Briefing: Resourcing Ministerial Formation

July 1, 2022

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The work reported here reviews the structure and funding arrangements for initial ministerial formation in order to strengthen the theological education of the whole people of God. It aims to overcome weaknesses identified in the current financial arrangements, while preserving flexibility and financial accountability.

The Ministry Council established the Resourcing Ministerial Formation (RMF) Review in 2019 to review the funding arrangements introduced in 2017 as part of the Resourcing Ministerial Education (RME) review. The purpose of theological education is to equip the whole people of God. The review of the funding of theological education seeks to provide a framework to enable the highest quality education for the church's ministers. The Quality and Formation Panel and the House of Bishops have responsibility for the quality and formation of ordinands, and a new funding system for theological education has been proposed, shaped by the following principles: (1) providing sufficient funding for the training of ordinands (2) promoting sustainability (3). The plan was to continue to fund ordinands in training and operate a national funding system, while preserving flexibility for dioceses. e) establish a system with multi-year block grants for TEIs; f) return to direct disbursement of money to TEIs from the national system. The church will establish a service level agreement with each TEI, a fund to support initiatives and creative innovations, a new ordinand maintenance system, and a diversity fund to help ministers meet the needs of the church. The Ministry Council is reviewing the relationship between the Theological Education Institutions (TEIs), the national church and dioceses. It is developing detailed proposals in four areas: the overall funding model, b) ordinand maintenance, c) a Service Level Agreement for each TEI, and d) expanding use of the funding to include lay ministry.

The funding working group is trying to give TEIs greater predictability in their funding by combining a predictable block grant with a marginal adjustment.

To ensure that dioceses do not accumulate unspent balances of vote 1 money, and that underused allowances are retained centrally to enable other initiatives to flourish.

We have excellent data on entries to TEIs and diocesan decisions on modes of training for ordinands, and we are stress-testing any proposed model to ensure it would remain appropriate were the number and profile of candidates to change.

A group is working on a system of maintenance for ordinands that would be simple, transparent and fair. It would include a standard grant for living costs, except housing, and would take into account the costs of eating in community.

This group is working to shape a Service Level Agreement between TEIs and the Archbishops' Council. The SLA would affirm the value placed by the church on the work of TEIs and set clear expectations of that work.

The group is clear that the goal must be to improve and expand lay ministry training, and that the funding must be responsive to diocesan needs. It is likely that the group will recommend extending the existing system of funding for ordinands with disabilities to licensed lay ministry candidates.

The Ministry Council is proposing to create a new system for theological education that will promote adaptive, collaborative and sustainable provision of theological education.