Initial Ministerial Education 1

Initial Ministerial Education 1 (IME1) is a ministerial candidate’s first phase of formation. IME1 students engage in networked learning, studying locally by means of distance-learning during the academic year, as well as gathering for an annual orientation week, five residential weekends and a bishop’s reflection group. At SEI, emphasis is laid on formation for ministry, rather than theological education per se, although theological education is a key component of IME1 over the span of three years. Students also undertake context-based field education (placements) under the umbrella of theological-reflection and reflective-practice modules, usually in their own dioceses in a variety of venues, for example local charges and sector ministries. SEI introduced a mixed-mode fulltime training pathway in September 2018, wherein ordinands (for incumbency) are resident in a charge, normally for the three years of IME1, with emphasis on mission.

Within the overarching Diploma of Higher Education formational programme, SEI seeks to offer a pathway which is suited to the particular ministry that diaconal candidates – ‘Distinctive’/’Vocational’ – will exercise*.

  1. by ensuring that such candidates’ annual Placements are geared towards diaconal ministry, in settings which model that two-way church-community dynamic.
  2. by pairing them with a diaconal Diocesan Advisor through the 3 years of formation.
  3. by offering a context-based Mixed Mode option for those candidates with the capacity to devote more time to placement work than is required by the standard DipHE pathway. This option offers 12-16 hours in placement over 2 days each week throughout the year, in conjunction with the completion of 80 credits annually.
  4. by directing diaconal candidates towards Modules which are appropriate to their vocation, selected from a dedicated list of community-facing topics.

    * Two papers outlining some of SEI’s thinking in this area can be found in the SEI Journal, Winter 2020, accessed here:

    – Richard Tiplady ‘The Vocational Diaconate as a Vehicle for Pioneer Ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church’, pp 63-72
    – Anne Tomlinson ‘Formed in the Field: Steps Towards the Provision of Dedicated Diaconal Formation in the Scottish Episcopal Church’ pp 73-86

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