Contextual Theology Placements
Alongside a regular weekly parish attachment over two years, all ordinands undertake one long Contextual Theology Placement of 8 – 10 weeks, usually taking a full term or during the summer vacation. We believe there is a qualitative difference between the standard 4 week placement and one twice as long. The longer placement enables students to become thoroughly immersed in the life of a parish and the practice of ministry, and is long enough to move beyond being a "visitor". The duration also means that students often learn about themselves in ways that they have not done before.
Many students undertake a Contextual Theology placement in Manchester. This provides a great chance to experience the joys and challenges of parish life in a city of rich and wonderful variety that for over 300 years has been an epicentre for social, ecclesial and economic revolution. Living as part of a small community with other Westcott students, ordinands experience 10 weeks of hands on work in a parish with high quality supervision and the opportunity for plenty of theological reflection.
Ordinands are placed in parishes that might be pioneering new approaches to urban mission, developing engagement in multicultural contexts including interfaith dialogue, or involved in innovative social justice ministries.
They will engage with a number of challenging issues for the Church, including the dilemmas of large, elderly church buildings, how to minister to fast changing parishes combining the very poorest and some of richest populations in the country, how to promote collaboration and lay leadership in a sustainable way or how to reach the unchurched and de-churched proclaiming the Gospel to a new cultural situation.
Cambridge-based Contextual Theology Placements
For those students who do not go to Manchester we organise term-long parish placements in and around Cambridge. Ordinands continue to live in college and be part of the residential community at Westcott but effectively work "out" in a parish for a term. This could take place in semi-rural placements in a variety of settings, urban parish experience of small team ministry, rural experience of multi-parish large team ministry, a UPA parish experience engaging with issues of social exclusion in pastoral ministry or a cathedral.
Healthcare Specialist Placements
Through our flagship MA programme in Pastoral Theology we are able to place students, by agreement with the Director of Pastoral Studies, on the MA Healthcare Placements in Acute Medical and Mental Health Chaplaincy Work for one semester. This course is a balance of work on the wards as part of a large chaplaincy team and a commitment to group-based reflective practice. Completion of this course at MA level offers a recognition of fitness to practice in a hospital chaplaincy setting.