Last week Simon Chesters, Director of Vocations, and Debbie Ellison, Vocations Officer presented at the Church of England’s national Growing Vocations conference in Northampton. In this first national conference arranged by the Church of England as part of a drive to draw more people into ordained ministry, Simon and Debbie talked about how God has been blessing our diocese with the many more people exploring ordained and other ministries.
Simon Chesters said “We were sharing a session with the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson, who is chair of the national working group on ordained vocations and Catherine Nancekievill, national Head of Discipleship & Vocation. We had been asked to talk about what we’ve been doing in Liverpool Diocese to grow our numbers. Between 2005 and 2015 we sent an average of 10 people a year to national selection panels for ordained ministry but last year we saw that grow to 16 and this year we are looking to send 26 people to national selection panels. It’s a hugely encouraging growth, especially alongside the people going into Reader ministry, Local Missional Leadership and other types of ministry in church and in daily life. “
Debbie said “ It’s been really exciting to see how initiatives like LifeCall
have helped lots of people find where God is calling them – it was a privilege to share that story with people from so many other dioceses and it was great to hear how many of the people at the conference were encouraged by what God’s been doing here in Liverpool Diocese”.
Simon went onto say “We’re thankful to God for the way that he’s blessed us with this rise in numbers but we need to keep doing more. Even doubling the number of people going into ordained ministry will barely keep pace with the numbers of clergy who will be retiring over the next 10 years, let alone help us grow the numbers in ministry for a bigger church making a bigger difference”.
The Year of the Woman
One of the areas the national conference was looking at was how we encourage more younger women to explore ordained ministry. From Mothers’ Day on March 26th we are launching a special year-long programme of events and resources about encouraging women in the calling God has for them - look out for Mothering Sunday resources on women and vocation coming soon!
Vocations Sunday - and any Sunday
We’ll also be producing resources on vocation for this year’s Vocations Sunday on May 7th – and on that Sunday and other Sundays if you want a guest preacher to talk about God’s calling to us all, get in touch.