“We let God put his hands on our future” – interview with Kevin Colyer

During the last year I have had a couple of conversations with Kevin Colyer, and built up a picture of his journey with us. I was delighted to be able to interview Kevin and other ordinands for an article in The Call a few months ago. Now I’ve been able to touch base with Kevin again and find out about his ordination and where he has landed!

Helen Harwood: Hi Kevin and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed over this extended period. Firstly, what fires you up?

Kevin Colyer: I am really excited by making following Jesus real and relevant for those who have no idea of who he is and his reality today. I like seeing fresh ways of knowing Jesus that are deeply rooted in the tradition of Christianity but are helpful and useful today.

HH: What drew you to ordination?

KC: It clearly wasn’t the chance to wear 16th century dress and preserve historical buildings or rituals! It was a much longer journey. I’ve always wanted to make communities of people transformed and transforming the world around them because of Jesus. I couldn’t see a place for me in the Anglican Church 25 years ago. It is only in the last decade, as the role of Ordained Pioneer Minister emerged and it seemed to describe me better than anything else, that I have felt called to ordination. I was perhaps a square peg and now can see square holes to fit into!

HH: That’s good to know. What drew you to Church Mission Society?

KC: When I was looking for training there were only one or two places that really were offering the sort of training I could see I would need. CMS stood out clearly. I had asked about it at Breakout [pioneer conference] and all those I talked to talked highly of CMS. I also liked the idea of training with another mission as I worked for 25 years with YWAM before. The cross-cultural and contextual understanding of mission is vital for a pioneer and this is the strength of a missionary organisation.

HH: How have we (CMS) done in terms of what you expected or hoped for?

KC: I have been thrilled and delighted at CMS. It has “done what it has said on the tin”! I have been bowled over by my fellow students though. They have been a constant source of inspiration, support and encouragement. We learn a lot from each other as each of us bring reflections on our practice which almost always means there is a ready illustration to what we are learning or a creative way one of us is applying what we are learning.

HH: That’s really good to know. I guess it is not all plain sailing. What’s been hard for you here and in training in general?

KC: The hardest part for me as an ordained pioneer is the combined training with Ripon College. This is where as ordained pioneers we get our Anglican training. This often feels like driving a car and going for fifth gear and finding reverse by mistake! However, there is much grace and learning to understand and appreciate the different traditions of the Anglican Church and how we can work together is really vital. I think they secretly like us coming and being a little bit subversive!

HH: What do you feel you have learnt that will be really valuable, maybe in the future.

KC: Probably how to listen and have conversations between people, culture, tradition and theology. There is much wisdom available if we open our ears.

HH: Are there any one or two things that have helped you to open your ears?

KC: CMS is great at doing this because of their extensive history of working in other cultures, which rubs off in an appreciation of many different points of view and theologies, from many different faith traditions.

HH: I know that at 10am on 30 June at Christchurch in Oxford you were ordained. Congratulations. Can you tell me a bit about the experience, please?

KC: The ordination was moving and spectacular. Quite a special moment. I’ve not experienced anything like it before. Even our non-Christian friends found it a special moment. The choir were singing a Latin chant, Come Holy Spirit, all the way through the prayers.

[I could hear in Kevin’s voice as he spoke about the service what a profound affect it had had on him, it was lovely to know that Kevin had reached this point and so of course I had to ask what was next…]

HH: Now, before when we spoke and I asked you ‘What does the future hold?’ you could not tell me much! Just that your future path was reasonably clear and you were feeling better and better equipped to do it well. So where are you now?

KC: I am now a curate at St Peter’s and St Mark’s in Maidenhead. We let God put his hands on our future and it worked well. I feel raring to go to put things into action; we are so brimming over with ideas, we definitely need to stop and listen to God first.

HH: Kevin, it is lovely to see how God has worked in your life, and in the life of your family. I know you are joining us again in September to study Level 6 so your diploma will become a BA when you complete your study. How can we pray for you?

Pray for me and my whole family that we make quick and deep roots in Maidenhead. It takes years to build relationship networks and we need to be wise and adept. We need to meet people of peace. Please pray also for the church, that I serve them well and we all grow in depth of mission and the knowledge of God.

I’m very grateful, Kevin for your willingness to share so much of your journey with me, and with our readers. I had a tear in my eye as I typed up your words! Bless you.

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