At St Benet’s we run a year-long placement scheme in which a student thinking about offering themselves for ordination can spend 12 months with us experiencing the life of a parish community. We form part of the North London Pastoral Assistants Scheme, and aim to provide the formational context that a young person needs to discern whether God is calling them to ordained ministry in the church.
The year-long placement here at St Benet’s involves our pastoral assistant receiving an immersive experience of parish life, whilst living in community with three other pastoral assistant students in St Paul’s Mission House in Camden Square. Along side parish duties, there is time set aside for theological formation, retreat, and reflection.
Four of the pastoral assistants who have been with us since the inception of the scheme in 2013 have gone on to train for ordination at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. Others have used the year to decide that God is not calling them to ordination at the moment, but to some other form of lay vocation.
This year’s pastoral assistant is Edoardo Fanfani. He was born in Rome, Italy where he worshipped at All Saints’, the local Church of England chaplaincy for about five years, during which time he discerned his call to the ordained ministry. He is a student of Cultural Heritage of the Church at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, a mix of art history with some theology thrown in.
Here are some pictures of pastoral assistants past and present showing the kinds of thing they get up to whilst working with us: