Mothers’ Union Report – April 9th 2015
Sue Attenborough opened the meeting with prayers and then introduced Rev Bill Enoch, our guest speaker.
Father Bill’s talk arose out of an enquiry by a friend as to why he chose to be ordained in the Church of England. He had been, as he put it, a “cradle Anglican”. He started infant school in 1935 and continued being a member of the church serving as a chorister for over forty years. In the early seventies he regularly played the organ at Stanley Common and felt that he could do as good a job of being a Reader as some he heard preaching and voiced his concerns and interest to Rev Arthur Robertson, who suggested in no uncertain terms that he should become a priest.
In 1975 he was interviewed by the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, over a glass of sherry. He enquired about his reading habits – humour and motorcycles – and so started a six month of tutoring to assess his ability to study. He read heavy theological books and his first essay was ‘Compare the two creation stories in chapters 1&2 Genesis’.
Reading and writing became sheer joy like opening up an Aladdin’s cave. He scoured second-hand bookshops while travelling as a Chubb rep. His efforts to enthuse St Mary’s with heavy theological discourse fell on stony ground, as Rev Robertson had predicted. “It’s not Anglican to be keen!”
He was eventually sent on a three day ACCM (Advisory Council for the Churches Ministry) selection course with 18 other mature candidates. It was an extraordinary experience. He debated contentious topics and chaired them, was interviewed intensively as an assessment of all facets of his personality was made. He felt he had given his best but stood little chance of selection as others had been ‘called by God’ and seemed more worthy. His acceptance came the day before setting off on a French camping holiday and from then on life, with Vera’s blessing, was never the same.
His first year was spent on a Gateway Course on the New Testament with unfamiliar teaching techniques, different from the chalk and talk of his schooldays. He studied with 24 mature students from Southwell and Derby Diocese. They went on retreat together and Summer School in Aberystwyth. Two-thirds of the study was based on the Bible with brilliant tutors. Bill told us how different Mark and John’s gospels are. Marks written only 50 years after Jesus in a racy economical style for ordinary folk, illustrated by parables while John’s is polished text for educated Greeks. They learned about liturgy, church history and pastoral work.
At last on 29th September 1979 Bill was ordained at Derby Cathedral and then licensed as a curate to St Mary’s. Concorde flew over Derby and it took two weeks to come down off cloud nine! Bill preached and served St Mary’s for five more years before being appointed as priest at Holy Trinity where he stayed until retirement.