Record numbers begin clergy training
02 September 2019 IN: People News
A record 24 candidates from the Diocese of Manchester will begin training for ordained ministry this September, having completed a lengthy discernment and selection process. With one of the new ordinands being just 19 years old, we expect Manchester to have the youngest trainee vicar in the country for the second year running!
A particular focus of vocations work in the diocese is around diversity and so it is good to see a mix of men and women of all ages entering training. Canon Nick Smeeton, Diocesan Director of Vocations, is especially pleased that for the second year running more than one in five of those selected are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. He said:
“We are delighted that 24 local people have had their calling to ordained ministry endorsed by the independent selection process. Each has unique gifts and skills to offer the wider Church and is eager to begin their training this month. It is so important that the priests of the future reflect all the different communities that make up our diocese. Our work supporting and encouraging BAME enquirers is bearing fruit, and we hope that this will give others the confidence to step forward too.”
Manchester ordinands are taking full advantage of the flexibility of the training system, with some following the traditional route of moving to a theological college, but many, especially those with family members in schools and jobs locally, often choosing one of the full-time or part-time pathways available in and around Manchester. Of the 24 candidates about to begin their training, 15 are men and nine women.
Hear from some of those who are about to begin clergy training or are at the early stages of their training in the videos below.
André talks about how he came to be begin training as a vicar in the Church of England, overcoming feelings of not being good enough and pride.
What was it like for one Asian woman to hear and respond to God? Encouraged by her vicar, Kathreen overcame feelings of rejection to make her decision to change career.
Following God's call to ministry training, Paul talks candidly about going to the Bishop's Advisory Panel, which was a challenge and a joy. "The process of discernment will go on forever", he says, and support from others is hugely important.