Mixed Mode training in the Scottish Episcopal Institute is a model that involves a person training for ministry ‘on the job’ to a greater extent than before. The student does their ordination training with a 3-year placement to be conducted alongside their academic and formational programmes.
The person is NOT ordained (elsewhere, they have been called ‘priests-in-training’, ‘lay curates’ or ‘student ministers’) but they are expected to serve for 20-25 hours every week in the placement church(es). After three years, the student would normally (but not always) go to a different church to serve their curacy.
A significant focus of the student’s work will be mission. Alongside learning and experiencing some of the normal stuff of ministry, they would be expected to work with the congregation(s) to branch out into mission, to take risks, and to work with formation and discipleship.
They will also attend all the residential weekends and midweek classes of the Scottish Episcopal Institute for their on-going academic training, graduating with a Durham University degree in theology, mission and ministry at the end of the programme.
A student will normally stay in one placement for the duration of their initial training and formation period of 3 years. This continuity gives students the opportunity to learn to work through difficulties, to demonstrate perseverance and reliability over a longer period of time, and to build resilience. A single ongoing placement also removes the need for students to continually adapt to a succession of placement contexts. Short, time-limited alternative placements may be required in order to broaden the student’s learning and to enable them to fulfil the requirements of the programme.
Rationale and ethos
The rationale/ethos of the new programme of Mixed Mode Training for ministry is based on a number of factors.
- It relies on an ongoing and iterative process of learning and formation, based on the interplay of placement experience, private study, and classroom learning and discussion. The integration of theology and practice is achieved as theological insight feeds into and sustains effective practice, and this practice refines, modifies and reinforces theological understanding.
- It gives priority to the local Christian community for mission, formation and discipleship. Therefore the primary learning context for this programme is the placement. Although the classroom, study and library still have their place, the quality of learning and formation relies heavily on the placement.
- The aim is to provide a substantial opportunity for the development of ministry skills and the development of character and resilience, as well as the capacity for rigorous and informed theological reflection thereon.
- This programme assumes a missional priority. It is about more than a different approach to training. It is about equipping students to be leaders of their congregations or communities in mission.
A means-tested maintenance grant of £13,500 will be paid to the student each year in 12 monthly instalments (there will be a small % increase each year). The placement and/or diocese will provide suitable rent-free housing (or a housing allowance) for the student. The normal running costs for housing (utility bills, etc) will be paid by the student. Full-time students are exempt from the payment of council tax.