Five new Ministry Experience Scheme (MES) participants have taken to their new roles in various churches around the diocese. They are all taking on different roles which will help them understand what ministry in the Church of England is like. They also gather once a week at St. Paul’s church in Weston-Super-Mare where they learn about theology, leadership, and Scripture.
The Ministry Experience Scheme is a 10-month paid internship, held by multiple dioceses across the country that seeks to enable participants to explore their calling and develop their leadership potential.
“The MES scheme has definitely helped me explore my calling into youth work, says Emily Hatton, who is working at St. Swithin’s church in Bath on the youthwork team. “It’s great to be given time and space to work alongside a great church leadership team, being coaxed out of my comfort zone, all whilst being mentored and having the Tuesday teachings at St. Paul’s.”
Judi, Millie and Ben are all members of St. Paul’s church, and are undertaking the Ministry Experience Scheme at their home congregation. Millie says, “Being on the MES Scheme is allowing me to learn what its like to work in a church, and also help me to develop the vocation skills I wanted. I’m also getting to try things that I’d never be able to do normally.”
One of the courses that the MES candidates are studying on Tuesdays is called the Bible course. Emily Hatton says, “It has been giving me a real depth of insight into the bigger picture of the Bible and how it all fits together, which I find really exciting”.
Emily works with a full-time youth worker as well as a couple of volunteers, each of whom teaches her different youth work styles as they each lead a Sunday session in turn. She has also worked with a couple of the girls in St Swithin’s youth guiding them through one on one Bible studies.
She says, “The best thing is just that my job is now to learn more about God and His Word, and spend time communicating that with my youth group, and that makes me buzz! I’m very grateful for the opportunities that MES is giving me. ‘The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places’ (Ps. 16:6) – this scripture could not be more accurate for the season I’m in with the MES.”
Harley Wykes is exploring digital ministry in the Communications team in the diocesan support services office. Day to day work with the communications team involves taking, editing and uploading daily prayer videos for the diocese’s social media accounts, photographing important events happening in the diocese such as the recent ordinations, and filming short day in the life videos with parish deacons.
Judi says that the highlight for her so far this year has been leading a talk on a chapter in a book that the senior leadership team of St Paul’s has been going through. ‘We Need to Talk About Race’ by Ben Lindsay offers a comprehensive analysis of race relations in the Church in the UK and shows us how we can work together to create a truly inclusive church community. Describing the experience of giving the talk, Judi says, “What began as something I was nervous about turned into something that was exhilarating.”
Millie, who has also presented on a chapter on the same book says, “I loved being able to get up in front of the staff and present a chapter on We Need to Talk About Race. I felt really out of my comfort zone and wanted to push myself and it was so rewarding once I’d done it and I felt really proud.”
If you would like to hear more about the ministry experience scheme, and especially if you would consider signing up for it yourself, please get in touch with MES coordinator Richard Kelley.