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Thursday, 21 November 2019

Interns in Rome: from pub with the vicar to verging the Archbishop of Canterbury

MES interns Edoardo (with the cross) and Ksenia (with the candle) serving at All Saints, Rome
The Ministry Experience Scheme (MES) of the Church of England offers young adults aged 18 to 30 the opportunity to serve in a parish as part of the discernment of a possible call to the ministry.  We have three MES interns in the Diocese in Europe serving on the scheme this year (it is the 5th year we have participated and we were among the first dioceses to do so) and two of them are assigned to All Saints Rome.

One of the Rome interns, Ksenia Smykova, is a native of Russia. The other, Edoardo Fanfani, is an Italian-American. Typical of our international diocese! Both appear to be having a very enriching time, working along Fr Rob Warren, the Chaplain of All Saints, and supporting in a diverse range of ways the life and ministry of the Chaplaincy. As Ksenia said recently, "MES enables me to engage full time in the service that I love. I don't know where I will be when the programme ends, but while I'm here the goal is to give all that I can to this parish, dedicating the work to God."

The work of a MES intern is varied.  In All Saints for instance, Ksenia and Edoardo are nvolved in the liturgies, in organising parochial events, in working on social media, and in leading study groups. They have initiated and are supporting an additional mid-week mass on Thursdays, followed by a soup lunch (which they prepare). They have also rounded up a group of young adults for occasional evenings of conversation and fellowship called "pub with the vicar". 

L to R: (RC priest) Fr Robert McCullogh, Anglican Centre in Rome Director Archbishop Ian Ernest, Fr Rob Warren, Intern Ksenia on the day of her reception into the Church of England.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of receiving Ksenia formally into the communion of the Church of England (she comes from an Orthodox background). I was also proud of Edoardo who was the verger for the service at which the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome was installed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"Pub with the Vicar" - a young adult gathering organised by the interns
In the Diocese in Europe, the MES scheme is made possible through commitment from the host chaplaincies, grants from foundations, some finance from the National Ministry Division and from the Diocesan Board of Finance. Dr Clare Amos, the Director of Lay Discipleship oversees the MES scheme in our Diocese. In addition to service in their assigned Chaplaincy, the interns participate in supervised theological and pastoral reflection organised by Dr Amos.

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