Dorris reflects just how her life has been shaped by her experience training with St Augustine’s (then known as the Southwark Ordination Course) in the mid-90s.

I was amazed to be recommended for training after a ‘thumbs down’ from my second Advisory Council for the Church’s Ministry (ACCM) selection.

That decision was overturned when my Bishop recognised that I’d fit right in to the Southwark Ordination Course*. I wanted to be ordained in order to serve in a school for secondary aged boys rejected from mainstream schooling, where I already was.

Making fast friends during ordination training

The training passed in a happy blur. I travelled up to London each Tuesday evening and after classes, we’d walk back to Waterloo to catch a train in a large gang, chatting about what we’d learnt, struggling to keep up with essays, and talking about weekends away.

Ordination took place in Guildford one sparkling sunny June morning, celebrating with those I loved best. Afterward, I began serving at school, in my home parish, then another parish in the deanery as NSM for 9 years.

Shortly after retiring from teaching at 60, my Archdeacon asked me to take on two little villages near the Polden hills half-time for three years. I’m still here after seven years, not really half-time, but very much part of the tight-knit community.

Grateful for the fellowship gained during training

It is a privilege to be alongside people not only at the important milestones – the baptisms and confirmations, the weddings and the many funerals – but taking a quiet Communion at an elderly person’s bedside, or leading a joyous service with child and adult.

SOC* gave me knowledge, yes, but so much more; they gave me fellowship, and a quiet confidence that I was doing what the Lord wanted. I will be eternally grateful for the places I have been able to go, and the people I have been able to meet.

Thanks to them, I’ve been able to exercise not ‘my’ ministry, but the Lord’s ministry through me. I am so grateful to have been one of the last old SOCs!

–        Revd Doris Goddard, St Augustine’s* alumni (graduated, 1996)

 * St Augustine’s College of Theology was known as the Southwark Ordination Course (SOC) at the time