UKME Ordinants and Curates in partnership with the Minority ethnic Vocations Ministry recently held a two-day residential conference hosted by The Queen’s Foundation. Reflecting back on the event, Angela Sheard, one of the organisers, shares this with us:
“Over a Friday afternoon and evening, we gathered at The Queen’s Foundation as a group of UKME/GMH ordinands, curates and those in the discernment process. As more and more people arrived in the Wakefield room, sat down and joined conversations, there was a palpable energy in the room. Some of us recognized colleagues and friends in the room, and were excited to catch up again with people we hadn’t seen for a while. But there was also real joy in being in the presence of other UK minority ethnic/global majority heritage (UKME/GMH) people who felt called by God into ordained ministry. Our gathering was a visible sign of the diversity of God’s church, and the grace of the Holy Spirit who calls us in and through that diversity.
Over the two days we enjoyed stimulating talks including a keynote address by Revd Dr Carlton Turner (one of the staff team at Queen’s) and a talk about the new selection process for ordained ministry by Revd Calvert Prentis, DDO for Birmingham Diocese. We also had two panels, one of UKME/GMH ordinands and curates and one of UKME/GMH people in different roles in the Church of England. These brought different experiences of discernment, college, curacy and other roles into conversation with each other, and gave us a starting point for discussions in which we reflected on our own experiences and listened to the experiences of others in the room.
For me, these conversations were at the very heart of our time together, and I will take the stories and wisdom of others along with me going forwards. Over the 24 hours that we spent together, we became a community that shared delicious food, worshiped together and generally held a space within which we could be honest about our calling and our journey as UKME/GMH people in the church, and hold space for others to do the same. These spaces are a precious gift for us and for the whole church – they are sources of the nurturing, mentorship and solidarity that is vital on our journey of vocation, towards ordination and beyond.”