Today we are asked to remember John Donne (1572-1631), poet, priest and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral. As I was thinking about Donne’s life and work I started to ask ‘where are today’s poet priests?’. I’m aware of a few, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, but I can’t help wondering whether we have lost something in our understanding of priestly calling and ministry. Part of the role of the priest is to help others to see things in a different light, from an alternative perspective, and in the Church of England we have a rich tradition of priests who fulfilled this part of their vocation through poetry. In all the discussions about the future of the ordained ministry, and I have sat through too many hours of debate about that subject, I have not once heard anyone ask:
'Where are the poet priests and how will they be encouraged, nurtured and sustained?'.
Update: Check our this excellent follow up blog post developing the theme from Changing Worship The Church and the Arts.
17 hours ago