Helen Roud recently made the tough decision to step down from her position as Convenor of the Anglican Women’s Studies Council.
The Revd Canon Helen Roud says NO, in order to say YES
It happened on a Sunday morning, not long ago, Passion Sunday.
As I took a gentle walk to the local river (while recovering from strained back muscles and unable to preside and preach at Eucharist), I reflected on the gospel of the day:
‘Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’ John 12:24
The effect of these words was both powerful and confronting. It was time to let some of the seeds of my life and ministry ‘fall to the ground’. It was time to use that little two-letter word more often than its three-letter counterpart – ‘No’ (in the nicest possible way!} rather than ‘Yes’.
- ‘No’ to yet another committee, yet another Zoom meeting;
- ‘No’ to valuable and important ministries that many others were equally if not better resourced and qualified to do;
- ‘No’ to late nights and early mornings at the computer;
- ‘No’ even to the continuation of stimulating and gratifying roles (like AWSC convener/council) when I had given my best yet now needed some healing ‘Sabbath’ time.
For many women, saying ‘Yes’ comes so very naturally. It is in our DNA. Those of us who are mothers know all about self-sacrificial love! Others depend on us. We all ‘need to be needed’, we long to serve Christ and Christ’s Church with all of our being. And the Church endorses such self-sacrificial giving.
Yet Christ calls us to Wholeness. Taking up our cross and following The Christ means living our own lives fully, guided and empowered by the Spirit, embracing every twist and turn, joy and sorrow that is ours to bear along the way – every little seeding, death and resurrection which forms and moulds us on life’s journey.
For me, pressing pause and calling upon Sophia for her divine wisdom, has encouraged me to make some challenging decisions at this important stage of …shall we say…’later middle age’! Laying down three significant ministry commitments while still retaining roles as Vicar, Archdeacon and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) supervisor now allows space for more reflective practice, walks, bike-rides, cooking, important relationships….and sleep!
‘No’ has become a kindly, empowering word, an invitation to new growth and enlarged life.
And so I thank-you, beloved, competent and faithful women of AWSC – council and Ceridwyn, links and members, for your gracious responses to my resignation and the humbling messages I have received (not to mention the beautiful and most appropriate Pikorua which I delight in wearing).
Be assured of my continuing prayers and interest in AWSC as she continues to bloom and grow….and may your own ‘No’s bear wonderful fruit!