The Church of England says it hopes a scheme in which young adults get a chance to explore ministry for a year will be key to its goal of reaching more young people.
More than 800 young adults have taken part in year-long ministry placements over the past decade under the Ministry Experience Scheme (MES).
Speaking to more than 100 MES participants at a conference in London, Rev Helen Fraser who is Head of Vocations for the Church of England, said vocation was not only about ordination and could include calling to a range of other ministerial roles in the Church:
“We often think vocation just means ordination but vocation actually is all that God calls us to - it just means ‘call’ and that can be as simple as Jesus saying to his disciples ‘come follow me’ – that is a vocation, all the way through to something very much more specific.”
The conference heard that the scheme could play a key role in helping the Church of England achieve its goals of recruiting more people to work in ministry to children, youth and families by 2030. Rev Fraser spoke of her hope that the scheme, which currently has 11 participants, will grow following its pilot launch in six dioceses this year.
Among those present at the conference was 22 year old Jasmine Clark from St Mary’s and St Leonard’s parish in Nottingham. She said : "This is giving me an opportunity to explore my calling and whether youth ministry is what I would like to do long term.”
MES participants from Prague, the Netherlands, Paris and Lisbon in the Diocese in Europe were also present.
MES Chair and Chair of the Future Youth Steering Group, the Bishop of Jarrow, Sarah Clark said: “It is always a great joy for me to be at the MES and Future Youth conference and hear the stories of so many young adults utterly alive in their faith in Jesus Christ, actively exploring their vocation while serving their local church and community with love."