by Andreas van Breda
A group of children at the Moonlight Market in Bryanston were comparing notes of their future career ambitions. I was one of them and remember giving my answer with the same certainty as the other children. My answer, however, seemed to rouse a more curious response then the ones before. "I will be a priest!" is, I suppose, an audacious aim for a 6 year old.
Well, I had to forget that statement for a few years and went through school, university and the school-of-life before engaging with it again. I have lived with the question of the Priesthood for most of my adult life. Whilst living in London, I attended the North America Seminary (in Chicago then) as an exploratory trip. It was a long-weekend program, open to anybody, with a particular theme and allowed the participants a glimpse into Seminary life. It was a wonderfully enriching time but for whatever reason the experience did not drive me to action. Nonetheless, looking back, I realise how a door was opened and with the passing of time has remained so.
As time went on, a little more life experience and the gift of parenthood, I began to look at the world more earnestly and the question of the priesthood appeared again, more strongly. I had ruminated on it for a long time and finally started a conversation with Richard, then Reingard and finally Vicke von Behr. These conversations evolved and it became clear that it was a path I had the intention of following and felt blessed to have the support of the regional Synod as well as Tanya (my wife). How this was going to be possible needed careful thought and I am grateful to the leadership of The Christian Community for supporting my somewhat unconventional program which began about a year and a half ago. Of course Michaël Merle has set something of a precedent, but my personal circumstances were different to his and I am enormously appreciative that it has been possible to begin my training and studies.
It has been and IS a wonderfully inspiring process, with a few nerves and unknowns thrown in for good measure. I feel 'engaged' on this path and committed to preparing myself for Ordination, whilst cognisant that that is not my sole decision.
I have been touched and humbled by the support and care which so many people have expressed in a myriad of ways and appreciate the warm encouragement from our Communities in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Windhoek.
I am underway, with much more to come and look forward to the next steps on this path. With thanks and gratitude.
Andreas van Breda
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