Q: You’ve just started ordination training at Ridley Hall, Cambridge - how is it going?
Life at college has started really well despite the busyness and information overload! There's quite a few people that are relatively young, and friendships are beginning to form.
Q: What did it feel like to know you had been selected?
This may seem a bit of a strange answer but I remember thinking to myself, ‘OK so this is what God wants me to do next’. By this point in the discernment process I'd already surrendered what I wanted to do in order that God's will would be done, so I knew that whatever the decision - recommendation for training or not - it would be what God was leading me to next.
Q: How did you know you were called to ministry, and when did you first feel a calling?
One of my most vivid memories when I was kid was when I was about 7. I was playing with my brother, me as the vicar and my brother as 'God' - this may be partly down to my Dad being a vicar. It wasn't really though until I was about 14 or 15 where I began to really think about it. At this point people could see the calling in me, which I struggled to see and so it was over the next couple of years that I prayed this through and knew that ordination was what God was calling me into.
Q: Many would say, and indeed in years gone by you would have been directly told, that you are too young and you need to have a career first. How have people reacted to your age – and what would you say to people who said this?
I have had a mixed bunch of responses from people through the discernment process with many being very supportive. Others were less so, mainly due to the reason you mention. In response to this I always tell about a sign I have in my room which reads, ‘God does not call the qualified or equipped. God qualifies and equips the called’. I trust that over the next three years at college, and however many years I may have in full-time ministry, that God will qualify and equip me to do all that he has called me to do.
I also always tell of the story where I met a Bishop, where we got talking about my sense of calling. He looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Danny, if you know ordained ministry is what God is calling you to do, just get on with it!’ I did, and here I am today at the start of my training for ordination. I understand why people may say you need to have life experience and work skills but I have been convinced through reading Scripture that the men and women who did amazing things are the ones who were the most obedient.
Q: Why is it important to have younger people involved in the leadership of the church? What do younger leaders bring to the church?
I think getting young people involved in any leadership of any church is key for a number of reasons. Firstly they will have insights from their peers that older people may never think of. Secondly, people relate to people of the same or very similar age and stage of life - so if the church wants to be reaching teenagers and students then they are the type of people you want to do this work. Thirdly, you are exposing young people to leadership who will at some point in the future be the ones leading the church. By saying all of that I'm not saying the church doesn't need older and wiser people, I'm saying there needs to be a healthy balance between younger and older people.
Q: What challenges do you face? What are you most daunted by, or looking forward to?
The main challenge I face over the next three years will be questions that will inevitably be raised when you do theological study - questions in relation to my faith and what I believe on so many different areas. Honestly at this point I am daunted by the prospect of leading a Church in six to seven year’s time on my own, but there is a massive amount of eagerness and enthusiasm building up, ready to get going after training, to put into practice a lot of the theoretical study I'll be doing at college.
To find more about following your vocation in the Diocese of Liverpool, visit LifeCall for events and resources to support your discernment.