After experiencing fame and travelling the world, Glyn Wise says it was the Church of England’s Ministry Experience Scheme that ultimately gave him confidence and got him close to God.
Glyn Wise

“My journey to Christianity didn’t happen overnight,” Glyn explained. 

“I was baptised as a baby, and I attended Sunday school as a child – I had great Sunday school teachers who knew their Bibles thoroughly,” he laughed. 

“I felt as though I was following God’s plan – do well in school, go to university, get a job, have children, retire, die.” 

But soon enough, Glyn felt his path was “tedious” and at 18-years-old, he decided to audition for Channel 4’s Big Brother. 

“I had much determination to get a place on TV’s biggest reality TV show,” he said.

“I prayed and as always – God was listening.” 

He added: “I continued praying for God to guide me through the game show, but I prayed under the covers, as I thought being cool was more important than being a Christian at the time – which I heavily regret.”

After three months of being in the Big Brother House, Glyn was thrust into the media spotlight. He made guest appearances on UK TV and radio shows, got a modelling contract with Calvin Klein, and became a youth radio host for BBC Radio Cymru. 

“I was invited to all sorts of parties and movie premiers, but deep down I felt lonely,” Glyn explained. 

“I had left my faith behind during this period.

“In the middle of all the glitz and glamour of fame, I had become someone I hardly recognised.” 

Deciding that he “needed to get back on track”, Glyn studied Welsh at Cardiff University and continued studying post-graduation, with a PGCE in Secondary teaching. He became a teacher in Aberdare and then a lecturer at Cardiff University. 

“But a part of me wanted to experience new cultures, and learn something new,” he said. 

This opportunity came when Glyn’s church asked him if he wanted to volunteer with them in Uganda over the Summer break, so he did – teaching English at an orphanage in Kampala, Uganda.

“I taught 200 children sat on the floor, it was such an eye opener,” he said. 

Glyn continued travelling and later moved to work in Shanghai, China. “I grew in my faith in the five years I was in China,” he explained. 

When Glyn returned to the UK, he felt ready to become a Priest – but he wanted more experience. One day he came across an advert in the Church Times for Pastoral Assistants in London. After applying, he started the role within a week:  

“I never felt closer to God in my life,” he reflected.

“The confidence I carry today is thanks to my experience as a Pastoral Assistant and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” he said. 

More information:

  • The Pastoral Assistants' scheme that Glyn completed in London is a part of the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme (MES).
  • Since completing MES, Glyn has been accepted by the Church in Wales for ordained ministry and will begin his training in Cardiff in September.
  • The Ministry Experience Scheme is a year-long opportunity to explore vocation and calling, aimed at young people aged 18 to 30s. It is formed around practical ministry experience, such as children’s and youth work; chaplaincy; community work; preaching; digital media; pastoral visiting or events organisation.
  • Since September 2021, 22 Schemes recruited 87 participants to work in urban and rural areas, with placements spanning the wide diversity of traditions that make up the Church of England. In the last three years, 300 participants have taken part in the Ministry Experience Scheme.
  • MES is free of charge, with accommodation and expenses provided. There are schemes based across the UK and Europe recruiting now, to start in September 2022
  • The Church of England's Vision and Strategy for the 2020s is helping us to be a Church which proclaims and lives out the Good News of Jesus Christ afresh in every generation.

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