Becoming a SPA (Southwark Pastoral Auxiliery) by Moira Roberts, All Saints West Dulwich

I was joined by my fellow course candidates at Southwark Catherdral in the afternoon on the 9th September 2017, having just completed the Bishop Certificate, growing in Faith and Life course.  We were all presented with our certificates and a dedicated prayer from the Bishop. We even got a mention and photo in The Bridge. 

Doing the Bishop Certificate was the beginning of my journey in becoming a SPA.   I was a little apprehensive at first starting this course and a bit overwhelmed after the first session.  But gradually after a few sessions and definitely after completing my first assignment I was much more comfortable, and realised I can do it.  Also along with the incredible people I met, I have made lasting friendships, we fully supported and encouraged each other. 

Another process of beginning my journey was to meet with a Vocations Advisor.  I met a couple of times with Mother Susie Simpson, Prison Chaplain.  These meeting were very informal and really helpful in talking about your own faith journey and God’s calling.  This personal story very much becomes you script throughout your process as you meet different people.                                                                      

These meetings I found came with great guidance in order to explore my vocation. Resulting in recommendation to continue with my journey.

With Mother Susie’s good approval I then completed the SPA application pack.  Again along with my faith journey story, sponsor and encouragement from my incumbent, my becoming a SPA process had begun.   Followed by an interview with Andrew Zihni and then on to the Selection day. 

Finding out that I had been successfully recommended for SPA ministry made me very proud and excited.  Having started the process with the enrolment of the Bishop Certificate in September 2016, and remembering how I felt then, now being told I had been selected in July 2017, I felt that I had already grown in my Faith and Life and was ready for the next stage. 

SPA ministry to me is being able to care for those who sometimes do not have a voice, being compassionate, a good listener and being responsible for another’s wellbeing. 

Being able to share in God’s mission.