Vocations Sunday this year is on the 3rd of May. Our Vocations Sunday pack brings together our most popular resources, providing a convenient starter pack for anyone looking to foster a culture of vocation in their parish or chaplaincy.
"Vocations Sunday, the third Sunday after Easter, is a great opportunity to explore together where God is calling each of us, and we hope and pray that you will find this pack a valuable tool for preaching and leading studies, both on Vocations Sunday and throughout the year, so that together, we can grow in vocation to be the Church of Christ in this world."
Archbishop Justin Welby
Vocations Sunday pack content:
With a foreword from the Archbishop of Canterbury
- The Great Vocations Conversation – A monthly devotional and guide challenging ministers to commit to having a conversation a month about vocation.
- Life is for Giving – A monthly devotional to go through together with an individual or group exploring where God is calling them, wherever that may be to.
- Serve God, Serve Others – A collection of stories to inspire others about the wonderful diversity of ministers and ministries within the Church of England.
- Family life and ministry – A collection of stories and information to reassure anyone worried about the impact ministry may have on relationships and parenting.
- Flyer for the Ministry Experience Scheme – A gap year for young people to explore a vocation to ministry through first hand experience and theological study.
- Flyer for our Vocations Mentor Directory – Become a mentor and walk alongside someone following a vocation to ministry.
- Vocations flyers – A set of standard flyers which ministers can use to signpost people to information about vocations to ministry.
The focus of our Vocations Sunday pack is the Great Vocations Conversation, our challenge to all Church ministers to commit to having a conversation a month about vocation with someone different from themselves.
Written jointly by Bishop Andrew Watson and Revd Magdalen Smith, this short booklet is filled with prayers, studies and reflections, exploring what the Bible has to say about discerning vocation. Read the Church Times review here.
Through the Renewal and Reform programme, the whole Church has been striving to grow vocations to ministry.
Over the past two years the number of people starting training for ordination has grown by 23%, with a 46% increase in young people since 2016, and women now accounting for just over half of new ordinands. Of course we can't expect these levels of increase to be repeated every year, but these early signs of growth are an encouraging indication of a hopeful future ahead.
Underpinning all our work is the opportunity to reach out to those who have been historically underrepresented, whether because of gender, class, or ethnicity. By continuing to share examples of what works, we’re confident that together we’ll be able to support more Christians to discover God’s call upon their lives, and empower them to have the confidence and ability to answer it.
God calls us by name
"There is no greater joy in life than to follow Christ. No greater adventure, no greater purpose, no better way to live. But follow Christ does not mean that we always know exactly what to do, and how our lives will unfold. Following Christ is embarking on a journey, and listening to the promptings of the Spirit, in prayer, in Scripture and through our brothers and sisters in Christ, so that we discover and grow into our calling. God calls all of us. God calls all of us to be disciples and to be church, and we hold this call in common. But God also calls all of us by name: specifically, individually, uniquely. This is when we speak of vocation: the specific path that our response to God’s love and grace will take in our own lives.
These vocations will be as different as there are people. Every journey of vocation is invaluable and needs to be told, shared and cherished by the church. Together we discern the right paths and support one another on the way. Vocation has multiple threads – from being a friend, worker, parent, sibling, church member, carer, volunteer and many others, to taking up specific responsibilities in life, work or church.
A call to ministry can be held alongside other vocations, or it might be a disciple’s main vocation. In the New Testament ‘ministry’ is a public and commissioned role which God calls some individual disciples to and which is recognised by the Church. The Church of England is encouraging all Christians to think about their vocation, and, as part of this, whether they may be called to licensed lay ministry or ordination. We are delighted that in the past two years the number of people entering training for ordination has grown by a fifth. This is a testimony to the Church responding to the work of the Spirit, and we are immensely grateful to everyone who has worked hard to achieve it."
Archbishop Justin Welby
From the Vocation Sunday pack foreword
Theology of vocation - Read more about what the Bible has to say about following a vocation.
Growing vocations everywhere - Read our good practice guide for more on our lead initiatives to grow vocations, all flowing from ideas sourced from dioceses.
Exploring vocation - Our online content for explorers covers the selection and training process and makes it as easy as possible for people to get in touch with their diocesan vocations team. If you need to update your team's contact details or if you have any suggestions on content please email [email protected]
Mentor directory - Having a mentor is a proven means of boosting inclusion. Encourage your candidates to find a mentor through the directory, and encourage your ministers to sign up to become a mentor. Full training provided. Mentors are separate to the formal selection process. They are not able to interfere with the decisions of bishops, diocesan directors of ordinands, selection secretaries, bishops' advisory panel advisers, theological education institution staff, or anyone else formally part of the selection and formation process. What they can do though is provide reassurance and encouragement through practical guidance and emotional support.
Talk Calling - Produced by the Church Pastoral Aid Society (CPAS), this series of creative cards helps teenagers have open conversations on following God and discovering God's possibilities for their lives.
"Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.1 Corinthians 1.26-31
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God.
He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’"