Success for young ordinations push
A PUSH TO SECURE more vocations to ordination from younger people appears to be gaining success. Figures released by the Church of England show that in 2013 the number of people under 30 accepted for training represented 23 per cent of the total.
The Ministry Division of the Archbishops’ Council has made moves to recruit young people by providing conferences and training opportunities such as the Ministry Experience Scheme, which is being piloted 2013/14 and is likely to be extended for a further academic year.
Commenting on the figures for 2013, Liz Broughton, Young Vocations Adviser to the Ministry Division, said she was ‘delighted’ with the results. She said it was “great that a substantial number (of young people) are having the confidence and support to hear and respond to God’s call to priesthood. We welcome young people and value the gifts, enthusiasm and insights they bring.”
The Rt Rev Steven Croft, who is chair of the Ministry Division, said: “The Church of England has a fresh vision and commitment to see young people in their teens and twenties exploring God’s call to ministry.”
The Archbishop of York has been prominent at encouraging vocations among young people. The Stepping Forward Conference he hosts at Bishopthorpe Palace for 18-to-30-year-olds is now in its sixth year.
At a conference held earlier this month Dr Sentamu said that Step Forward was about providing space to enable young people to think whether ordained ministry might be something God is calling them towards.
Dr David Goodhew, Director of Ministerial Practice at Cranmer Hall, Durham, is one of the people who help to organise Step Forward. He said that before they attend the conference many young people had never told anyone about their thoughts of a vocation to ordained ministry ‘fearing family or friends would think them bonkers for doing so’.