As I prepare to leave the Diocese to take on a new role as rector of St Giles West Bridgford, I look back with great thanksgiving for the last 17 years and for each of the different roles I’ve held and communities I’ve been a part of. Reflecting specifically on the last five years and my role as Diocesan director of interns I give thanks that the programme is now established and has seen over 64 interns and 16 mission apprentices take part. There have been Diocesan interns serving in each episcopal area through different streams such as the Mission Apprenticeship, the New Wine Discipleship year and the Ministry Experience Scheme.
It has been a genuine privilege to journey alongside those who are wanting to grow as disciples and seek more of what God is calling them to do with their lives; to watch young adults grow in confidence in who they are as a child of God and stepping out using the gifts and skills He has given them. The programme wouldn’t work without a dedicated team of line managers, mentors and teachers all willing to give of their time to invest in each intern.
I would often say when speaking to groups of students that people are willing to dedicate vast amounts of time to becoming a great musician, an athlete or a baker, but when it comes to growing as a disciple we often expect it to somehow happen without any intentional effort. Giving a year of their lives to grow their roots deeper in God, developing a rhythm of life that sustains them, having the chance to explore theological questions and learning more of the Bible, equips them for life long discipleship whatever area of work they go into next.
With each cohort of interns I have also been personally stretched, challenged and blessed and have grown in my own understanding of God’s love. I look forward in the years ahead to bumping into many who are working in all walks of life, serving in their local church, and growing as disciples of Christ, building on the roots they put down during an internship in the Diocese of Leeds.