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/ 2 March 2021

Growing in confidence and faith as an apprentice

Heather graduated from the Apprenticeship scheme in 2020, after 3 years working and learning in the Parish of Barnsbury with a focus on children’s ministry. Having graduated, she has stayed on as children’s pastor at the church, continuing to support and connect with families. Here’s what she shared about her time on the scheme.

Being a part of the apprenticeship helped me to grow in confidence and also developed my personal faith. I had many different opportunities as part of my work in Barnsbury, these included developing the Sunday groups for children, regularly leading collective worship and clubs in local schools and helping with the monthly inter-church youth gathering. Through these I have been encouraged to go outside my comfort zone and try things I might not have before.

I have always felt supported by the diocese team as well as those in my community which has been great. Having space and time to connect with other apprentices, along with other paid children and youth pastors to ask questions and learn from them was invaluable.

I have many highlights, but being able to get involved in many different events and occasions within my parish and in the diocese more widely was always something I enjoyed. I have been able to run children’s activities tables at a local council festival, help develop all-age worship and also plan and deliver activities from my church for the Messy Cathedral.

“At the beginning it was a challenge for me, but as it was a significant part of my role, I grew in skills and confidence, especially when I was asked to help lead and preach”

Another highlight has definitely been building relationships with the children and families both at church and with local schools for collective worship and clubs.

Something I am proud of myself for overcoming was my struggled with public speaking in large, new groups. At the beginning it was a challenge for me but as it was a significant part of my role, I grew in skills and confidence, especially when I was asked to help lead and preach at the all-age service. I was able to reach out to others in a similar situation, ask for advice and was encouraged, among other things, to push through the awkward phases which gave me a boost to face my challenge head on. Although I still get nervous, it’s now something that I enjoy.

I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship to anyone thinking about applying. It’s a great way to challenge yourself and have the support to grow further. I also found the opportunity to have further study was something I was really thankful for.

If you are interested in becoming an apprentice or having one in your church, applications are open now. Visit the BLMF Apprenticeship Scheme website page to find out more and apply through Pathways here.

This year’s cohort (class of 2021-2023) are financially supported by the All Churches Trust.


About Katie O'Conor

Katie is the Children’s Ministry Support worker and BLMF Apprenticeship Scheme Coordinator for the Diocese of London. She has been involved in Children and families ministry for most of the last 15 years in various forms, from volunteer to intern and degree placement student to full time children and families minister. She loves connecting with children’s minsters across London and helping the diocese think more about how we can best support children and families ministry across the diocese.

Read more from Katie O'Conor

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