From international politics to ordination

As Sam Rylands completed a programme in international politics at the University of Nottingham, he found himself wanting to know more about his Christian faith.

He began a postgraduate programme at Cambridge to study theology and simultaneously became more involved in his church. As he sat one morning in chapel, thinking about his life and where he might be headed—questions about possibly teaching, or working in law or politics, or charity work—Sam had a sudden clear sense of God saying to him, Sam, you are going to be a vicar.

In the moment, it felt clear enough, but Sam couldn’t help feeling some scepticism, and so he prayed to ask that if this were God’s will, he would provide a sign to confirm that. Sam went to church that evening, in the centre of Cambridge, and listened to a sermon about God keeping his promises to Abraham. The man intoned, ‘If God is calling you—do it, do it, do it!’

Sam enrolled in the Church of England Ministry Experience Scheme, which offers young adults placements in churches around the country to help them consider a possible call to the church while gaining a wide range of ministry experiences. They placed Sam in Tollington Parish, London. With his interest in politics, Sam has ‘a passion for social justice, for seeing how the church can work for that and serve its community.’

He found himself working in a community dealing with drug, knife, and gun crime, and discovered how much he valued his time spent in youth ministry. At the end of his year in the programme, Sam was offered a choice between two roles—a chance to apply his interest in politics and international relations in the House of Lords, or a role in youth and community work in Tollington. He chose to continue at Tollington because he felt called there and believes that the church is the best place to seek the transformation of communities.

Now an ordinand from London Diocese, Sam chose to attend Trinity because during his visit, ‘the thing that struck me was the very vibrant community life. I recognized that part of the education is the community aspect. The staff genuinely felt welcoming and interested in me as a person, and it felt like the college is going in a really healthy direction. It feels like a vibrant place to be.’

From Trinity’s Autumn 2016 Newsletter

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