Scheme launched for would-be young vicars


Young people are being given a taste of life behind the dog collar with the launch of the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme (CEMES), run by the Ministry Division.

The scheme, which began with a pilot phase (see case studies below) this September in four dioceses, is a one year programme of theological teaching, practical experience and personal development  for young people aged 18-30 who are considering future ministry in the church. The scheme was set up to encourage more young people to consider being involved in ministry and focus on the nine criteria used in the selection of clergy.

The scheme is currently being run in the dioceses of Sodor and Man, Newcastle, Peterborough and the Stepney area of London. Ministry Division are working with 15 more dioceses interested in the scheme, with a view to provide a CEMES programme in every diocese.

The Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Revd Steven Croft, who is Chair of Ministry Division said: “The Church of England has a fresh vision and commitment to see people in their teens and twenties exploring God's call to ministry. The Ministry Experience scheme will help many young people explore that call in the years to come”

The Revd Canon Steve Benoy, Diocesan Director of Ordinands in Peterborough, said: “The scheme is not rocket science.  Similar schemes have existed in many organisations and churches. The gap in the market, however, has been for a programme which intentionally connects with the processes and criteria for ordination in the Church of England.  We are not trying to squeeze people into a dog collar if that is not their vocation. The CEMES genuinely offers a broad space for young people to explore their sense of calling in ministry.”

The Revd Fiona Green, Director of the Intern Programme in Stepney, who is overseeing four young people involved in the programme in London said: “It’s both about supporting mission and ministry but also testing the vocations of people who are thinking about ministry.

Applications for the 2014-15 academic year, which begins on 1 September, will be available in the spring.

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