Nurturing a sense of vocation for any age can be a challenge. For many young people the lack of role models and a sense that there is a daunting process to go through creates real issues. We talk to Revd Dr Alastair Prince Assistant Diocesan Director of Ordinands about those challenges and the work we are doing to support young people.
Alastair Prince has a passion to support young people in their calling and thus was ideal to pull together a support group that brings young people together to support each other as they explore a calling to ministry. “We need to recognise that those aged 18 to 30 have a different perspective about ordination” Alastair explains “by encouraging them to be together supporting each other they can explore the areas that are meaningful to them.”
As an incumbent Alastair saw the need for something to help local clergy, readers and others who are sensing a vocation in the young person but are not sure how to support and encourage that. “There is a real role of the local priest, laity and whole congregation to recognise and support the gifts in others.” Alastair contends “But this group is something that can offer real, prayerful and practical support to those on the discernment process.”
Journeying in isolation is a problem for anyone but particularly as a younger person where the added questions of ‘am I normal?, am I too young?’ can be prevalent in the young person’s mind. “what we needed was a way that young people could explore these questions together in an unthreatening way” said Alastair “so we established these occasional Saturday breakfast sessions where we could explore the different aspects that an advisory panel looks at. It is tailored around the ordination selection criteria, and enables people to think through those areas as they consider their vocation”
Currently up to 9 young people are exploring this together – each at different stages and exploring in different ways. They meet in small groups with Alastair supported by Revds Simon Elliott and Rachel Sheehan “this brings a strong and varied level of support with each of us bringing different experiences, churchmanship and ideas. But all of us have that shared passion to see more young people in ordained ministry.”
But some of the real value is having the young people support one another and encourage one another as they follow God’s call on their lives and discern what route is bets for them.
Next week we talk to Alastair about his calling and vocation as an ordained minister.
"This group is something that can offer real, prayerful and practical support to those on the discernment process"