THE College of Bishops and the Primus told the Synod last year
that the findings of the Quality in Formation Panel (QFP)
inspectors on the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal
Church (TISEC) in 2013 must be taken seriously and acted on.
TISEC is a constituent part of the General Synod, with limited
resources. In this first ever objective inspection, it was judged
fit for purpose, but with no confidence in the two critical areas
of formation and governance. Significant change was called for by
September 2014. Speakers last year emphasised that this should be
"no rearranging of deckchairs on the Titanic".
The Synod met in its groups to discuss the TISEC review that was
undertaken after the inspection, and which has led to the evolution
of TISEC into the Scottish Episcopal Institute (SEI). The
Bishop of Argyll & The Isles and convener of the SEI
implementation working group, the Rt Revd Kevin Pearson, said that
TISEC had come of age.
This was "a Holy Spirit moment", he said. The 35 committees that
reported to TISEC have been replaced by a single Ministry Council,
with the same status as other SEC boards, responsible for strategic
vision, provincial training-programmes, and standards and
accountability for all resources, including finances and staff.
Its recommended board will comprise two bishops, a senior cleric
with experience of formation, an educationist, a C of E or
ecumenical representative, a finance expert, someone with
experience in strategic development and implementation, a lay
person with significant experience of the SEC, and a student.
The Synod gave enthusiastic affirmation of the work of the
former Principal, Dr Michael Fuller, and welcomed his successor, Dr
Anne Tomlinson, currently the ministry development officer in the
Glasgow & Galloway diocese.
The TISEC working-party report identified systemic weaknesses in
the current dispersed structure. Formation in a changing Church was
recognised as a key concern, and it recommended that TISEC should
be consciously shaped around "formation" rather than education: a
structure designed to prepare those who will serve in authorised
ministries spiritually and intellectually, but also in terms of the
shaping of character and temperament and professional skills.