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Young women explore Christian vocations
25/04/16

On Saturday 23rd April a conference held at the Cathedral entitled Young Women: Your Call gave young women the chance to explore Christian vocations. The event, organised by Diocesan Vocations Adviser, the Rev’d Ellie Clack, was held in response to current low numbers of women under the age of 30 being recommended for training for ordination.

Notably, of those who are ordained under the age of 30 under 25% are women. This is something the Church of England is keen to see changed. A national vocation strategy is currently being implemented that looks at this misrepresented group as well as undertaking wider work around young vocations and other minority groups within the Church structure.

Over eighty 16-35 year old women from 25 dioceses across the country attended Young Women: Your Call. The participants heard from 2 keynote speakers; the Rt Rev’d Anne Hollinghurst, Bishop of Aston, who spoke about ‘Saying Yes to God’ and the Rev’d Lis Goddard, Vicar of St James and the Less, Pimlico, who talked about ‘Women and Leadership.’ Both speakers recounted their personal journeys to ordination and their experiences (both the highs and the lows) of ministry.

After hearing from the speakers, the women had lunch served to them by a team of men which included the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, an Archdeacon, two curates and several spouses of the wider team. This inversion of common gender roles and the gesture of service was greatly - and in some cases profoundly - appreciated by the women present.

In the afternoon the women were able to attend seminars which focused on different types of ministry, use an amazing creative prayer space equipped with prayer pod tents to pray into their calling and ask questions to a panel made up of a variety of people involved in several ministries across the Church. 

Ellie Clack says,

“I am delighted that so many women joined us for the Young Women: Your Call event on Saturday. We had a vision for a safe, creative, inspiring and encouraging event to support younger women who are under-represented in ministry positions in the Church of England. We had a brilliant day and really enjoyed meeting women from all over the country who had come to share their story, to pray and to explore their vocation. Our hope and prayer is that the day they each spent in the Cathedral will form a significant and affirming step for them as they pursue their God-given vocation in ministry – and that we would all see the Church, indeed the Kingdom, flourish and be shaped by this new generation of women deacons, priests and lay leaders.”

Going forward, Ellie and the Young Vocations Team hope to run the event again and in the meantime they will be pursuing online discussions via Facebook and Twitter and will be keeping in touch with the attendees as a new network. In the Coventry diocese there is also the Nudge Vocations Team who support 18-30 year olds exploring a call to ordained ministry and host frequent socials at local pubs, called ‘Nudge at the Pub’. 

For more information on Nudge Vocations please see www.fb.com/nudgevocations

For all other vocations enquiries in the diocese please contact ellie.clack@covcofe.org