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Training background of those chosen as bishops

03 October 2014


From the Revd Martin Cox

Sir, - There is a tangential point to be considered alongside the research regarding the education of bishops in the Church of England (News, 5 September). This tangential point relates to the initial formation of bishops for ordained ministry.

Increasingly, the Church of England is supporting ordinands to train for ordained ministry, both stipendiary and self-supporting, through courses as well as through residential training. More than ten years ago, I was privileged to train for ordained ministry via Mixed Mode, which was referred to by the Ministry Division at the time as "standard training delivered in a non-standard manner", referring to the concurrent rather than consecutive model of training.

It had its challenges and weaknesses, as I am sure all approaches to formation have, but these were outweighed in my experience by the strengths.

I look forward to the day when a priest who, under the providence of God, trained for ordained ministry other than through a standard residential-course approach is preferred as a bishop. Some may have been considered, but not preferred. Male - and, in the future, female - priests from such a training background will bring a different richness to the office and ministry of bishop.

When, under the providence of God, such preferments do occur, this will signal, too, to the wider Church that other forms of ministry formation have come of age. This will be a source of great encouragement to the increasing number of priests who trained for ordained ministry, as I did, in a non-standard way.

The Rectory, Rectory Close, Chorley PR7 1QW

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