All of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female. For you are all one in Church Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heir according to the promise.
The Vocations Team of the Diocese of Chelmsford, led by the DDO (Canon Philip Need) are committed to enabling every Christian to release their gifts.
Here, we do not have a narrow definition of what a minister might look like, we are clear that there’s no cookie-cutter approach to vocations selection.
It means seeking to release those gifts, not trying to squeeze them into a narrow definition of what a minister might look like. We equally recognise that there remains a way to go, but as a church we are steadily getting better at recognising the diversity of ministries and ministers in our vocation work.
As the Church of England said, “Mentoring is a proven means of fostering inclusion for underrepresented groups.” As a result they have built an ordained vocations mentor directory to help support historically underrepresented candidates in their discernment. Our Vocations Enabler, The Revd Prince Odoemena is a trained mentor and is on the Church of England mentor directory. Prince is happy to be contacted and available to take on mentees of all background or ages.
“Ministers don’t look like me”. We hear this far too often. Whether its gender, age, ethnicity or educational background, it is harder for people to consider ministry without role models to follow. We understand that role models are key to showcasing evidence of our commitment to the flourishing of vocations among under-represented groups. Chelmsford Diocese probably has the largest pool of minority ethnic clergy in the Church of England.
Here at Chelmsford Diocese, as part of our drive towards radical inclusion and growth in Christian vocations among all God’s people, we take unconscious bias training seriously and we are working hard to ensure that everyone working in vocations is trained in this.
We are developing a diocesan wide vocations course themed “Called, Where?” with an adaptation tailored to the learning needs and styles of ethnic minorities and underrepresented groups in the Church.
There are various vocations’ events going on in the diocese such as; Vocations Days, Discover Your Vocations Sunday, Young Vocations Events, Minority Ethnic Vocations Events, Courses, Vocations Sundays and many more. These events are places you can come and enquire about ministry in the Church of England.
Many people begin their formal vocations or ordination discernment process after attending any of these events. It’s also a good place to kick-start our exploration, meet others who are at different stages of their exploration, a good place to freely ask questions and network with others on the vocations journey.
We have study grants for ethnic minorities who are in the vocations (ordination) discerning process and are undertaking either a course in Beginning Theology or in Christian Studies (CCS). To apply or enquire about the application process, please contact The Revd Prince Odoemena
Handbook on Enabling Minority Ethnic Vocations
We recognise that our diversity is something to celebrate and it’s not always easy to find ways to effectively retain this celebration. Crossing cultures is not an easy process because of our diversity. When it comes to enabling vocations amongst ethnic minorities and other under-represented groups, it’s vital that we understand their story, their background, spirituality, worldview and values, in order to know them better and fully enable them to unleash their gifts and potentials. As a result, we are working on a handbook on Enabling Minority Ethnic Vocations. We have contributions from experts and people who are better situated, skilled and experienced in cross-cultural communication.
We aim to lunch this handbook in time for our first Eastern Region Minority Ethnic Vocations. This event is scheduled to take place on 24th – 26th of April 2020.
The Great Vocations Conversation
The Great Vocations Conversation challenges us all (Ordained, Lay Licensed Ministers and every Christian) to intentionally commit to having at least one conversation a month, about vocation with atypical people (e.g. Ethnic Minorities, Young People and those who have been historically under-represented).
Get involved or encourage your vicar to get involved.