People come to this ministry with a variety of skills and experiences and the training is built around them and the needs of the parishes or ministry area they will serve.
It comes under three basic headings
Practical Skills and Experience. This is delivered by a mixture of an apprenticeship in the home parish, placements elsewhere and team tasks, in which the candidate works with others in the local church or churches on projects to serve that areas mission needs. There may also be some top-up training where there is a particular local need, for example, if the candidate needs to improve their Welsh in order to serve their community more effectively.
Knowledge of God and the church, wisdom and insight.
Five residential weekends deal with issues specific to the ordained ministry and candidates are also expected to reach undergraduate diploma level (end of the second year of a traditional three year degree) in theology. In the diocese this academic work takes place in local discipleship courses using the Exploring Faith programme. For more details see the leaflet on Exploring Faith.
Personal Qualities of faith, hope and love (and resilience). Candidates are expected to keep up a regular discipline of prayer and Bible study and make use of a spiritual director or soul friend. As a group we share Bible study in Monday Meditations sent by email.
To tie all this together, candidates are asked to keep a journal and are appointed a mentor who will guide them through the process and help them to grow.
How long does it take?
The practical skills and experience part of the training takes about eighteen months, with the residentials slotted into this. It is usual, but not inevitable, that candidates who the Bishop approves will be made deacon at the end of this time and priested the following June. It may take longer to gain the academic qualifications but this can continue after ordination so long as the work is completed within a reasonable time. It takes a lifetime, perhaps an eternity, to perfect our faith, hope and love.
Please contact Rhiannon Johnson, the Diocesan Director of Ministerial Training on 01437 781279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.