Locally-Trained Priests: Getting Started

 Definition of terms:

1.1 Inquirer:
A person who is considering that he/she may be called to ordained ministry, wants to learn more about the discernment process, and wants to explore the willingness of the Parish/Congregation to support that process.

1.2 Candidate:
A person who can articulate a sense of call, has met with the Parish/Congregation leaders, the Bishop and has the permission and support of both the Bishop and the Parish/Congregation to formally enter the discernment and training process of the programme.

1.3 Postulant:
A person who has completed, or nearly completed, the discernment and training process, has met with the Examining Chaplains, attended the Diocesan Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO), met with the Bishop and has permission from the Bishop to proceed at some future date to ordination.

1.4 Ordinand:
A person who has been through the programme, whom the Bishop has decided to ordain and who has written a covenant with his/her Parish/Congregation.

1.5 Locally Trained Priest:
A person who is ordained or received by the Diocese of Kootenay, whose discernment and training are recognized by the Commission on Locally Trained Priesthood and affirmed by the Bishop.

1.6 Presbyter:
A presbyter is a priest.

1.7 Commission:
The Commission on Locally Trained Priesthood (hereinafter: Commission) advises the Bishop on the suitability of candidates for Locally Trained Priesthood in the Diocese of Kootenay.

1.8 Incumbent:
An incumbent is a priest appointed by the Bishop to be responsible for a parish. A team ministry arrangement may include a missioner, who may carry out duties assigned to the incumbent.

Locally-Trained Priests: Preliminary Requirements

2. The inquirer needs to be a person who:

  • is baptised and a communicant member of the Anglican church

  • is an active member of the worshipping community for a minimum of two years

  • has a deepening understanding of the presbyterate and of priestly ministry

  • has a significant level of maturity

  • demonstrates some ability to care for people, both individuals and in groups

  • has high moral standards

  • has the support of his/her spouse, fiance(e) or partner, if applicable

  • has a good reputation in the community and in the Parish

  • has the recommendation of her/his parish

  • can demonstrate a mature spirituality and disciplined prayer life

  • has a personal support system in place or a commitment to form one

  • is committed to the discernment process and has the time and resources necessary for the education requirement

  • will have the time and resources necessary to carry out priestly ministry

  • is committed to, and has the capacity for, the training and education involved in the process

  • can articulate a sense of call

  • is willing to have a criminal record check done

Locally-Trained Priests: Expectations

 3.1 At the heart of the priesthood is a Christian person whose ministry is within a worshipping community proclaiming the Gospel, presiding over the sacraments, teaching, and modelling the Christian life. The priest’s presence symbolizes Christ in the care of the souls in the community. Priests remind the Church that it is Christ the Great High Priest who intercedes, forgives, and blesses. Priests signify to the Church that authentic participation in God’s redemptive mission will always be dependent on Christ’s power rather than our own.

3.2 After training, education and formation, and prior to ordination to the priesthood in the Diocese of Kootenay the candidate will be expected to:

3.2.1 Have completed all the courses listed herein and all the steps in the discernment process.

3.2.2 Manifest a personal spirituality which demonstrates an integration of body, mind, and spirit working towards wholeness. This spiritual maturity is not only demonstrated in regular participation in the liturgical life of the community, but also in an explicit commitment to spiritual growth, and a disciplined life of prayer. Clergy are encouraged to receive spiritual direction, if possible.

3.2.3 Have a commitment to develop a Discernment group which reports regularly to the Bishop and the Commission. (See Appendix A)

3.2.4 Have a healthy attitude towards his/her own personal and spiritual care, as well as a commitment to forming a support group, which meets regularly with the candidate for prayer, reflection and discussion of ministry, and self care. The support group will serve for one year after ordination. (See Appendix B)

3.2.5 It is possible that, depending on the size of the parish, these groups will need to be combined. (See Appendix C)

3.2.6 Have an ability to reflect critically and creatively on his/her spiritual, theological and behavioural assumptions, as well as her/his own ministry practice.

3.2.7 Be able to demonstrate competence in the Scriptures and church history. In order to demonstrate that competence, the candidate must have:

  • a basic knowledge of the content of the Scriptures including the Apocrypha.

  • the ability to set Scriptural texts in their historical context.

  • a familiarity with resources for scriptural exegesis.

  • a basic familiarity with the development of the Christian church in the West in general, and the Anglican Communion in particular.

  • a familiarity with the history and development of the Anglican Church in Canada

3.2.8 Be able to demonstrate a knowledge of Christian theology especially as it relates to baptismal and priestly ministry, this will require:

  • a basic knowledge of the primary themes of Christian theology, i.e., the Trinity, the person and work of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, Christian hope, and the mission and ministry of the church.

  • an ability to clearly articulate a personal confession of faith.

  • an ability to interpret the baptismal covenant.

  • an ability to articulate a theology of the priesthood in relation to the ministry of all the baptized, and to the ministry of the ordained.

3.2.9 Be able to demonstrate a competence in the area of ethical decision making. This will require:

  • a familiarity with theological processes of ethical decision making.

  • an ability to relate the processes of ethical decision-making to ethical questions in the

  • family, congregation, workplace, community, and society at large.

 

3.2.10 Be able to demonstrate competence in Christian worship with a special focus on the priest in the liturgy. This will require:

  • a familiarity with the structures and general history of Christian worship.

  • an understanding of and ability to exercise priestly liturgical roles

  • an ability and commitment to involve and equip others in appropriate liturgical roles

  • an ability to plan and lead services within the worship tradition of the Anglican Church of Canada

 

3.2.11 Be able to demonstrate competence and potential in the following areas:

  • of leadership and administration, small group work and congregational development relevant to the exercise of her/his priestly ministry

  • of empowering and equipping others.

  • of stewardship

  • be familiar with the educational skills required for the fields pertaining to her/his chosen ministry

  • be familiar with the resources available which would assist the Priest in carrying out his/her chosen area of ministry.

  • of pastoral care

  • of evangelism and mission

  • have the potential and skill in guiding and shaping the life of the church community and God’s mission in the world

  • have an ability to exercise the skills requisite to a priestly ministry.

  • understand the importance of collegial relationships.

  • be familiar with the canons and policies of the Diocese of Kootenay. 

    Locally-Trained Priests: Discernment Process

    (Note: This process may need to be adjusted according to individual Parish needs. The Bishop and the Commission will help the Parish/Congregation make that determination.)

    4.1.1 When a person is considering becoming a candidate, he or she will inform both the Incumbent and the Wardens. The Church Committee (Parish Council) will be informed of the request. If the Committee supports the application and wishes the process to continue, then the Committee agrees to support the individual in the following ways:

    4.1.2 The Inquirer discusses interest in the priesthood with Incumbent.

    4.1.3 The Inquirer meets with the Bishop, if the Incumbent is supportive.

    4.1.4 Bishop calls the Commission who will send an application form to the Inquirer. The Commission will also send a set of questions and guidelines for the formation of either two separate groups or one discernment/support group for the Inquirer, to the Incumbent. (See Appendix A, B, and/or C)

    4.1.5 Upon return of application, the Commission arranges to interview the Inquirer.

    4.1.6 The Commission will arrange for a psychological assessment of the Inquirer.

    4.1.7 The Commission writes a report for Bishop, making a recommendation on whether or not inquirer ought to enter the programme as a candidate.

    4.1.8 The Incumbent and wardens meet with the Church Committee to obtain a commitment to form a discernment/support group for candidate and a commitment to lead the Parish /Congregation through a training process on the role and function of a priest.

    4.1.9 The Incumbent and wardens will meet with the Candidate to clarify expectations of programme, including formation of a discernment/support group(s) as well as financial commitment of Parish/Congregation to candidate’s discernment and training process. Required financial support includes: 50% of required course fees, (not including books), 50% ccommodation if billets are not available, and 100% of fuel for travel, for candidates’ attendance at all required courses and interviews.

    4.1.10 Candidate may begin the education segment of the programme at any point in this initial process.

    4.1.11 Commission holds an education event in the Parish on the priesthood and priestly ministries, including meeting with discernment/support group(s) to help clarify standards for working together.

    4.1.12 The Parish discernment group meets regularly to:

    • understand its task and evaluate the group’s own readiness

    • evaluate readiness of Parish to receive a non-stipendiary priest.

    • assess that the candidate is appropriate to be a priest in the Parish

    • determine how best to support the candidate

    4.1.13 Parish discernment group, after consulting with the support group, will send a written recommendation to Commission as to suitability of Candidate, and readiness of Parish/Congregation to have a non-stipendiary priest. The process will end at this point, if the Candidate is deemed to be unsuitable or the Parish/Congregation is deemed to be unready.

    4.1.14 Commission reviews candidate’s completed application form and Parish/Congregation’s recommendation then forwards these completed forms, together with their own recommendation for Candidate’s continuing educational needs, to the Bishop.

    4.1.15 If all recommendations are positive and Bishop is willing, the Candidate may formally enter the training programme.

    4.1.16 Commission sends letter to the Bishop reporting on the Candidate’s progress through programme with evaluative comments.

    4.1.17 Generally, after one year the Candidate, upon the recommendation of the Bishop, is interviewed by the Examining Chaplains. This interview will primarily assess the candidate’s understanding of Priestly ministry and recommends or not, attendance at an Advisory Committtee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) event.

    4.1.18 If the above recommendation is positive, the candidate attends ACPO.

    4.1.19 If ACPO says no, and the Bishop wishes to move forward with the ordination process for the candidate, the Bishop will write a letter to the Commission and the Examining Chaplains stating reasons for allowing candidate to move forward with the process.

    4.1.20 After attending ACPO and upon the decision of the Bishop, the Candidate becomes a postulant and may meet with the Examining Chaplains for a further interview.

    4.1.21 The Postulant continues training and formation events.

    4.1.22 The Commission writes final recommendation to Bishop regarding Postulant’s readiness for ordination to the priesthood.

    4.1.23 The Postulant meets with the Bishop.

    4.1.24 If the Bishop decides to ordain the Postulant, she/he will become an ordinand. The Parish/Congregation will write a covenant with the Ordinand setting out nature and scope of the work of the new Priest in that Parish/Congregation. (See Appendix E for a sample Covenant)

    4.2 Note: If this discernment process is stopped at any point because the Candidate is deemed unsuitable, there is a process in place to provide pastoral care for the Candidate and the Parish. (See Appendix B)

    4.3 It is important to remember throughout the process that there is no guarantee of eventual ordination. The final decision rests with the Bishop.

    Locally-Trained Priests: Training Process

     5.1 A candidate seeking ordination as an LTP in the Diocese of Kootenay is expected to have successfully completed, or have covenanted to complete, programmes of theological study acceptable to the Bishop. These may be obtained through:

    5.2 The candidate will also have successfully completed the following list of courses offered through the Kootenay School of Ministry:

    • Foundational Theology

    • Anglican Theology and Identity

    • The Ministry of Evangelism Today

    • Spiritual Formation

    • Liturgy

    • Ethics

    • Parish Administration

    • Congregational Leadership

    • Pastoral Care and Education

    5.3 After completing these required courses, a candidate in Priestly formation will:

    • have comprehensive knowledge of the Holy Scriptures

    • be able to outline the history of the biblical record, and identify the historical, social, and geographic context of the Bible

    • be aware of the process of canonization of scripture, including the reasons for the development of the Canon

    • be familiar with various approaches to scriptural interpretation, and be able to identify and defend his/her approach in the context of his/her tradition

    • be able to identify and use exegetical tools, and be knowledgeable about Biblical scholarship

    • be aware of significant differences in the themes and approaches in the four Gospels, and know how to model the message of the Gospels in his/her priestly and liturgical ministries.

    • be able to articulate basic historical periods of the Christian faith, from its origins through to today.

    • be well grounded in the development of the Anglican tradition and liturgy.

    • have a clear understanding and appreciation of the traditions of other Christian communions and world religions.

    • have an understanding of sacramental theology

    • have an understanding of the development of Trinitarian theology and Christology

      Foundational Theology

      Foundational Theology is an introduction to theological method — with a focus upon critical thinking skills — and the basic touchstone topics of Christian theology: Trinity, Christology, and salvation. The approach will be both historical and systematic, so that participants encounter the main streams of thought in Western Christianity — ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary. Significant attention will be given to the development of the Nicene Creed and its explication at the Council of Chalcedon. This course will be particularly attentive to the relevance of this material for priestly ministry, with assignments oriented toward preaching and pastoral situations.

      Anglican Theology and Identity

      Anglican theology is theology that belongs to the whole church, but has a particular character that is rooted in its historical development. This course, therefore, seeks to elucidate the nature of Anglicanism through investigation of works by Anglican theologians and discussion of Anglican history. We will address the nature of Anglican understandings of the church, orders, and sacraments. Canadian Anglican history (with a focus on British Columbia) will be a significant part of the course, as will the Anglican Covenant and contemporary expressions of Anglicanism worldwide.

      The Ministry of Evangelism Today

      This course aims to provide an understanding of the theology and practice of evangelism that resonates with Anglicanism today. Course content will include: biblical and theological foundations, starting with the mission of God (missio dei) and the content of “the good news;” Jesus as an evangelist; evangelism as process; evangelism as a dimension of healthy parish life; how to talk about God; the place of evangelism in a pluralistic society; and how to help a congregation embrace the ministry of evangelism with confidence, joy and fruitfulness.

      Spiritual Formation

      One course which will outline the formation of a rule of life. The course may include instruction about:

    • praying a daily office;

    • regular involvement in public worship;

    • regular reading of scripture, meditation, and personal prayer;

    • receiving personal spiritual direction on a regular basis.

    • developing a personal stewardship which supports the work of the Church in the local parish, diocese, nation, and internationally

      A candidate needs to demonstrate the ability and willingness to help other persons form and nurture their own spiritual growth, through support and study groups.

      A candidate will learn the history of spiritual formation in the church. He/she will be aware of major figures in spiritual classics through the centuries.

      This course will include a discussion regarding the basic skills necessary to becoming a spiritual director, so that candidates will know what training they may need if this is a ministry to which they feel called. It will also help the candidate balance her/his secular vocation, ministry and family life in a healthy.

      Liturgy

      This course will introduce the candidate to liturgy, and homiletics, with particular attention to the priest’s role. The course will include instruction in how to lead Morning Prayer, Eucharist, Evening Prayer, funerals, taking reserve sacrament to those who are ill and shut-in, Reconciliation, anointing for healing and in preparation for death, both the BAS and BCP services will be included. The course will include both theory and practice. The course will follow the liturgical year, demonstrating the liturgical role of the priest throughout. Primary to this area of instruction is the history, theology, and use of the church’s principal liturgical books and other authorized resources, with particular attention to the priest’s traditional functions in all the liturgies of the Church. Candidates will prepare and deliver a sermon for critique for the course

      Ethics

      This course seeks to cultivate an awareness of contemporary social issues and a desire to wrestle with them. Topics will include: ethical theories, the challenge of change, skills for theological and pastoral reflection on ethical issues, and ways of preparing others to wrestle with moral dilemmas. Experiential group work — using case studies — will enable students to develop practical skills and a deeper awareness of ethical issues.

      Parish Administration

      The purpose of this course is to present an overview of parish administrative life routinely encountered by the parish priest. This course examines the features of an Anglican ecclesiology as it is lived out in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada.

      This course will cover:

    • Diocesan, Provincial and National structures and organization

    • Clergy designations (e.g. Archdeacon, Canon, Regional Dean, Dean) and their appropriate salutational terms

    • Annual Reports for Diocese

    • Synod Office personnel and services

    • Regional organization

    • Parish organization

    • Parish registers and how to use them

    • Knowing how to call and direct an A.G.M.

    • Directing effective parish meetings

    • Effective supervision of volunteers and employees

    • Canonical Role of the priest in chairing meetings

      Congregational Leadership

      This course will focus on the pastoral care of congregations with particular emphasis on leadership of congregations including strategic planning, visioning, systems and change theories, and conflict management. The course will explore group dynamics, supporting volunteers and self care including management of time and stress. It will include a personal assessment of the student’s own conflict style and its strengths and liabilities.

      Pastoral Care and Education

      This course will focus on the pastoral care of individuals and small groups. There will be an opportunity to consider basic educational theories, models for baptism and confirmation preparation, pastoral visiting and pastoral care of the bereaved. Particular areas of interest identified by students may also be incorporated into the course.

      Policy, Standards and Accountability of Locally Trained Priests

      6.1 LTPs are clergy. They are ordained for life and under authority, having taken the vows and made the oaths required by the canons of the Anglican Church of Canada. They function only with a licence or letter of permission from the Bishop and are accountable to the Incumbent of their Parish, or other person designated by the Bishop. They receive the clergy mailings of the Diocese and an invitation to the clergy retreat and clergy conference.

      6.2 LTPs with a Licence from the Bishop shall attend and vote at Synod as members of the order of clergy, according to the process outlined in the Canons. Others with a Letter of Permission to officiate may attend Synod and vote according to the process outlined in the Canons.

      6.3 LTPs are subject to all of the provisions of Canon Law regarding discipline and to all the policies and practices of this Diocese which apply to their order. There will be separate provisions for the term of appointment of an LTP which will be written into the Parish covenant.

      6.4 LTPs will bear the title “The Reverend.”

      6.5 LTPs may wear clerical collars when they are in a role of proclamation or witness. If vesting for the eucharist, the normal liturgical dress will be an alb and stole. If the priest is presiding, a chasuble will be the normal liturgical dress.

      6.6 LTPs will carry out the traditional roles of priest in worship and ministry in ways which uphold and affirm the ministries of all baptized persons.

      6.7 LTPs may be licenced to officiate at weddings, in particular circumstances and with appropriate training.

      6.8 Normally, an LTP will not automatically have his/her Licence or Letter of Permission transferred to another Parish/Congregation or Diocese. LTPs who graduate from Kootenay School of Ministry, may or may not have their training recognized by another Diocese.

      6.9 In the event that an LTP discerns a call to stipendiary priesthood, the process will be determined by the Bishop.

      6.10 LTPs may attend regional, diocesan and national committees as a priest of this Diocese.

      6.11 LTPs are required to maintain a schedule of continuing education, including the clergy retreat and conference. Continuing education will be a requirement for renewal of licences/letters of permission. Parishes are responsible for paying the full registration fee, travel at the diocesan rate, accommodation, and meal expenses for required events.

      6.12 Other expenses that will be the responsibility of the congregation include:

      When traveling within the congregational area where they have a license/letter of permission, they will not normally be reimbursed for travel.

      When an LTP travels to another congregation within their parish, or within their region, but outside their congregation, they will be reimbursed mileage at the diocesan rate by the congregation receiving their service.

      When an LTP takes a service or leads a workshop outside their region, they will receive mileage and an honorarium at the diocesan rate. 

      Locally-Trained Priests: When an Incumbent Ceases to be an Incumbent

       7.1 When the Incumbent under whom an LTP serves ceases to be Incumbent of the Parish, the following policies and procedures apply during the interim period and the selection process of a new Incumbent for the Parish:

      7.2.1 If there is a resident, ordained LTP in the Parish:

      7.2.2 The LTP will not be the interim priest-in-charge of the Parish/congregation.

      7.2.3 As a member of the permanent staff of the parish an LTP will not be a member of the personnel commission for the new incumbent. Information on the ministry of the LTP will be included in the Parish profile.

      7.2.4 The LTP’s particular ministry (if there is one), as well as their usual liturgical role in Sunday worship, will continue during the transition.

      7.2.5 The interim Priest-in-charge ought to seek guidance from the LTP(s), the Bishop and/or the Commission about the role of the LTP(s)

      7.2.6 During the search process the personnel committee will engage in conversations with candidates for the incumbency about the role and function of an LTP and about perceived areas of concern identified by either or both the Parish and the candidates for the incumbency.

      7.2.7 At a suitable opportunity after the Incumbent’s arrival the Incumbent and the LTP(s) will meet to discuss the LTP(‘s) current covenant. The conversation ought to include such topics as the LTP’s role in the parish and any particular ministry the priest carries out; the lines of the LTP(‘s) accountability to the Bishop, the Incumbent, and the Church Committee. The discussion should also include the topics of how the Incumbent and the LTP might work together, agreed upon steps to resolve tension or differences should they arise, the liturgical roles of Presbyter, Deacon and Laity and how they are enacted in that Parish.

      7.2.8 A new Incumbency brings the possibility of change in responsibilities. The LTP’s covenant is therefore to be renegotiated after the first six months of the new Incumbent’s arrival. The Commission is available as a resource for this process.

      7.2.9 LTPs who have been members of the parish for many years know a substantial amount of parish history. LTPs can be a valuable resource who should only impart information when consulted or when failing to do so would cause the new Incumbent grief or embarrassment.

      7.2.10 At all times, the Bishop is responsible for supporting the LTPs and safeguarding the continuity of their ministry/ministries. If an LTP’s covenant with a Parish is not to be renewed, the Bishop will make every effort to resolve the issues around the non-renewal of the covenant.

      7.3 If there is a candidate for LTP in the Parish:

      7.3.1 It is understood that the candidate may continue with the Diocesan education programme and to attend formation events during the search and selection process of a new Incumbent.

      7.3.2 During the search process the personnel committee will engage in conversations with candidates for the incumbency about the role and function of an LTP.

      7.3.3 The LTP candidate may continue with her/his education and formation events but generally may not proceed to the next step of the discernment process until the new Incumbent has been in the Parish for six (6) months.

      7.3.4 The new Incumbent will need to enter into a number of conversations with the Bishop, the Parish and Wardens, the candidate and possibly the Commission, as to her/his understanding of the role and function of an LTP and his/her willingness to support the candidate in the quest for ordination. At a suitable opportunity after the Incumbent’s arrival the Incumbent and the candidate will meet to discuss the candidate’s current status in the LTPs programme and whether or not the new Incumbent is willing for the candidate to proceed in the process to ordination.

      7.4 If someone seeks candidacy as an LTP:

      7.4.1 Potential candidates may make inquiries of the Commission, while the Parish is searching for a new Incumbent.

      7.4.2 They may not apply for candidacy or in any way formally enter the LTP programme until the Incumbent has been in place for six months.

      Locally-Trained Priests: Appendices

      Introduction to Appendices A-C: Discernment and Support Groups

      A1.1 Each Candidate will normally have 2 separate groups of people in their Parish, who will be part of the formation and training process for the Candidate.

      A1.2 The discernment group will be responsible for helping the candidate and the Parish discern whether or not the candidate is indeed called to the LTPhood and whether or not the candidate is the right person for the particular Parish. (See Appendix A for an outline of procedures and responsibilities for a Discernment Group.)

      A1.3 The support group will be responsible for providing a safe, confidential place for the candidate to share experiences and review learning. (See Appendix B for an outline of procedures and responsibilities for a Support Group.)

      A1.4 Where a Congregation is too small for these two groups to function, the Congregation may choose to have a joint group. (See Appendix C for an outline of procedures and responsibilities for a Joint Discernment and Support Group.)

      Appendix A – Guidelines For A Parish/Congregational Discernment Group

      Appendix B – Guidelines For A Parish/Congregation Support Group

      Appendix C – Guidelines For A Single Parish/Congregation Discernment/Support Group

      Appendix D – Recommended Reading

      Appendix E – Locally Trained Priestly Covenants

      Download the LTP Guide

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