Celebrating 10 Years of the Ministry Experience Scheme at York General Synod
More than 700 young adults have taken part in the Ministry Experience Scheme since it was founded by the Church of England a decade ago. The Diocese in Europe joined an event to celebrate its 10th anniversary at General Synod this weekend.
The Archbishop of York spoke at the event. “I am really proud that for the first time ever the Church of England has very clearly stated that what it wants to be is younger and more diverse, and I am really proud of the clarity of that ambition and hope, rooted as it is in our understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what God wants his Church to be," he said.
“One of the ways that this has been expressed over the last 10 years is through the Ministry Experience Scheme.”
The scheme which accepts people aged between 18 and 30 years old has grown from 14 in its first intake to 91 starting this year, with nearly half its participants women, and 27% from UK minority Ethnic backgrounds in the current intake.
Those taking part gain a range of experience from preaching to chaplaincy work to running social action projects and hospice and hospital visiting.
Around one in three participants go on to seek training for ordained ministry while nearly all – 97% - report having found the scheme helpful to discern their vocation in life.
Julian Anozie, who was in the 2017/18 cohort of the scheme in the Diocese in Europe, with a placement in Lyon spoke at the event:
“I was an ordinand of the Diocese in Europe. I was born and raised in Nigeria, and in 2016 I moved to Germany to study. It was a real struggle for me to go ahead with my vocation here as I already had a life in Nigeria, and discerning coming to a country where I would be a minority, with different food and often cold was very important, thus I needed to hear from God. So, I joined the 20178/2018 cohort of the Ministry experience scheme to test my vocation in church of England. I remember the day I was with my pastoral mentor Mary Talbot, and I broke down in tears, it wasn’t of pain or sorrow but of joy, I felt surrounded by the awesome love of God. And that love has sustained me up till today. I am currently a priest serving in the Diocese of Derby.”
Clare Amos, Director of the Ministry Experience Scheme in the Diocese in Europe added
"It is timely that at this meeting of General Synod which has stressed the importance of ministry for, to and by young people, we should be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Ministry Experience Scheme. This offers young people the opportunity of working for and with the Church of England for a year, to explore their Christian vocation - whether as a lay person or ordained.
The Diocese in Europe has been participating almost since it began and I am grateful for the support offered to us by Vic Wilson and the national MES office. I am really pleased to see four of our former Europe MES participants here today, including Julius, one of today's speakers. It has been a privilege to take responsibility for our diocesan scheme over the last few years."
More information on the Ministry Experience Scheme can be found on the Church of England website and the Diocese in Europe website
Photo credit: Sam Atkins/Church of England