What we offer
Our parish placements vary each year, but over the past five years of the Scheme, participants have been based in a wide range of churches (see the ‘Useful Links’ page). As part of your placement, you’re likely to be involved in the daily life of the parish’s prayer and worship, including preaching (depending on background and experience); sharing in the teaching and nurture of individuals and groups, including work with children and teenagers; mission and evangelism; service and care – such as pastoral visiting, working with the homeless, foodbanks and other community projects; and assisting in some administration. You’ll also be involved in staff meetings, and weekly supervision will be provided.
Study and Reflection
Theological study, practical skills training, project visits and time for study and reflection are all part of the Scheme, an important part of the journey of discipleship and vocation. This is provided in partnership with St Mellitus College (https://www.stmellitus.ac.uk/), the Centre for Theology and Community (http://www.theology-centre.org/), and the Stepney Area Training Office, amongst others.
St Mellitus has emerged from a partnership between the North Thames Ministerial Training College, and St Paul’s Theological Centre and emphasises the importance of ‘generous orthodoxy.’ The modules you take may include ‘Foundations for Theology and Reflective Practice’ and ‘Introduction to the Bible', but this will be discussed with you, and depend on your previous level of theological study.
The Centre for Theology and Community has done ground-breaking work in encouraging churches to be involved in works of mercy, justice and evangelism, and to take a part in transforming their local communities.
Other study and teaching opportunities include practical training for ministry (preaching, listening/pastoral care, leadership/collaboration), visits to other projects (prisons, university chaplaincy, parliament); opportunities to think theologically about ministry in urban inner-city settings; opportunities to reflect on each other’s parishes; and reflections on vocation around the Church of England’s criteria for authorised ministry.
All of this is undergirded by group and individual prayer, worship and Bible study.
Participants live together in two shared houses, close to parish placements and to each other. One of the houses is four-bedroomed, other other six bedroomed, and both with shared space and a garden. There is a house chaplain to provide pastoral support, and oversee the worshipping life of the community. We encourage participants to cultivate a common life together.
Supervision, Support and Vocational Discernment
Opportunity to reflect on and learn from your experience is one of the most important parts of the scheme, as you listen to where God may be calling you. There are therefore opportunities for regular supervision, as well as opportunities to reflect informally as individuals and as a group. If you are exploring a vocation to ordained ministry, there will also be support and guidance in negotiating the process.
What we can offer you
Rent free accommodation in a four or six bedroomed house (including council tax, gas, electricity and water bills), with other scheme participants
A monthly subsistence allowance (£100/week)
Payment of all parish expenses (including travel to and from your church)
The opportunity to study with St Mellitus College and the Centre for Theology and Community
Regular supervision and support from your Placement Supervisor, House Chaplain and Scheme Director
Regular opportunities to meet with the Director of Ordinands, to help you explore your calling further
Support and guidance in negotiating the Ordination selection process
A chance to experience life and ministry in the Church of England, equipping you for future life and ministry
An annual retreat, termly Quiet/Study Days and meetings with the Bishop of Stepney
One and a half days/week for study, personal prayer and reflection and one full day off a week
Four weeks holiday a year
The Stepney Scheme provides an opportunity to spend a year, funded and supported, serving in parishes in the vibrant areas of Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. The Scheme will run from September 2020 to July 2021, and offers a wide range of opportunities for mission and ministry depending on your experience, gifts and skills.
The Scheme includes parish placements, theological training, community living and support in vocational discernment. A day and a half a week is given over to study, training and personal prayer and reflection.