"I have quickly come to realise that faith and ministry is not only about meeting need, but also about helping people flourish and thrive."
My name is Hannah. I’ve grown up worshipping at St Mary’s, Upper Street in Islington. But now, as part of the Scheme, I’m serving at St Luke’s in Hackney.
A year ago, I attended a Stepney Vocations day, where one of last year’s Interns spoke about the Stepney Intern Scheme, and I decided to apply. And so far, it’s been an amazing experience.
It has been brilliant becoming part of St Luke's. I’ve got involved in preaching and teaching, youth and children’s work, and other outreach into the local community. It has been most exciting getting to know and love the congregation, and to understand a little more about the church and what it’s called to do and be in that particular setting.
St Luke’s is a very different church from St Mary’s. It has been a challenge getting used to working in a more deprived area. I thought ministry might be about identifying the needs of people in the parish and finding practical ways to meet those needs. But I have quickly come to realise that faith and ministry is not only about meeting need, but also about helping people flourish and thrive. In the parish, that might mean supporting children through school, and helping them understand their skills and passions. It might mean supporting people in their work, but also trying to help employers value what they have to give. It can mean, here in Hackney, working with other faith communities to achieve common goals. And it may seem obvious but as I begin to understand the work that needs to happen, the more I realise that without God as the catalyst to everything, we will fail.
When starting the scheme, my biggest fear was not that the work in the parish would be too difficult. Nor that I wouldn't understand the theology lectures. But for me it was about how well I would get on with the other interns, as I’d not lived in community before. Because serving in this way and taking time to explore vocation is a concept that seems strange to so many people, it has been great to be able to talk so openly with the other interns who I get on so well with. I am learning so much from them and so much about myself from spending time with them.
So, what has the scheme taught me
Being part of the scheme has given me so much more confidence in talking about my faith.
It has given me skills to be more mission focused.
It has given me space to meet people I would never have come across otherwise.
It’s helped me explore new areas of faith and ministry, and given me all the support needed to help me do that.
And most importantly being part of the scheme has meant I have laughed till I've cried too many times to count.
The Scheme’s enabled all this to happen!