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The Ministry Experience Scheme



The Ministry Experience Scheme (MES) in Europe is designed for young people, aged 18-30, who desire to discern their vocation in the Church of England. It runs for an 'academic' year from September to the end of the following June.

In the Ministry Experience Scheme, we offer an opportunity to: 

● explore and deepen your faith,

● discern where and to what God might be calling you,

● spend a year learning about yourself and your faith tradition with a caring support structure,

● acquire life-long skills and formative experiences which will enrich your life, discipleship, and faith. 

By investing in young people, the Church hopes that some will discern a vocation, offering themselves for ordination and other ministries. The scheme is thus intended to inform a journey of discernment and prepare interns for the demands of the selection process. This preparation is comprised of three elements:



Chaplaincy work: Gain practical experience by working with local chaplaincies that exercise a breadth of ministry. Serve the community and gain leadership skills. 

Pastoral mentoring: Seek personal development through regular meetings with a pastoral advisor. Benefit from reflective accompaniment with experienced mentors.

Theological training: Learn through tutorials with reputed academics in centres of academic excellence. Take a study pilgrimage to important sites in Europe and beyond and participate in Diocesan Synod.

"MES has helped me to think about the ways that the church serves it very diverse members from many different traditions. I have seen how different styles of church are necessary to reach as many people as possible in such a multicultural area. In the last few months, I have seen how important the church is in the work with refugees and have even had the privilege of helping to prepare some for baptism and help them with their continued journey of faith."

Ali Speed, 2016-2017 intern at Holy Trinity Church, Geneva & La Côte, Switzerland



We invite you to explore the diverse and varied Anglican experience on the continent. The formational hopes for MES in the Diocese in Europe are rooted in the selection criteria for ordained ministry developed by the Church of England. We will seek to help you discern your Christian vocation and to form your faith within the context of contemporary Europe.

Reflect on your vocation with the significant support from a well-tuned formational team consisting of chaplains, a pastoral advisor and an educational supervisor. Depending on your location, you will benefit from exercising a great variety of ministries, from ecumenical work with the World Council of Churches, to homegroups, to prayer services at the EU Institutions, expanding your vision of vocation in the church.

MES will give you the opportunity to develop experience of the Church of England through an appreciation of the Anglican experience in continental Europe, a break from the norm and a chance to be formed as a disciple of Christ.

"The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord."

Jeremiah 1: 7-8

A Unique Experience

Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

MES in Europe brings opportunities for some unique experiences. In both 2017 and 2018, the interns participated in a week long pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Accompanied by their mentors, the interns explored and reflected upon several dimensions of what it may mean to call this land holy: the sites which commemorate fundamental events in the life of Jesus Christ; the importance and difficulties of ongoing Christian presence in the land; the complicated and sometimes competitive interreligious dimensions; the political and social realities in Israel and Palestine today. The pilgrimage formed a key formational experience, as one intern said, "The messiness of the incarnation has become more real for me," and another, "I find myself looking at the Bible in new and different ways."


"For a couple of years, I had been exploring a calling to ordained ministry, but I felt I lacked a practical understanding of how ministry plays out day by day, living and working in a church community. That’s why I applied to do MES. I’ve been to synods, on retreat in a Benedictine abbey, led homegroups of all ages, heard about port ministry in Rotterdam, debated faith in a local bar and had fun with great new friends. I've gained a deeper understanding of the meaning and outworking of ministry in our Church, in its surprises, mundanities, and eccentricities."

Josh Peckett, 2016-2017 intern at Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Brussels


Meeting the challenge of COVID

Obviously, the unprecedented COVID pandemic which began in Europe in February 2020 has affected MES for the interns of both 2019-20 and 2020-21.  The good news is that in both years the interns have been able to continue working in their chaplaincies. Indeed the 2020-21 cohort of interns is the largest contingent that the Diocese in Europe has ever hosted. The pandemic has though affected the physical meetings of the whole group of interns, which normally happen several times over the course of the year. At the time of writing (December 2020) we don’t know whether a physical meeting – even a pilgrimage to the Holy Land – will be possible for the group of interns before the beginning of July 2021, although we certainly hope so, and if it is safely possible we will arrange it.

The challenges that COVID has brought have led to new ways of working and building community, especially between the interns scattered widely across Europe. We host a weekly Zoom meeting – using the facilities of Zoom to listen to speakers that it would have been far more difficult to invite for a physical gatherings. Some of our learnings are likely to feed in to how we organise MES in Europe for the future:  we have been surprised how good Zoom can be as a tool for educational learning, and for building contacts between interns based in different countries.


We are still identifying host chaplaincies for 2021-22: they will certainly include a number of chaplaincies that have hosted MES interns previously – as well as possibly a couple of new locations.


For more information please contact Dr Clare Amos, Coordinator, Ministry Experience Scheme, Diocese in Europe at


You can apply for the Scheme on this 2021-22 application form

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