GOD CALLS eBook
10% of the Author's royalty from the sale of this book will be donated to charities.
HOW would you know if or when God called you to serve Him full time? Would you dismiss His call as you would an annoying insect or would you sit up and listen? After all He has your name and number and He isnt calling for nothing.....
While this little book was written to chronicle my own call, I'm sure it's message is equally for you as I have no doubts that God is calling you and it would be a tragedy if you missed the call. If you are really serious about exploring your call, and that may well not be into the ordained ministry, this book will give you suggestions on how to test that call. The Bible tells us that we are all saints and in the same way I believe we are all to be ministers. After all, we are encouraged to test things and in the back of the mind will always be that great question mark. Is it indeed God calling or is it just wishful thinking on my part?
TERRY was a practising lawyer for 25 years before answering a call into the ordained ministry in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. As a Priest he spent time as a Prison Chaplain as well as a Hospital Chaplain before being appointed to parish ministry.
He is now retired from full-time ministry, lives in New Zealand and spends his spare time writing novels and religious books. He hopes to write at least one or two more.
Excerpt from GOD CALLS
Slowly but surely things started to fall into place and all our trusted friends (including three priests) believed that the call was in fact from God so I enrolled for a Preachers Course to begin the discernment process and made an appointment to visit the Bishop. My Curate friend (one of those three priests) pointed out to me that it was not often that we would be one hundred percent sure of Gods will. It was easier to know (but not necessarily to obey) Gods Law because there it was all nicely set out in the Bible, but trying to find Gods will for us in matters outside of the Bible was not easy at all. I found great hope from Paul who in 1 Corinthians and Romans, talking about eating food that has been offered to idols, tells us that if we believe that something is wrong for us, then it is wrong and we must obey the belief. Obviously the converse also applies and so my wife and I became more and more convinced that my call into the ordained ministry was in fact from God. We became convinced that not heeding the call would be disobeying God.
The long and the short of it was that the Bishop invited me to attend a Discernment Conference where I, and other candidates, were tested to try to ascertain if our calls were in fact from God. The result was that the committee believed that I probably was being called and the upshot was that my wife and I were sent off to seminary, leaving our two now almost grown-up children at home on their own to complete their studies. We believed that if my call was in fact from God He would some how or other provide for their education. And that He did!
The Bishop had felt that with my legal background I should be offered as a Chaplin to work in the prison, the largest prison in the western world being only some ten kilometers from our house. Unfortunately my checkered foray into politics and subsequent problems with the Security Police presented a problem as to my working in the prison, because this meant I had to be cleared by the police, and as you might guess the Security Police tried their best to put a spanner in the works. A process, which should have taken about six weeks, eventually took over a year and I believe it was only the Bishops persistence and nagging that eventually got my appointment to the Prison authorised. It was also at the time when great changes were beginning in South Africa prior to the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.
In the meanwhile, while we were all waiting for my permit to come through, the Bishop appointed me as Chaplin to a large hospital and also to work as Curate in my old parish. When eventually the Prison appointment came through the Bishop decided that I should continue working as the hospital Chaplin and help out in the parish where and when I could find the time.
It proved to be a very wise decision by the Bishop as I learnt an awful lot from my Rector (who later became my new Bishop) about parish based ministry and I also made a number of important contacts through my hospital work. I became very friendly with a number of doctors and was often asked by them to visit with their patients. One of the spin-offs from this was that I began to work with patients who had suffered physical trauma and the upshot was that I also started working with the Natal Cripple Care Association.
I said that the Bishops decision that I not neglect my parish and hospital work was a good one, because my tenure as a Prison Chaplin only lasted about three years before I was fired by the Prison Service. I had become aware of some really corrupt Warders (some in conjunction with some equally corrupt prisoners) and so I approached the Brigadier in charge of the Prison about the problem. I received no support from him so I put my findings in writing but he very politely told me to mind my own business and that business was to care for the prisoners spiritual well-being.
Not being the sort of person who could take that lying down, I wrote to the then (apartheid) Minister of Correctional Services after I had read a magazine article in which he claimed to be a born again Christian. His reply was almost a carbon copy of that which I had received from the Head of the Prison. Thanks for your interest, but please rather just concern yourself with the spiritual welfare of the prisoners.
I felt that I was caught right in the middle as I couldnt just leave things and do nothing about the corruption, but neither could I just ignore it, so I called a Press Conference. My story made the Sunday Papers front-page headlines but nothing changed in the Prison, except that I was fired. My wife, our family and I were subject to both ostracism and threats of violence but we stuck it out and eventually the Bishop appointed me officially as the Curate to my Parish and instructed me to continue with my hospital work. One of the most amazing results of our problems was not so much the threats and ostracism from a few Prison Warders and right-wingers, but the amazing support and encouragement we received from the majority of Warders.
This was proof to me that the vast majority of Warders were, just like the people of South Africa, good decent people who just wanted to get on with their lives, earn a decent living and live in peace. This restored my faith in humankind to a large extent. In fact my family and I received more moral support from people outside the Church than we did from those inside, particularly the leadership.
I have dealt more with my problems that we faced with my dismissal from the Prison in my book, Wanderings with God, so I wont repeat them here. To say that I felt shattered would be an understatement but God never gave up on me, and fortunately in all my misery I found strength in Him. I had always felt that I was not cutout for ordinary Parish ministry, hence my appointment to the prison, but now that that avenue had been firmly closed, God had other plans for me and the Bishop appointed me as Rector of a parish in Durban that needed someone with plenty of love to give, and a firm hand.
The Bishop in his wisdom decided that I was that person and so my wife and I sold our home and moved into the new parish. And I can say that we have never been happier than in ordinary parish ministry, the very ministry that I believed I was not cut out for. Later on during this time in parish ministry the Bishop also asked me to take on another Parish, which he believed also needed someone to lead it with plenty of love and a very firm hand. Again both my wife and I were amazed at the love we received. It was almost as though we were the people being ministered to. These two parishes took an awful lot out of both my wife and I, what with all the problems we encountered in being the Bishops firm hand, but today as we look back neither of us regret a moment of the time we spent with all those beautiful souls.
Even today, some years into retirement and living in a new country has not muddied those precious memories. Many of our ex-parishioners keep us up to date with their lives, but also with the lives of their parishes, and so we still feel that we are a part of them. God is so good and certainly knows what Hes doing. We will forever be grateful to Him for all He has done for us.
If you read my book, Wanderings with God, you will see there that after retirement life did not continue to make us feel welcome in the Anglican Church here in New Zealand. I suppose many people will accuse me of seeking out confrontations, but I dont believe thats true at all. I rather believe that it is God Himself who sends me into such situations. I was duly licensed here in New Zealand by the Bishop and began my new ministry, but soon came into conflict with my new Vicar over my insistence on obeying and following the Law of God in preference to public opinion and political expediency.
My wife and I changed parishes but found the same problem there and so we are now faced with a choice either we shut up and just go with the flow here in New Zealand where the people seem to be the most libertine in the world, or we pack up and join another denomination. As yet we have not made our decision, after all a lifetime of being an Anglican is not something we can easily turn our backs on. It also seems to me that it is mostly the leadership of the Anglican Commune here that have this politically correct attitude to Gods Law and that the majority of the congregations dont share this view. Be that as it may, we will not be rushing into making a decision yet as the Anglican Synod will shortly address the same-sex marriages and ordination of gay priests issues. Thats when well finally make our decision, after a lot of prayer. Fortunately we have a long history of seeking Gods will in matters and so this one will also be submitted to Him before we make our decision.
Table of Contents for GOD CALLS
|Contains 5 numbered chapters.|
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