Recommendations for Training
This section applies equally to candidates for the priesthood and the diaconate, and for all categories of sponsorship.
The qualities looked for in those who feel called to the Church's ministry are summarised in the Ministry Division's 9 criteria for selection: Vocation, Ministry within the Church of England, Spirituality, Personality and Character, Relationships, Leadership and Collaboration, Faith, Mission and Evangelism and Quality of Mind. In addition, the qualities looked for in those who feel called to the Church's ministry are evidence of the reality of faith in God, and a dependence on the Holy Spirit; signs of stability and a disciplined life, a selfless regard for the welfare of a wide variety of people, an open and imaginative mind, and a capacity for a life of demanding work.
Candidates should be commended by the Incumbent, in the first place, to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands. Before being accepted for training, they are required under the regulations approved by the Bishops:
- to have the necessary educational qualifications, or show that they have the potential to benefit from a formal course of training
- to be sponsored by their Bishop for attendance at a Bishop's Advisory Panel (BAP)
- to satisfy the medical and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) requirements
- to understand and accept the Bishops' guidelines on Issues in Human Sexuality
In addition to the above, an Ordained Local Minister (OLM) candidate will:
- be known by the local congregation and be regarded as a spiritual leader and person with resources and gifts
- know the local community and have links with people and organisations beyond the Church
- be stable in residence and likely to have time to develop a network of strong links with the congregation and within the neighbourhood
- be good at working alongside others in the roles of leader, enabler and participator
- have the potential to be theologically competent to present an intelligent apologetic and to represent the Church
- be in good health
There is no automatic age bar to ordination, though candidates for stipendiary ministry would normally be under 50, those for self-supporting ministry between 30 and 60, and those for ordained local ministry over 45.
Candidates are required to have the following qualifications:
- If under 25 years of age, five passes in academic subjects in GCSE, one of which must be English Language, and two at A level, or equivalent qualifications. (Very little credit is usually given for half-finished professional qualifications; candidates should normally complete these before going forward)
- If aged 25 or over, the academic standard is not laid down in terms of GCSE or in any other absolute form, but individuals are considered and assessed in accordance with their existing qualifications and the type of training which they should do if accepted as candidates
Categories of Sponsorship
There are three categories of sponsorship:
- Ordained ministry - priest
- Ordained ministry - deacon (distinctive)
- Accredited Lay ministry
Further details will be required to address three specific questions about the envisaged focus of ministry for the candidate:
- Is it anticipated that, at some future date, the candidate could be in a post of incumbent status or equivalent?
- How is it envisaged that this candidate will be deployed? (e.g. as OLM)
- Is it envisaged that there will be a particular focus of the candidate's ministry which needs to be borne in mind by the Bishop's Advisers? (e.g. Pioneer Ministry)
For those hoping to be Pioneer Ministers, there is an additional selection process and greater attention is given to criteria which demonstrate that the ordinand has the qualities and gifts required to sustain pioneer ministry.
Candidates need to be familiar with the House of Bishops' statement 'Issues in Human Sexuality' which embodies the criteria the House wishes to apply to clergy. This makes clear that all Christians are called to chastity and fidelity and to respect the will of the Church on matters of sexual morality.
The Remarriage of Divorcees
In the case of candidates who are remarried or married to a spouse who has previously been married, a Faculty under Canon C4 is required before a candidate may be recommended for training.
A Bishop intending to sponsor a transgendered person for selection will certify that he has decided that s/he would be prepared to ordain and offer a Title to that person if, during the course of training and formation s/he were deemed to have a vocation to ordained or accredited lay ministry.