Director of Congregational Development
East Belfast Mission

Director of Congregational Development
East Belfast Mission


Mark S

00:02 I’m Mark S and my title is Director of Congregational Development and really means I work with the congregation part of East Belfast Mission

00:12 It involves quite a lot of pastoral work and really being involved in situations where they, you know, want to work out what’s going on in their life and trying to give them some support and assistance with the things that they’re facing.

00:26 This is an ordained post where I don’t have formal qualifications to do this and it’s more of my life’s experience that has qualified me.

00:36 Before working here I worked for Tesco, I was part of the management team at Tesco. I had worked there for nine or ten years, never saw myself doing this at all. I guess when I was at school I didn’t ever see myself also being in retail, I simply worked in a supermarket to earn some money, some pocket money, like everybody does.

01:00 My interests at school, I really enjoyed science and I saw myself using that in some way. I had a specific interest in genetics and really hoped to be involved in some sort of, you know, scientific area where I could use genetics and, and I was fascinated by that but when I heard the reality of a job at eh end of it, it was clear with me, things changed and probably the very romantic notion that I had of science was, was brought into sharp focus at university.

01:39 I studied biology and chemistry. I didn’t complete it because in my gap year when I was working in Antrim area hospital I realised that it was a, a, a pretty narrow job and specification and I felt also the rewards financially were very, very low for, for all the hard work and it was at that stage that I saw the opportunity to go into management, within retail.

02:06 I had until then just been packing shelves at a local supermarket and they offered a, a programme for people who were currently in university to, to go on and to become part of the management team. Whenever I was going into management at Tesco’s, I thought that was going to be a lifetime thing. I saw myself with very, very specific career goals and a very specific life plan and when I realised that that was going to change, that left a real, a real sense of, of being lost and, and not having a definite plan for my life and that was mixed in with ill-health, crisis of confidence and just crisis of, of identity, of myself, of who I was and what I would be and where I would be. it was, it was a tough time. Often times we are trapped because we’re well-paid for something but we’re not fulfilled and it was only through the fact that my ill-health led me to, to have to change jobs, that gave me the freedom to say I can do anything now and I probably won’t be well-paid but at least I’ll be fulfilled in what I do.

03:18 My father’s a minister, he also only became a minister very uh late in his sort of career life, it wasn’t until he was in his forties that, that he decided that, that that’s where he was called to be. Before that he was in insurance um and so he left insurance to go and study and be a minister.

03:43 I guess I was eighteen whenever my dad made the decision to go into university, so we both were kind of going into university roughly about the same time,

03:53 I’m absolutely convinced that if you’re fulfilled and enjoy what you’re doing, that is far better than any amount of money could ever be.

04:01 END

Mark S is Director of Congregational Development working with the congregation part of East Belfast Mission. He says, "Often times we are trapped because we're well-paid for something but we're not fulfilled and it was only through the fact that my ill-health led me to have to change jobs, that gave me the freedom to say I can do anything now and I probably won't be well-paid but at least I'll be fulfilled in what I do".

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average salary

The UK average salary is £28,758

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

57%  male  43%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

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Members of the clergy provide spiritual motivation and guidance, conduct worship according to the form of service of a particular faith/denomination and perform related functions associated with religious beliefs and practices.


Entrants typically possess a degree or equivalent qualification. Candidates for the clergy according to the Christian faith must pass a residential selection procedure and attend theological college where training includes theological instruction and practical pastoral experience. Training can last up to six years depending upon age, experience and denomination. Entry routes for other religious professionals will vary according to the particular faith concerned.


  • Prepares and delivers sermons and talks and leads congregation in worship;
  • Interprets doctrines and instructs intending clergy members in religious principles and practices;
  • Provides and arranges the provision of religious instruction to congregation members;
  • Performs marriages, funerals, baptisms and other special religious rites;
  • Provides pastoral care to members of the congregation in their homes and in hospitals and counsels those in need of spiritual or moral guidance;
  • Undertakes administration and social duties as required.
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Health 1322
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