Diaconal and priestly ministry in our changing world requires imagination, creativity and a deep trust in God. We help ordinands grow in their relationship with God, and assist them in developing a combination of resilience and openness to enable them to follow His call for the rest of their lives. In the face of the demands of ministry, we help ordinands understand the importance of self awareness, personal boundaries and essential care of themselves and their families.
Church of England Ordinands
Exploring a vocation to be a priest will usually begin with a conversation with your own parish priest. He or she may refer you to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands (DDO) or a Vocations Advisor. The process of discernment may take some time, and may involve a conversation with your sponsoring Bishop. Once your DDO has indicated that you will be attending a Bishops' Advisory Panel in the course of the year, you are welcome to come to Westcott for an Open Day or Visit. You are welcome to come before the Panel date has been booked by the DDO.
For many ordinands one of the most challenging aspects of formation is moving from being a "personal" Christian, whose faith is known by those closest to them, to being a "public" Christian with a role, recognition and responsibility to a community and beyond. We pay particular attention to this shift of identity - indeed, of being. We help ordinands develop the skills required by this shift, such as in collaborative working and leadership, as well as the combination of confidence and humility essential to public ministry.
Growing in Holiness, Wisdom and Compassion
We understand the process of ministerial formation to have three main dimensions, which we sum up as holiness, wisdom and compassion.
Worship and prayer are at the centre of our life, and of the process of formation. The eucharist and the rhythm of daily morning and evening prayer hold and shape us as we seek to grow in trust in God, in engagement with God's mission, and in awareness of others and of ourselves.
All students deepen their capacity for theological thinking and understanding by undertaking a Cambridge University (Cambridge Awards) or Durham University (Common Awards) course, and by extensive contextual learning based in parish and other pastoral contexts.
We help students develop a range of pastoral and practical ministerial skills, including congregational and community leadership. We help them develop the confidence to take up public ministry and the resilience, resourcefulness and flexibility to sustain it.
Each student has a personal tutor and is a member of a tutor group which meets every week. This relationship is key to the integration of the experience of worship and prayer, academic study, contextual learning and community life. The process of ministerial formation is further integrated through the core course that all students undertake throughout their training. The "Life and Service" course focuses on Anglican ministry and mission, priestly formation and ministerial practice.
The recent and current ministry experience of staff and students provides an experiential resource for ministerial formation. All students are encouraged to engage with the current and anticipated opportunities and practice of mission and ministry.