The Foundation Training for Pastoral Assistants is a two part course:
Part One is a basic foundation training, comprising four units, each of four/five two hour sessions, plus a residential weekend. This runs from January through to June. Students attend either the Monday evening course or the Friday morning course.
Part One aims to encourage participants:
- To explore who they are.
- To understand what it is to be a Christian in the modern world.
- To understand human development.
- To be aware of where others are.
- To learn to listen.
- To understand faith development.
- To discover their own gifts and interests.
- To explore what it is to be a Pastoral Assistant as an individual and in the parish.
- To have an awareness of local and diocesan resources to support their ministry.
The basic model will be the journey through life, from cradle to grave, marked by stages of human development. Each one of us is on our own particular journey, with its own unique experience; our journeys intersect at different points and Pastoral Assistants often minister at those crossroads.
Participants will work in facilitated tutor groups, learning together, sharing experiences and practising skills.
Handouts and further reading will be provided to assist the learning process.
Part Two takes place in the Autumn term, starting in September and comprises a selection of one or two all-day workshops on Saturdays. These are focused on specific areas of ministry, e.g. Bereavement Students choose which workshops to attend, the minimum requirement is to complete one workshop.
View an overview of the programme.
Students who satisfactorily complete the requirements of both 'Part One' and 'Part Two' of the course will be recommended to be authorised as Pastoral Assistants. Authorisation will take place at a designated service in November, in the presence of the Bishop. This should be followed by a commissioning in the parish.
It is most important that the time and effort put into training is recognised and that Pastoral Assistants are used (but not overworked) in their parishes.
There should be regular support available and each Pastoral Assistant should have the opportunity to meet individually with their incumbent from time to time, and have an annual formal appraisal.
The role description drawn up at the end of training must be reviewed and revised or renewed every five years. In the event of a change of incumbent, the role description should be renewed within six months of the new incumbent's arrival in the post.
The PCC should be willing to fund further short training courses, where appropriate. Pastoral Assistants should be kept well informed of training opportunities which may be appropriate. This may include opportunities offered by the Discipleship, Vocation and Ministry Team, other Diocesan Departments or external courses.
An Annual Training Day for Pastoral Assistants is organised by the CMD Tutor for Authorised Pastoral Assistants, who can also advise on continued training opportunities.
The Administrative Secretary is responsible for managing all the paperwork connected with the application and selection process, for keeping Pastoral Assistant records up to date, co-ordinating mailings to Pastoral Assistants and assisting in the organisation of the Annual Training Day.