"I have really been given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and have been trusted to take things on and try things that I wouldn’t have thought myself capable of."
It felt like I came to take part on the Stepney Intern Scheme almost by accident. I was looking for a way to explore a possible calling to ordination in a very practical way and somehow this year on the intern scheme just fell in to place. Only now, looking back as we hurtle towards the end of the year, I can see with some more clarity how this has been a vital part of my vocational journey.
When I first started to explore vocation I was living in Durham and surrounded by people who were already training for ordination and it was easy to have a slightly romanticised idea of what ministry might be like. That’s one of the reasons why it was so important for me to be able to come and experience it first hand, and in a setting which was completely alien to me and sometimes quite tough. In my case, this meant coming to serve in a very diverse church in Hackney. Coming to this completely new and different setting and realising that full time ministry still felt like something I really deeply wanted to do was very important for me.
I think the encouragement of those around me at the church and others who are part of the intern scheme has also been vital: I have really been given the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and have been trusted to take things on and try things that I wouldn’t have thought myself capable of. In this, I’ve always been blessed in having the congregation ‘on my side’, encouraging me and wanting me to do well. I have also seen God’s incredible faithfulness at work.
Before I came on the scheme, I was challenged to stop saying ‘I can’t do it’ and the more I’ve agreed to take things on which may seem nerve-wracking, the more I’ve felt myself gain confidence and perhaps become more like the person God made me to be. I used to think that leading things up-front at church was too far out of my comfort zone, but now I realise that that might be just where I’m supposed to be and even one of my strengths.
I’ve also seen my sense of call develop and grow. It started off as a very personal thing, as something that felt like a part of me and my identity, but I see now that calling is really an outward-looking thing. The sense of call itself may be on the inside but we’re called outwards to the people around us: ultimately to give ourselves and our lives for others. I think only this year of very practical ministry could have made me even vaguely ready to take that step!