How do you really know if you are “called” to a life in ministry?
The Church of England’s Ministry Experience Scheme provides year-long placements for 18-30 year-olds in a variety of different parish settings around England and Europe. An Allchurches Trust grant of £585,000 has led to its dramatic expansion. The scheme doubled from 47 participants in 2015 to around 90 in 2018.
Not only have overall numbers for the scheme grown, there are more women than ever before participating - almost half of the current cohort.
Nearly one in 10 participants last year were from black or ethnic minorities and this number has increased to 17% of all participants for 2018-19.
Those participating will work in a church, cathedral, parish or community setting, learning first-hand what a life in ministry entails. The participants will pursue theological studies tailored to their ability and experience. They will also be coached in leadership skills and self-awareness.
“This experience has given me insight into the church in a way that otherwise would have not been possible. For me this has not just been a year out, it has been a year in the community.”
At the end of the 2017-18 academic year, 88% reported that they were clearer about their future vocation after participating in a local scheme, while 56 young people went on to seek church ministries, including lay ministries. A higher number of dioceses have also signed up to the Ministry Experience Scheme than ever before in 2018-19, with 23 now taking part.
“The CoE Ministry Experience Scheme is a brilliant offer in a world of unpaid internships and poor job prospects. Thanks to our Allchurches Trust funding, it will now be even better.” Catherine Nancekievill, Head of Vocations for the Church of England.