The aim of our training programmes is to prepare the whole person for mission and ministry in today's world. Courses in both mission and ministry help to develop an understanding of the mission of God and the tasks of ministry, and courses in human development and pastoral practice equip you to know what it means to live a fully human life and how pastoral care is responsibly exercised. There are additional optional courses in pastoral psychology, covering topics such as group dynamics, conflict, sexuality, mental health issues and human identity.
On Sundays during term-time students go on placement to a local church, perhaps of their own tradition, perhaps to a church very different from previous experience. There are two types of Sunday church placement - the Observational Placement completed in the first year when students are expected mainly to observe and reflect on their experience, and the Ministerial Placement completed in the second or third year when students are expected to preach and lead worship on a regular basis.
During the summer, students go on a four week church placement. Usually this is an important time of transition from lay to ordained ministry. Students both shadow their supervisor, usually the vicar of the parish, and work on their own initiative. Summer placements may take place in the local area or in your home area or in another part of the country, and a few students go overseas.
Placements give a rich variety of experience to become familiar with the range of worship styles represented in the Church of England, through pastoral care in different contexts, the challenge of unfamiliar situations, and practice in attentive listening, practical service, preaching and leading worship, and responsible initiative and theological reflection.
A variety of opportunities are available for students to experience parts of society and ministry, which they may not have experienced previously, in sectors like chaplaincy to hospitals, prisons and hospices or in work with charities that focus on work with the homeless, traveller communities or areas of deprivation. We also have good connections with local schools and care homes to offer students a chance to experience a place which may play a significant part of parish ministry. Students complete these placements in a single block during college vacations or on a weekly basis during term time. The afternoons of both Thursday and Friday are mostly clear of classes to enable this as a possibility.
All placements are selected by students following a discussion with the Placements Co-ordinator to ensure that a good balance of experience is possible for each student.