New team of Vocations Advisors strengthens Cumbrian mission and ministry
A new county-wide team has been set up by the Diocese of Carlisle – the Church of England in Cumbria – to support people’s vocational call to mission and ministry.
More than 30 people have signed up to the role of Vocations Advisors, with three others being appointed Vocations Co-ordinators to oversee the support network in each of the diocese’s three archdeaconries.
The co-ordinators, as first points of contact, will refer people to an advisor. This will lead to up to three meetings to enable people to explore how best they can develop their Christian calling.
The Rev’d Peter Clement, Vocations Development Officer, has set up the new system to support those people who feel called to explore where God may want them to journey.
He said: “This team of people will help encourage people to think about what God is calling them to do.
“Someone may have already begun to explore with their Vicar where they may feel they are being called in terms of vocation. Now they will also have the opportunity to be referred to one of the Vocations Advisors who has a ‘big picture’ in terms of all the opportunities which are available and help establish which one is the best route to take.”
The Vocations Advisors will intentionally support the diocesan vision for Growing Disciples and the ecumenical God for All strategy which is being rolled out across the county: that by 2020 everyone in Cumbria will have an opportunity to explore the reality of God and God’s purpose for their lives.
They are made up of both lay and ordained people who bring a track record of encouraging people in vocation and helping develop ministry and missional opportunities.
Peter added: “This is not just about exploring a vocation within a church setting. We need to be able to encourage people in their role as a teacher, for instance, or a police officer in order for them to be able to bear witness to their Christian faith.
“There’s already a lot of good vocational work going on at parish level. This process is about enhancing that.”
Discussions will take place in coming months to discuss how the Vocations Advisors network can be adopted by the other God for All partner denominations, the Methodist Church and United Reformed Church.
Particular focus will also be given on how best younger people’s vocations can be encouraged and developed. The Vocations Advisors will also form the first step for anyone who wants to explore ordained ministry or becoming a Reader - a lay person who is theologically trained and licensed by the Church to preach, teach, lead worship and assist in pastoral, evangelistic and liturgical work – or a Local Lay Minister.
The three newly appointed Vocations Co-ordinators are Janet Cox in the North of the county, Maureen Stevens in the South and Jonathan Falkner in the West. The Vocations Advisors have met once as a group, with regular archdeaconry meetings also planned.
The team will work in tandem with Cumbria Christian Learning – the diocese’s newly formed learning and training organisation – to feed in demand for vocational training opportunities and courses.
The Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev’d James Newcome, said: “It is important that throughout our Christian journey, we have every opportunity and all the necessary resources to explore how God may want to shape us.
“I’m delighted that the Vocations Advisors team will enhance this process for the people of Cumbria and will provide help, support and advice as they to listen to God’s calling and follow where he leads.”
Notes to editors
For more on God for All visit www.godforall.org.uk.
For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01768 807764 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.