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Ministry Scheme Journal

Here we hope to chronicle some of the experiences and reflections of our Ministry Experience Scheme (MES) interns, in their own words, as they explore their vocations.


December 18 - Interns report back

Ben O'Neill writes from Vienna

Greetings from Vienna! It is hard to believe I have now been in Vienna for over three months. At the time of writing, we are looking forward to our service of Nine Lessons and Carols which will be taking place this Sunday, the 16th December. So much has happened over the past couple of months, which I would like to reflect on in the next few paragraphs.

First, our CEMES study trip to the Holy Land; there are too many highlights of this pilgrimage to mention, but I would point you in the direction of the summary booklet of reports and photographs, available to download from +David’s blog. I won’t repeat anything from there here, other than to thank Fr William and all who made it possible. Especial highlights for me were the trip to Masada, the meeting with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, and our Mass by the shore of Lake Galilee, where there is such a tremendous sense of God’s presence in amongst the peace and tranquillity. For most of the Interns, this was the first experience of the Holy Land, but I was blessed to be there for the second time, having been on a parish pilgrimage with Little S. Mary’s, Cambridge.

Another highlight (the day before we left for the Holy Land) was being able to go to Bratislava to lead the Act of Remembrance there, as shown in the picture above. It was very humbling to be able to join with the British Embassy in Bratislava on the site where five men lost their lives during the Second World War.

The 2nd Sunday of Advent was my first time preaching at the 10am service, having previously preached at the 8am, 6pm and Wednesday services; for those interested, it can be downloaded here.

Otherwise, I am just enjoying being in Vienna; it is such a beautiful city to be based, especially now that the city is peppered with Christmas Markets. I have continued to receive such an excellent welcome at Christ Church and continue to appreciate getting to know the very diverse, international community here.

It remains for me to wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2019. I look forward to more exciting opportunities here in Vienna in the New Year. I am especially looking forward to heading to Budapest where I will be preaching on the Feast of the Epiphany.

November 18 - More from our Interns

“The Return of the Prodigal Son, a painting by Rembrandt, lies at the heart of how I see and experience my call to church ministry. This journey of discovering my vocation has been, and still is, a process of learning to trust God. Trusting that He is there in every doubt and insecurity, as a loving Father - so beautifully expressed in Rembrandt’s famous painting. 

In fact, I believe that this painting is at the heart of each and every person's vocation, whether that is within or outside the church. We are all first and foremost called into God’s infinite embrace. And it is there that we can let go of all our worries, insecurities and fears and step into what God has called us to do.”


October 18 - Reflections from our Interns

Erik Heemskerk

CEMES intern in Utrecht
September started with saying morning prayer in Lyon and flying back to Amsterdam after the CEMES induction. The induction was really great, I learned a lot and met a lot of great people! Next morning I was in my home church, where I will do my CEMES year. My responsibilities focus largely on student ministry and that means that September was a busy month for me. The academic year starts here on September first and that means we get to know a lot of new international students in the first weeks of September. Activities in this time require a lot of infusion of energy to get things going. The second Sunday of September we organised a very big event to welcome new international student to the city. (See attached pictures) We hosted over 60 people in the garden and twice I even gave a little guided tour through the church. We invited the people to our events and hope to see them back. 
The third Sunday of the month I went to the Arnhem-Nijmegen chaplaincy in the Netherlands to lead a Morning Prayer service and to preach. It was very good to be in that church and see what's going on in other Anglican churches in the Netherlands. 
For our students we started with Christianity Explored, a course to discover more about the Christian faith reading the Gospel of Mark. We've had our first sessions about this and it is really good to read the Gospel! 
The month September ended really nice when meeting my fellow interns and our pastoral mentor and educational supervisor, from whom I learned a lot! As CEMES-interns we had dinner together in a lovely place in Brussels.

Ben O'Neill reflects on his first month on this year's CEMES course

Hello and greetings from Vienna. I am just approaching the end of my first month as CEMES Intern at Christ Church. In this post I wanted to share some of my highlights from the first month.

It was a real privilege to head to Kiev, Ukraine, for the Synod of the Eastern Archdeaconry. Hearing from the leaders and representatives of Anglican chaplaincies in Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Romania (and many others), each with different situations and focusses, was a pertinent reminder of the role that church groups play in building bridges and working for peace. Read more...

And from Lloyd Brown...

In the church where I first began to confidently articulate God's calling on my life, there stood a beautiful altarpiece, at the centre of which was this image of Christ on the cross. In those months when I was discerning my call to come back as a CEMES intern, and ultimately to ordained ministry, this image of the cross was constantly before me.

My idea of calling and vocation is a cruciform one in part thanks to this; I can put it no better than the words a monk once spoke to me, “Christ gave all of himself for me, now I want to give all of myself for him.” Giving all of ourselves in love is at the heart of whatever calling God makes on our lives, whether it be to ordination, or marriage, or teaching, or nursing, or whatever else God might be asking of us.

The simple prayer that began Christ's own journey to the cross was to say to the Father, “not my will, but Yours be done.” If we let it, this prayer can lead us into our own vocations, our own callings to give everything of ourselves in love for Him who loved us even to death on a cross.

Ilse writes from Belgium

A few weeks ago we had the kick-off of the academic year of the universities in Belgium. This unofficially also means the start of the year of our parish St. Martha & St. Mary’s, a parish that attracts mostly students. For me it meant that the diary was getting quite a bit fuller. More ...

Mark Van Eker in Brussels


CEMES has been a fantastic opportunity to explore my faith and discernment at the right time. Coming straight after finishing A-Levels in school and leaving home for the first time, has taught me valuable life lessons.

Being placed in Brussels during the Brexit negotiations has proved to be an interesting and challenging topic to deal with while I've been placed here. I also managed to visit the European Parliament which was an inspirational experience to see how it all works together. I am looking forward to spending the up coming months here.



August 2018 - Induction in Lyon

This year's interns introduce themselves.

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