IT'S quite common for students to take a gap year from their studies and try something different.

Experiences can range from trekking through exotic locations to carrying out charity work in countries where it is needed most.

But have you ever thought of taking a gap year to see whether you are suited to joining the church?

A ‘gap year with a difference’.

That’s what is being offered by the Diocese of Salisbury to young adults considering their future direction.

The Pray, Serve, Grow scheme is open to 18-30 year olds wondering if God might be calling them to ordained ministry – even if it’s an idea they’d never seriously considered before.

The Rev Benny Hazlehurst, the Diocese of Salisbury’s Vocations Co-ordinator, who helps runs the scheme, said: “This is often a time of year where people consider their long term future and are open to new ideas; perhaps because they’ve finished school or uni, or are maybe wondering about a change in career direction.

“Our Pray, Serve, Grow scheme offers 18-30 year olds the chance to spend a year from September exploring whether they may have a call to ordained ministry.

"Participants will get experience of ministry in a local church, receive theological training at Sarum College in Salisbury, and have lots of support to reflect and grow as people.

“Some participants live in community in a house in Poole while working in urban and suburban churches. Last year, this proved a valuable experience for three young people.

"For the first time, this year we are also offering the experience of living in a rural setting with hands on experience of rural life.

“Full board and training costs are provided along with a small personal allowance, so nobody should be put off from applying due to their personal circumstances.”

The Rt Rev Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne, said: “We work to make sure it’s an enriching experience for everyone, even if life ends up taking them in different directions.

"Last year proved to be great fun."

She added: "Don’t worry if you think your application will come as a surprise to us – or yourself!”

If you are interested in the scheme and would like to know more about what is on offer, then further details are available at