Diocese of Portsmouth

    Young people given taste of parish ministry

    Children and Young People
    11 June 2024

    FOR Rebecca Gemmell, it’s a valuable way of discovering what it might look like to work for a church.

    The 19-year-old is spending a year on the staff at St Faith’s Church, Lee-on-the-Solent, as well as getting some theological training.

    She’s one of three young people in our diocese on the Church of England’s Ministry Experience Scheme, which gives those aged 18-30 a chance to work out their gifts and skills. The other two, Hannah Scott and Mary Ijuka, are working at St Jude’s, Southsea.

    Rebecca was part of the congregation at St Paul’s, Sarisbury, before heading to the Taizé Community with Bishop Jonathan last summer and then starting her year at St Faith’s last September. She’s gained valuable experience there, leading sung worship, helping at Messy Church, visiting the elderly and working with the youth group.

    “I actually Googled ‘How do you become a vicar?’ and it was this scheme that came up,” she said. “I’d also spoken to Bishop Jonathan when he came to St Paul’s. It’s very useful to see all the kinds of jobs available in a church team, and to see how a church runs - it’s more complex than you might think!

    “I help lead worship at the 11am service on a Sunday, and sometimes I’m the crucifer for the 9:30am service. I work with the elderly on a Thursday and with our community drop-in on a Friday.

    “And our theological training happens each Wednesday at St Jude’s, Southsea. We worship together, pray and hear from a speaker. We also have to write essays, which has been a highlight. It has been eye-opening and has broadened my perspective. It’s improved my confidence and spirituality, and I’m able to share my faith better.”

    The scheme has been running for 10 years, and is based around practical experience of ministry. There’s now also a strand of the scheme devoted to those who’d like to work with young people called ‘Future Youth’.

    See more details on portsmouth.anglican.org/CEMES

    St Faith's

    Victoria Square Lee-on-the-Solent, PO13 9NF

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