BISHOPTHORPE Palace, near York, staged one of the largest events for young people aged between 18 and 30 who may feel the Church of England is their vocation.

The delegates – who were all considering working for the church – attended the Step Forward Conference on Saturday.

David Goodhew, director of ministerial practice at Cranmer Hall, Durham, and one of the Step Forward event organisers, said: “Some of these young people up until this weekend have never told a soul that they think this might be their vocation, fearing friends or family would think them bonkers for doing so.

“I work at an Anglican theological college, Cranmer Hall, in Durham and we have seen the average age of ordinands markedly drop in the last three years. The average age used to be around 40. Now, I would say it is nearer 30.”

For more information about Step Forward, visit