Bishop David and Keith Gardiner, our Fundraising Officer for Church Growth, were delighted to welcome Andrew Bass, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, to the See House earlier this week. As we announced in July, the diocese has been awarded a very generous grant from the Benefact Trust to support, FORGE, our exciting new Diocesan Ministry Apprentice Scheme for 18–25s.
This was Andrew’s first visit in connection with FORGE, which will get underway with an induction at the beginning of October for the first cohort of Ministry Apprentices. The programme will include monthly training days, insight visits to Christian ministries, support to undertake accredited training in children’s or youth ministry and an end of year celebration event.
The Apprentices will be fully involved in the life and witness of their host church and serve mainly in children’s and youth ministries. They will also contribute to diocese–wide ministry programmes e.g., Saturday Night Live and our Kilbroney Camps programme. These opportunities will enable Apprentices to explore a call to Christian ministry and grow in their faith. It is our hope and prayer that this new scheme will raise up a new generation of ministry leaders.
Following interviews last week, three young people – two from Northern Ireland and one from England – have been appointed to the scheme. Two will be hosted by parish churches and one by a church plant. We will introduce the new Apprentices at the start of October and please do welcome them to their roles when you meet them at diocesan events.
Benefact Trust exists to make a positive difference to people’s lives by funding, guiding and celebrating the work of churches and Christian charities; empowering the most vulnerable and giving people, communities and places a renewed opportunity to flourish. (benefacttrust.co.uk)