Reflecting on Vocations Sunday

26 April 2023

Vocations Sunday takes place on 7 May.

In this blog Alison Ransome, the Ministry Development Officer who supports vocational discernment, shares how we can discern the call of God, along with stories of those who have answered God’s call.

Vocations Sunday helps us think about the gifts all of us have been given and how responding to God’s call can help us hone and action these gifts to become participants in God’s work. We are called to respond to God within our communities, often this is building on work that has gone before.

The challenge can be knowing, or discerning, the voice of The Caller, the voice of God.  God can call us to the work that we need to do and the work that the world needs to have done and we are called alongside all those who have come before us and are around us.

We might feel we are in the right place at the right time, or we might not. We might feel called by God from what we are doing now to something new or to look again at the opportunities God is opening to us through our communities. This can happen in school or at work, in the charities or football clubs we support or in the pubs and cafes we use.

We may have a vocation in our wider lives and also a vocation in our church life. For some, continuing the work of God might include volunteering as the safeguarding officer, the treasurer, welcomer, flower arranger or the maker of great cakes for tea and coffee after church.

Vocations Sunday offers a chance for us to consider what we are doing in order to continue the work of God. 

You can find resources for Vocations Sunday on Singing the Faith and advice on answering the call to vocation here.

Below are some examples of people who have answered the call.

Serving a 'left behind' place

jonathan-hoodJonathan Hood is a Community Pioneer Worker from Derbyshire where a calling from God to talk to a council worker led him to find his vocation, developing a community resource and a children's club.  

"The small village I work in is one of Derbyshire's forgotten about, or 'left behind' places. Common conversations focus on the lack of amenities locally - 'This village has nothing', 'There is nothing for the kids to do'.

"One day I was taking a prayer walk through the village when I noticed that a small bungalow, normally locked up, had its door wide open. There I met an official from the council and asked what was happening with the place. I was being curious, but through the conversation with the council worker, I realised that this was God inspired and followed what I felt God had gifted us.

“The council were looking for tenants and we had been praying for a venue for mission work but there were no other suitable places we could start our project. After discussions with other local community minded people, the community decided to take on the lease. Together, we opened up the bungalow to a number of new and existing local projects, including a toddler group run by the school and a youth group for teens. 

“Following a calling from God to serve this 'left behind' place, God further prompted, called and opened the door to us, giving us the opportunity to draw alongside local people and begin a project designed not only to create community but to share the good news of the gospel. Listening to the community on the lack of provision for children, we started our 'Kids Club' which now has over 15 children attending each week and we also have parents staying to have a chat. We also decided to use this space for worship for the first time on Easter Sunday where families and young people who had never been to Church before joined us.”

Following God to the Boulevard

sue-trotterSue Trotter was called to God’s work in one of the most deprived areas of Hull.

“Nine years ago, God called me away from Anlaby Park Methodist Church on the outskirts of Hull to work for Him in one of the most deprived areas in our country, The Boulevard Area of Hull, almost in the centre of the city.  The new minister at Anlaby had asked for someone to go with him to the next service at Selby Street to help him sing as they did not sing much there. I went for a one off and God said STAY and because, I’d previously worked in similar area as a school admin officer, l felt at home immediately. God clearly called me and I obeyed His call.

“While I still attend Anlaby Park where I am a senior steward, going to Selby Street was one of the best decisions I ever made. From discussing the bible, to helping people find warm clothes and supporting people with everything from their CV’s to bereavement.  I love it.”

Story telling as vocation

bxBx is a local preacher from Norfolk and she wrote the materials for Vocations Sunday this year.

"I live on the North Norfolk coast with my partner and cat. I currently worship in a small chapel in Gresham. My paid work is as an operation manager for an Apprenticeship Department at a Further Education college.

“If I were to put my vocation in a sentence, I would say that I am a story teller – this is lived out in my church where I am a local preacher, in Girl Guiding, at 3Generate or indeed whenever I can be found working on creative projects. 

“It’s been awesome to work on creating materials for Vocations Sunday 2023 and I have loved the opportunity, as a story teller, to offer the imagery of houses, to invite people to reflect on their response to an invitational God."