Main administrative and pastoral area in the Church of England – often roughly coincides with local county boundaries. There are 42 dioceses.
A clergy person responsible for a parish and the cure of souls there.
A general term for the work of the church in worship, mission and pastoral care.
Study exploring the meaning of God's word
- Pastoral care
Supporting people in their different needs and circumstances
A person's sense that a specific role or course of action is being asked of them.
A person's sense that a specific role or course of action is being asked of them.
You will spend a year within a diocese exploring ministry, whilst gaining valuable life skills that will help to prepare you for your next steps. You will be given the opportunity to deepen your theological knowledge, gain practical and pastoral skills, and to reflect on your personal faith journey.
We will provide you with accommodation, basic living expenses and theological training. You will be given the opportunity to explore church life, supported by fellow participants and a mentor throughout your placement.
Read Jo’s and Kristian's stories of how the Ministry Experience Scheme is helping them discern their vocations.
Jo: Finding my worth, dreams, love, and passion in God first
It's always been true for me that real learning happens when I embrace both theory and action.
Even just the thought of going through life constantly moving and acting, without any chance of stopping, reflecting, consolidating; makes me feel burnt out.
But similarly, the idea of simply talking, writing, thinking about leadership in the Church and the world makes me feel frustrated and hemmed in. One without the other and we blow up… or dry up!
For this reason, I'm so thankful for this year that I'm spending on the Ministry Experience Scheme at the Younger Leadership College in Nottingham.
The pattern set is one of breathing IN in our time spent together studying the Bible & praying, discussing theology- how it affects our discipleship and leadership, and sharing our joys and struggles. We then breathe OUT in our Church placements, serving in lots of ways throughout the week. Both are rich learning opportunities. One word I've used again and again in describing my experiences of this year is 'dense'.
I feel so full of what God is teaching me, my own personal journey feels so densely packed with lessons emerging left, right and centre.
As someone who is exploring the call to ordination in the Church of England, I feel immensely blessed for this season.
My day can look like a morning at college, talking brain-tingling theology, or a morning at a local charity I work with, talking 'real life' with women working in the sex industry.
My afternoons can be spent in meetings dreaming about the next stage of Church growth; or enjoying 'leadership lessons' round the fire with the Bishop. My evenings can look like organising and running dinners for new people at our Church or they can be wholly spent supporting and praying with Church members.
There's so much variety to my week and, on the whole, a great balance of breathing IN and breathing OUT.
It's really important to me to have a sustainable ministry – whatever that ministry is. I don’t want to get so puffed out that I can’t finish the race, but I equally don’t want to wait around for so long that I miss it. I’m learning, amidst the pressures of Church ministry, what it looks like to find my worth, my dreams, my love & passion in God first.
I want what I ‘do’ to be an overflow of what God is stirring in me and what He says about me.
This year, I’m learning to step into that place of grace more and more, and in turn, I’m seeing my capacity stretch, my skillset widen and my discipleship deepen. I’m learning that you can’t compartmentalise discipleship. God made us holistic beings and this year is the next step in my journey of embracing that whole-hearted approach to walking with Jesus and doing the things he did.
Jo - Ministry Experience Scheme Participant
When you meet someone new at a social event, they will often ask “what do you do, then?”
Since taking part in Edmonton’s Ministry Experience Scheme, I have found that question hard to answer. Or at least to answer it concisely and comprehensively.
I work as a pastoral assistant. My regular tasks include: teaching RE and occasionally leading assemblies in a primary school; preaching monthly sermons; supervising a weekly homelessness shelter through the winter months; serving soup at a group for older people; visiting patients in a mental health hospital; leading daily prayer services; making crafts with children at Messy Church; playing football with young people at a monthly youth group; caretaking in the church; managing a website; producing Sunday service sheets; leading Bible discussion groups and informal theology in the pub meetings.
But those things are just the planned, public activities. It is much more profound to talk about the unexpected and unique moments of ministry which are of unrecorded but perhaps unquantifiable significance. Liaising with social services about an elderly and abandoned woman who needs rehousing. Listening to someone who has just found out about a terminal illness in the family. Advocating for a person with schizophrenia because they refuse to speak to anyone other other than the chaplain they trust.
So I have come to think differently about how do answer the question “what do you do, then?” I think it is more appropriate to use the verb “to be” rather than “to do”. I prefer to say, “I am a vicar’s assistant”. If necessary, we can talk about what that tends to entail.
Because being in ministry is precisely that. It is being. It is first and foremost about the person and presence you are, not the things on your to-do list. For it is from a rootedness in a life of prayer, listening, and compassion for others that all missional and evangelistic activity flows. Either intentionally or incidentally.
In Love’s Endeavour, Love’s Expense W H Vanstone argues that the love of God does not follow a set plan or fixed course of action. It is an on-going, creative action of love directed towards the needs of the world. As an artist is absorbed by the tiniest detail in each step of his creation, so God expends his whole being in loving the world in a creative, authentic and utterly committed way. Redemption is therefore not only the revelation of the “divine event” (of the Cross); it is the ever-present “divine being” of God’s love.
I have learned in my time on the Ministry Experience Scheme that to be in ministry is to try to reflect something of God’s “divine being”. In listening; in acts of charity; in preaching the gospel; in celebrating the sacraments. But fundamentally, all these things that one does are an expression of who one is trying to be in and to the glory of God.
Kristian - Ministry Experience Scheme Participant
How do I get involved?
If you would like further information then please complete the form below and we will be in touch with you. All enquirers are welcome, and you can apply to any diocese offering the scheme no matter where you currently live. Your data will be sent directly to the diocese you select, and to the Archbishops' Council. Data may be shared between the National Church Institutions and between dioceses. Data will not be shared with other third parties.
Every experience is different
The Ministry Experience Scheme is locally led, so every diocese will have their own distinct flavour. You do not have to apply to your own diocese, so have a look below at what is on offer and use the contact form above to find out more.
Click here to find out more about each placement
Bath and Wells
Inspire and grow. Jump in to an enormous range of opportunities to try new things, meet new people and learn where God is calling no matter who you are or what your circumstances. Participants will act as a beacon across the diocese, not only changing and growing themselves, but also inspiring others to explore God’s calling on their life.
Challenging and rewarding. Explore a variety of ministries in some of the most deprived parishes in the country.
Innovative and collaborative. A unique experience to work across a range of parishes and mission areas, working alongside a team of inspirational vicars, ordinands, and curates. Participants will also benefit from high quality teaching at a vibrant theological college.
Confidence and opportunity. A chance to grow through experiencing ministry to discover who you are and how you might serve God in your life.
Breadth and depth. An opportunity to compare and reflect upon distinctive settings, churches, and communities, through well supervised ministry experience.
Unique and fulfilling. Experience Anglican ministry outside its heartlands, but near enough for beneficial comparison. To live, pray, and serve in continental Europe is to be exposed to new vocational experiences of a rich and particular kind.
Joyful and enlightening. Discover the unique challenges of rural ministry, as seen on the BBC’s A Vicar’s Life.
Flourishing and vibrant. Share in ministry from the centre of Bradford to the edge of Leeds and the suburbia in between. Each participant has the chance to share and learn from each other within this large and diverse diocese in the North of England. "Encounter" is the key word.
Diverse and enriching. Learn how to discern when God is at work, and be equipped to join in as you are shaped by God.
Learning and serving. Nurture your vocation through ministry in inner city parishes.
Leadership and growth. From Harrods to Heathrow, work alongside others from different traditions, in parishes geographically and sociologically very different. Including central, inner and suburban London parishes, explore different areas of youth, student, young adult, and broad parish responsibilities ministry. Share and grow together, to develop a wide understanding of the different styles and opportunities of ministry within church leadership roles.
Explore and witness. Discern your calling in an urban, inner-city setting. Take part in sharing the gospel anew in the 21st century.
Our employment model and emphasis on both parish ministry and diocesan employment sets this scheme apart. We have tried to develop a scheme that will be truly available to underrepresented groups, and which will provide a wholly realistic basis for decisions about future ministry.
Vibrant and challenging. Challenge your thinking on mission with this unique combination of ministerial experience in challenging settings and community projects.
Challenging and joyful. Discern what God might be calling you to, as you experience parish ministry in a wide range of contexts, living, working, and praying, in the fine city of Norwich.
Supportive and contextual. Learn alongside older participants and youth ministry apprentices across a diversity of placements, from urban to rural, representing a range of different church traditions and worship styles. Benefit from well-developed resources and high-quality support and training.
As a Western Wards participant you will be fully engaged in Christian ministry of a broad and diverse nature whilst based in the local church; living, learning, and discerning God's call in an encouraging and supportive environment on the south coast of England.
Confidence and clarity. Understand your vocation by experiencing ministry in both urban and rural contexts. This scheme is specifically tailored to help you pray more, serve more, and grow more.
Sodor and Man
A unique context where our church leaders need to be both a Country Parson and a Pioneer Minister creating a sustainable Christian community for the future.
Southwell and Nottingham
Ambitious and dynamic. Develop leadership and whole-life discipleship through an experience tailored to vocational discernment and personal growth in all vocational contexts.
Practical and engaging. Combine parish experience with university chaplaincy work. A unique opportunity to explore your vocation whilst living in community, serving in a multi-faith student environment, and undertaking varied parish work.
Discernment and opportunity. Find your vocation by being part of the Way2 Community. An opportunity to test the nature of ministry you feel called to.
Mission and pioneering. A unique opportunity to explore pioneer ministry, fresh expressions of church, social enterprise, and mission on the edges. Work alongside a team of local vicars serving together to encourage mission and vocation in the city.
Dedication and challenge. Come and taste and breathe ministry by rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty in Dudley, whilst being surrounded by warm people and dedicated clergy striving to live and share the Gospel
"The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord."Jeremiah 1: 7-8
The Ministry Experience Scheme is supported by Allchurches Trust.