Earlier this week I received notice that my final course of the Clergy Training Program has been approved. I've submitted my portfolio and application to become an ADF Senior Priest. This is the final step on my journey of ADF Clergy specific training. Standing in this moment, I can't believe how far this journey has taken me, or how far I have come since the beginning.
I took my very first step into the Clery Training in May 2014 when I first started working on the Preliminary Clergy Training courses. I powered through each of those courses, excited to dive into a whole new world of learning and responsibility. In September of that year, I submitted my Letter of Intent to officially begin my journey toward ordination. I was approved to begin training a few days later, and my life has never been the same.
I fell in love with the learning and experiences built into the study program, and worked as quickly as I possibly could to finish the first circle. I finished the 1st Circle of the CTP in February 2015, just 7 months after I was approved to begin the work. Yet, when I was Ordained a couple months later in April 2015, I was terrified that I wasn't good enough to be successful as a priest. But I jumped in, I did the work, and I learned more about myself and the world around me than I ever thought possible.
When I was Consecrated in May 2017, I was 32 weeks pregnant with my second child and I knew my world was about to change once more. However, I also knew that this felt like the next step in my journey, and it was important for me to continue this work. Where I live, Pagans can be a challenge to find, and Pagan clergy, nearly impossible. Those who are ordained regularly have little to no training to go with their title, so continuing to build my skills and my knowledge set is an important part of my personal journey. Becoming a priest allowed me to serve a need in my community that continues to be greatly unfulfilled. Becoming an ADF Consecrated Priest helped me build a set of tools to serve the community in more ways.
In each of my clergy portfolios I have said that becoming a member of clergy is not the end of the journey for me, but is instead a very important crossroad along the very long path. I continue to feel that way as I evolve and grow in this work. Each step along this path has allowed me to better learn who I am in the world, and what role I hope to play in the lives of those around me. As I write this post, I know that this work will be a part of the rest of my life. Completing the work for the third circle was a natural progression in my personal practice, but it definitely will not be the end of my studies.
Standing here today, it's hard to believe that I have been a priest for nearly 5 years, working, learning, and building my tools. When I first started this journey, even becoming ordained seemed nearly impossible, so to be here, on this end of the training looking back....I don't even have the words to adequately express how I am feeling. I'm so proud of the work I have done, and know there is still so much more for me to learn. It's a little bittersweet for me to know that I've completed the program and there is not more training of this type in the future. However, I also know that doesn't mean there isn't more work to do.
Once I am approved, I will be Senior Priest. I don't know exactly what the next step on my journey will be. I've still got a lot that I want to do, and I look forward to figuring out "What's Next."