Sunday, May 3 is National Vocations Day and we are hoping you will join with others across the diocese and wider church to reflect on and encourage vocations. This means calling to serve God in church and the world – in all sorts of roles, lay and ordained.

To assist you, we have created some resources and videos, which we hope you will join us in using on May 3 between 2pm and 3.30pm but will be available for you to use at any time. The resources and videos will be available on the diocesan website.

Bishop Philip will be introducing the event and there will be input from Jem Parker, currently undertaking the diocese’s ministry internship programme and Rose Jones who completed the internship and went on to be ordained as a curate in the diocese last year. There will also be input from Revd Jane Horton and Revd Canon Jane Vaughan-Wilson, diocesan director of ordinands.

In such exceptional times, ‘How can I serve God right now?’ maybe a particularly acute and painful question. What possibilities am I open to? Where might God be leading me? This is of course not simply an individual process. It is also a call/challenge to the church. What are we called to? What are we for?

It might seem strange and even inappropriate to some people that we should be thinking about vocation while still very much in the midst of the grief and loss, the fear and anxieties and the enormous challenges of this current Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic season.

But in the midst of the seismic events and tsunami of emotions, of the ground being tragically ‘turned over’ in people’s lives, perhaps for many of us it’s a time when we naturally find ourselves asking big questions about life.

What things will have been left behind as the sun sets? What will the new landscape look like when the new dawn breaks? What will our place in the picture be?

Perhaps we might consider that, rather than being fixed and static, vocation can be likened to a journey that emerges through the different stages and circumstances of our lives. Through the hard and difficult times, the dark valleys – as well as in the green pastures and beside the quiet waters.

So what might we be looking to see emerging in our own lives and in the lives of those around us, as we navigate the rough rapids of this time and begin to look to the future?

This event will be an opportunity for you to take some time both to look inwards and also to look outwards. To pray for those who may also be asking some of these big questions at the moment (or who will do so in the future). To pray generally that even in the midst of these troubled and anxious times, the Holy Spirit will be stirring up Kingdom vocations and calling many different people to work in many different ways in the harvest fields that will emerge.