The Internship Symposium organised by the British Union Conference (BUC) Ministerial Association took place from 20-22 September. Interns and their supervisors from across the British Isles gathered at the Union offices in order to share experiences and learn.
The programme included many learning opportunities, including presentations from Pastors Samuel Ouadjo (BUC Ministerial Association Secretary), Hezron Adingo (SEC Ministerial Association Secretary), Eglan Brooks (BUC President), Dr Steve Currow (Newbold College Principal, Principal Lecturer in Pastoral Studies, Centre for Ministry and Mission), Emmanuel Osei (SEC President), Michael Simpson (NEC Ministerial Association Secretary), George Kumi (NEC President), Nathan Stickland (St Albans and Hemel Hempstead churches), Patrick Johnson (TED Ministerial Association Secretary) and Wederly Aguiar (BUC Treasurer).
The training covered a wide array of topics, including the expectations from interns and supervisors, the implementation of reflective practices, the importance of continuous professional development, planning a sermonic year, chairing a board meeting, reading a financial report, transforming conflicts, and nurturing healthy spirituality.
The interns from both the South England Conference (SEC) and North England Conference (NEC) and all three Missions also had the opportunity to attend the SEC Workers' Meeting, held at the Stanborough Park church on Tuesday, 20 September. This was followed by a session where the interns were able to reflect on the meeting and ask important questions relevant to their growth and development in their new roles. Most importantly, throughout the busy schedule over the course of three days, there were regular sharing sessions, where both interns and supervisors were asked to reflect and answer the question: "What have you learned about ministry and about yourself during the first few months as interns?" The answers were introspective, insightful, deeply personal, and very vulnerable. Everyone had an opportunity to comment and reflect on the answers of others, as well as ask questions.
The wealth of knowledge contained in the experiential wisdom that was shared provided the attendees with something more valuable than any formal training ever could – a testimony.
The training sessions led by several senior church leaders were invaluable for our development as upcoming ministers as it covered varying topics that are not always taught at school. Therefore, everyone was able to leave with new insight, and a renewed confidence to carry out these important tasks regarding church administration. Although the administrative training had many benefits, being able to meet and spend time with other interns and supervisors from varying parts of the UK was a great experience.
The first reason is that we were able to share common experiences and learn from one another. The second reason is that it allowed us to begin to develop meaningful relationships in ministry as we move forward. Lastly, it gave us perspective as to the broad depth of ministry within the UK and not just within our local context. Overall, it was an extremely insightful and humbling experience to learn from those who have gone before us. Most importantly, this training communicated the importance of allowing God to be at the forefront of ministry and to let Him lead. Indeed, the Internship Symposium was a testimony to the commitment of the leadership of our church to developing and equipping young ministers for more fruitful and meaningful ministry.
Pavle Trajkovski and Jesse Samuel