Vocations Sunday is taking place this Sunday (Sunday 3rd May) and there is lots of useful information to find out at this time about this work.
Please read a message below from the Church of England Head of Vocations, Revd Helen Fraser, regarding Vocation Sunday.
You will also be able to find some helpful vocation resources at the foot of the article.
Firstly I want to thank you for all you are doing to serve God and your community at this time. If you are one of the people for whom life has taken on a relentless feel, that may be all you have time to read.
As always, we wanted to encourage you in your vocations work, particularly at this strange time. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that we will look back on this time as a time when God called many people forward in their service for him and his people. There will be new and unexpected people emerging, demonstrating gifts of crisis management, of cool heads in the chaos, of extraordinary pastoral creativity when most usual modes of caring for others have been limited. There will be those who have spoken with surprising confidence profound words of comfort which have resonated with you and with others. New voices, new gifts, new creativity unfurling just as we see the leaves unfurling on the trees at this time of year.
As we look at the Bible, we see story after story of God calling people in the midst of crisis and hardship: Moses, Esther, the Old Testament prophets. Even Jesus arrives during the middle of the Roman occupation of Israel. Jesus then goes through a profound time of self-isolation in the wilderness – and yet it is also a profound time of vocational discernment.
The main reason for this message is to highlight that this Sunday (3rd May) is Vocations Sunday. Whilst we may not be able to gather in our churches to mark the event, we can nonetheless continue to encourage people to consider their vocation. Corporately we ask God to equip the whole Church with the gifts and skills needed to see it thrive and fulfil its mission. Individually we hold ourselves before God, asking for a renewed sense of calling: either back into who we already are and what we are already doing or perhaps towards something new and different. Since vocation is discerned in community, it is also a day to pray that we would recognise and call out vocation in each other.
It is important on this day to recognise that all Christians have a call from God – none of us is beyond it. Vocation includes callings to ordained ministry and the formal lay ministries of the gathered church, as well as callings to many other jobs and tasks, to social roles and to development of character. Vocational discernment forms an essential part of discipleship.
This Sunday, the national service being broadcast by the Church of England will be led by Dr Paula Gooder and will mark Vocations Sunday. These services stream at 9am on Facebook and YouTube. Churches producing their own online services and resources are also encouraged to take up this theme – tailored prayer and liturgy resources are also available.
I will continue to pray for you in your ministry. And as always, do be in touch if there are specific ways we can support you.
All the very best to you,
Helen and the team
There are also some useful resources from the Church of England regarding The Great Vocations Conversation, as well as a great new booklet – Life Is for Giving – described as ‘A toolkit for exploring your calling’. You can find some sample pages of Life Is for Giving here.