Olivia Maxfield-Coote is a final year ordinand on an extended placement in New Zealand this term. She describes her experiences here.
One of the best things about training for Ordination at Westcott House is not being at Westcott House!
When I looked at various institutions a few years ago post BAP, Westcott House stood out because of their support and encouragement to take a term or 2 out of college and out of the country! The opportunity to leave the Cambridge bubble behind and to feel God at work in the wider world; to live alongside people of different cultures and backgrounds and to hear the Good News preached and lived in a variety of contexts has been one of the greatest elements of my training and formation and one of the best experiences of my life. The various placements I have been on have given me the chance to explore and deepen my faith and to develop my theology. I have found that the combination of academic study and time out of college has given me a fantastic start to my Priestly formation; the BTh has provided me with the understanding and vocabulary to be able to articulate and appreciate what I have encountered. And I have been blessed to have been hosted by many wonderful people around the world from which I have learnt so much, and which I endeavour to share with the people I will minister to and serve.
I am currently on placement in Te Manawa o Te Wheke a Māori Diocese of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia with a Parish Priest and Missioner of Waikato- the Rev’d Ngira Simmonds (who I met at the 2008 Lambeth Conference where we were both stewards).
The placement has been rich and varied. I have been fully immersed in Māori culture and the workings of Tikanga Māori, and have also spent time in Tikanga Pakeha.
Among other things I have: attended various events and services on different Maraes and in different Churches; I have spent time with 6 Bishops and 2 Archbishops; attended two tangis (funerals but which last for days and are not like anything we do in England!); been to a Clergy summer school; went for a tour of rural ministry in the East Coast; celebrated the 200 year anniversary of Samuel Marsden’s arrival at Hauraki; attended the birthday celebrations for Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, the founder of the the Rātana Church (a Māori religion and pan-tribal political movement which began in the early 20th-century); and have been shown around many areas of beauty and historical significance to the Māori people.
I am so grateful for this wonderful experience. I feel enriched by my time here and so blessed to have the privilege of spending time with, and worshipping alongside my sisters and brothers on the other side of the world. Thank you God. Thank you Aoteraroa. And thank you Westcott House for encouraging me to leave!