Formation: Through the three years of Initial Ministerial Education (IME1) training people are formed as:
- Missional leaders. Students training with SEI will be taking up positions of leadership in a missional context, serving the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) in their task of fulfilling the missio Dei in the twenty-first century. Thus they need to be equipped to be entrepreneurial leaders, alert to opportunities for spreading the good news of Christ to the communities in which their congregations are set, willing to try out new ways of worshipping and connecting with people, and able to use the riches of the tradition creatively and contemporaneously. They must learn to be ‘hinge leaders’, respectful of the heritage of the SEC while responding creatively and missionally to the needs of a changing world.
- People of prayer. Ministering in today’s world requires people who are robustly grounded in Christ, able to withstand the grinding disappointments of apathy and atheism, but also be attuned and alert to signals of interest from searching spiritual seekers. People whose primary identity is in Christ, and who are non-anxious presences in a world of competing identities. People who are at ease with themselves because they know Whose they are. This requires that the practice of prayer – corporate, private, contemplative, liturgical – is at the heart of the community’s life; hours upon hours of it. By such means students surrender themselves wholly to the divine, growing into their vocation by allowing themselves to be remoulded by God in extraordinary (and even unwelcome) ways.
- Collaborative workers. People who can identify the gifts of others and encourage and equip their flourishing. This requires training in team-working, and in the hard work of learning to work together in groups. Attention is paid to what being-in-communion means, both when face-to-face and when online; to real, as to virtual, presence.
- Reflective practitioners. People who can interpret the messiness of the world through the lens of Christian faith, integrating theology and experience in a dynamic reflective practice, and develop a type of knowing which is practical, hermeneutical and value-based. This requires long hours of steeping in the tradition as well as in the contingencies of Field Education. Just as students learn to read and critique the texts of the tradition so too do they learn to exegete context, circumstance and congregation; to be reflective practitioners in the whole of life, thus enabling others to see where God is at work in their lives.
- Pastors. People who can ‘be with’ people caringly, intelligently and responsively in a world of great injustice and marginalisation, but without collusion or self-indulgence. This requires attention being paid to pastoral and socio-economic studies, to understandings of power, boundaries and self-care, and to human psychology.
- Disciples of character. Women and men who are faithfully obedient to the way of Christ, and who express and teach the love of God through the quality of their lives. This requires attention being paid in the course of studies to the unfashionable concepts of sacrifice and self-surrender, to spiritual accompaniment, self-reflection, external appraisal and review, as well as to those struggles with authority which arise in any adult learning setting.
- Episcopalians/Anglicans People who are deeply aware of the singular provincial context in which they are set but are formed also as part of a global Communion. This requires attention to be paid to historical, liturgical, doctrinal and missional trajectories and sensibilities.
- Lifelong learners. People who continue to seek understanding of their faith and delight in that quest; who can identify and monitor their own learning needs in relation to ministry and know where to go for help. This requires attention to be paid to styles of learning and personality, and to the identification of appropriate theological resources both for the practice of ministry and to enable others to deepen their discipleship.
IME1 offers an education in theology, ministry and mission that meshes development of character, nurturing of virtues and growth in spirituality with the acquisition of knowledge/understanding and the development of cognitive and practical skills. The learning and teaching that is offered forms students in an interdisciplinary way, is oriented towards the ministry and mission for which they are being prepared and enables them to develop as lifelong reflective learners. Within the gathered community and through Field Education, students grow in liturgical, pastoral and homiletical competence, as well as in character, wisdom, knowledge and values. All these strands are woven into a seamless whole.
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