FROM September, priests and Readers will be trained in Portsmouth for the first time after the diocese set up a joint venture with Ripon College, Cuddesdon.
The scheme, the Portsmouth Pathway, creates a new training centre in St Luke’s, Portsmouth, which can cater for up to 15 ordinands and 20 prospective Readers. The course, which is non-residential, will be delivered entirely within Portsmouth, and most of the classes will be in the evenings or at weekends to allow those working full-time to attend.
The college has hired the director of mission engagement for Us. (formerly USPG), Dr James Grenfell, as the first director of the Portsmouth Pathway.
The Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Revd Christopher Foster, said that the training scheme would allow the students to serve at inner-city parishes while they studied. “It will be both academically rigorous and very practical. I’m excited about the fact that we’ll be offering this training within Portsmouth, which allows us to root the training in the culture and context of our diocese.”
Prospective priests or Readers from the diocese would previously have to attend a residential training college, or attend the part-time Southern Theological Education and Training Scheme, based in Salisbury. Students at the new Portsmouth Pathway will obtain either certificates or diplomas in theology.
The Principal of Ripon College, the Rt Revd Humphrey Southern, said that the Portsmouth Pathway was fortunate to have appointed Dr Grenfell as director: “He brings rich experience as a teacher, trainer, and parish priest.”
Dr Grenfell trained for ordination at Westcott House, Cambridge, and served as a parish priest in the diocese of Sheffield for ten years before taking up his current post with Us.