By Rev. Diana Boland
June 4, 2023: Trinity Sunday. Four ordinary people were transformed by God’s grace and Bishop Todd’s anointing hands into people consecrated to God as deacons.
It was a day of miracles, emotion, hilarity, and some anxiety. Reflecting on the day, I marvel at how God uses us in all our diversity, gifts, and shortcomings.
How did I arrive at this point?
The advantage of having lived a long life is that sometimes perspective gives us more clarity. I am a cradle Anglican, baptized in a small village church in the south of England.
It was during my teenage years that I grew into my Anglican faith. My sister and I became very involved in the local village church. We rang the church peel of bells, sang in the choir, and sometimes attended both Morning Prayer and Evensong on Sundays. The Book of Common Prayer was used, and we sang almost the entire service, including the psalms. I grew to love the liturgy, which, by the time I was 18, I knew mostly by heart.
Throughout my adulthood, my husband and I attended the local church, wherever we lived, and were very engaged in church life. For me, a career as a Tax Inspector followed – well after all, Matthew was a tax collector! After emigrating to Canada with our young daughter, I began a finance career of several decades as an accountant, then as a director of finance.
Folks sometimes scratch their heads when they try to link my two worlds – finance and ordained church ministry. ‘How on earth did you make that transition?’ I can only say that God guided me, quite slowly. I had felt quite ignorant about the Bible and theology, so my rector suggested that I could enroll in a course or two at Wycliffe College in Toronto. I eventually graduated with an MTS. Clearly God had plans of how I was to use this erudition. I had volunteered at a hospice for several years, and someone advised that hospital chaplaincy could be similar.
Tentatively, I pursued a part-time Clinical Pastoral Education course in Toronto. My first week showed me that God was indeed calling me to this work. Another year of CPE courses at the UHN hospitals in Toronto led to seven years of wonderfully fulfilling ministry at St Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. Concurrently I completed an MDiv at Wycliffe College.
Unforeseen circumstances arose, and I needed to move closer to family. I expected to live a quiet life in a small town in North Huron, but again, God intervened – you are not done yet! I felt called, and at my rector’s suggestion, applied for ordained ministry. Now I was also scratching my head – why would God call me now? Like Sarah, I asked ‘will I have pleasure later in life?’ The joy and privilege of serving others in parish ministry when most folks are hanging up their albs for golf clothes?
I was still wondering about the miracle of having reached this point when I entered St. Paul’s on June 4. It seemed a whirlwind of instructions – where to stand, sit, kneel, when all I could feel was the Holy Spirit in that place. I am immensely grateful that I have been called to ordained ministry, and that God has taken one well-worn soul and that despite all odds, I responded to the call.
Rev. Diana Boland, TSSF, is the Assistant Curate to the Rector for St James St Marys St James Stratford and St Paul’s Stratford.
(Photo: Charlotte Poolton)