What is CEMES?

The Church of England Ministerial Scheme (CEMES) is a national scheme for young people aged between 18 and 30 to explore ministry within the Church of England. The yearlong scheme offers an opportunity for young people to develop practical experience, undertake theological training and allows time for self-reflection with a view to personal development.

The scheme is nationally supported whilst being implemented at the diocesan level and enabled by parishes that receive participants.

The scheme comprises three elements:

  1. Practical experience: filling three quarters of a participant’s time and comprising a breadth of ministry opportunities working within the church and the wider community including some leadership responsibility.
  2. Personal development: a diocese must show how it will address the personal development of the participant; this might be through a diocesan course or a scheme such as the CPAS Growing Leaders Course.
  3. Theological training: this may be provided by a recognised college, course or school of Theology, or by the Diocesan Training Team.

Ministry Division provides the framework for the programme, support and advice to dioceses and offers a contribution to funding for approved schemes. The success and safety of each scheme is the responsibility of the diocese.

Participants on the scheme are housed by the diocese and supervised by nominated people within the parishes. Diocesan feedback on their development is provided to Ministry Division and aims to help the candidates reflect on progress and plan their next steps and in order to monitor the overall impact of the project.

CEMES was developed in 2013 to build on the success of existing gap year projects. To date it has provided 78 under 30s with an effective experience of ministry which for a majority of participants that have completed the scheme, has led to them to preparing for or being recommended at BAP.

Details of current CEMES schemes can be found on the Church of England ‘Call Waiting’ website.