Cake and community
Graham Brack, an ordinand with ERMC, reflects on the nature of our community.
“My 2-year-old granddaughter becomes very excited when we walk up the path to church. This is because she associates the Church of England with cake.
All in all, this is not an unreasonable connection, because many other parishioners think the same. There are very few events in church for which a cake is not appropriate. We’ve had funeral cakes, wedding cakes, baptism cakes, Third Saturday of the month cakes, and fundraising cakes. Cakes get nearly forty mentions in the Bible, including Hosea 3:1 – The Lord said to me again, ‘Go, love a woman who has a lover and is an adulteress, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.’ I am not entirely clear how being an adulteress and liking raisin cakes are equally sinful, but no doubt all will be made clear later in our training.
However, this is not the point of this post. One Saturday I was sitting with a parishioner at a coffee morning when she asked me whether I expected to keep in touch with my classmates at ERMC. Now, be it said that I am still in touch with three university friends – all pharmacists who switched to church work, two as evangelists and one as a Salvation Army major – but that is largely their doing. And I admit I’m married to a woman I met at university, so I keep in touch with her too, in a way; but considering how many friends I had, four is a fairly poor haul.
The more I think about it, the more certain I am that this time will be different. I care a great deal about my little group. We keep in touch between weekends, and I still contact those who left last year. I attended as many of their online ordinations as I could. It is a testament to the feeling of community engendered here that this should be so. I have made friends at ERMC whom I expect to hold lifelong. Admittedly at my age that’s not much of a claim, but it still surprises me that these people have become such a part of my life.
If you think that a dispersed student body will leave you isolated, please relax. You will make connections; you will give and receive prayer. You may even get cake.”