexpected joys of second-career ministry for you?
So many unexpected joys crop up all the time, but one is knowing I am doing what I believe God means me to do.
I find that understanding how difficult it is to ‘return’ to charge after many years of absence has been a joy and a blessing, enabling me to encourage and support people in that situation.
Having the privilege of being at a hospital bedside when someone is at the end of their life has been enormous, as has been the opportunity to share home communion with people who cannot attend church.
The joy of being part of a couple’s wedding day has been unexpected, as is being able to support people in their journey to say goodbye in a good way to their loved ones at a funeral.
The joys continue all of the time.
We all know that ministry isn’t only a job, that we can minister in all sorts of ways. Now that you’re retired, how are you living out your calling in this new phase?
Do ministers ever really ‘retire’? 😊
I provide pulpit supply where it’s needed and love doing so. I am also available to provide cover for weddings or funerals.
‘Retirement’ enables me to take a more active part in our Presbytery. In my case it is by mentoring people during their discernment journey and also being the ministries ‘convenor’ for our Presbytery, enabling me to support non parish ministers and those in other forms of ordained ministry.
I can participate more in other aspects of Presbytery work, such as local worship leader training and also in the parish where I’m a member, helping my own minister where needed.
What advice would you give to those being ordained this month?
Remember this is not a race, so be kind to yourself. If you find your church has arranged all things Christmas, from Services in schools/online/in multiple places, do let them assist with those and pace yourself. In Scotland, and undoubtedly elsewhere, the number of funerals can be extensive, so do not burn out in the first weeks!
Ask colleagues for Services they’ve done and adapt them, rather than reinventing the wheel.
Remember that a ‘job’ change, however welcome, is stressful, as is moving home, so be kind to yourself. Start the way you mean to continue and take at least one day a week off to refresh yourself. I never did and became ill.
Use your phone answering facility and be strict about it. Monitor calls if you will, but take time out to feed yourself properly, and rest. You can phone someone back. In the odd event that you are needed at that very moment, you can make an exception.
Remember any family living with you are your parishioners too! They count. Do ensure they have some of your time. Keep in touch with friends too.
Take time to enjoy your ministry and let everything be a matter of balance.
Teri Peterson is a Church of Scotland minister in the west of Scotland, a member of the Board of RevGalBlogPals, and a now-occasional blogger at Clever Title Here. She is a 7 on the Enneagram and loves a good party, and now that those are all online, she loves ordiversaries even more!
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