Waiapu Diocesan Theologian

October 7, 2010

Where have I been all this long while?

Filed under: Uncategorized — howardpilgrim @ 2:07 pm

Having made a brave start on this blog a  year ago,  I then went silent until now. So what was going on? Let’s just say that setting up a diocesan theological programme takes lots of behind the scenes diplomacy, and leave it at that.

For some insight, you might like to decipher my recent report to the diocesan Synod  …

Report to the Waiapu Diocesan Synod, September 2010

In June 2009, Bishop David appointed me to the role of Diocesan Theologian with the prime task of preparing the way for a School of Ministry that would provide an integrated education in theology and ministry skills for all those engaged in the mission of the diocese. Funding for the first 10 months of this half-stipended appointment was authorised by the Standing Committee, and the second year’s funding, until March 2011, was approved by Synod in September 2009.

The strategic development of the School of Ministry can be seen in three phases:-

 

Phase One  (June 2009 to July 2010) – Consultation and Planning

Challenges:-

  • Clarifying the existing theology of ministry guiding the diocese to date
  • Defining the missional focus of the diocese
  • Surveying the unmet training needs of clergy and lay ministers
  • Recruiting potential teachers and learners for future participation in theological education
  • Gathering further training resources

Outcomes:-

  • Through the bishop’s Theological Task Force and wider related conversations, we have identified a diocesan theology of ministry in which ordained leadership takes place within the context of the giftedness of all the baptised. This means that both lay and ordained Anglicans share responsibility for our mission in the world, and that both lay and ordained people need ongoing formation in spirituality, theology and ministry skills.
  • The bishop’s clarification of the diocese’s mission, as presented to this year’s clergy conference and since widely disseminated in the regions, now provides the focus for all our planning, including the emerging School of Ministry. The education and training we must provide is focused on the needs of ministry, and that ministry must increasingly serve our call to God’s mission in the world.
  • Through the Survey of Theological Needs and Resources, launched at last year’s synod, and through subsequent conversations with clergy and other license-holders, we established that the emerging School of Ministry must to do several things:-
    1.         Recognise learning and training already provided by  the diocese.
    2.         Relate to, and support, learning given by outside teaching institutions.
    3.         Ensure a basic level of theological competence in all aspects of our mission.
    4.         Encourage habits of lifelong learning and lead on to more advanced study.
    5.         Make good use of existing resources of people and materials.
    6.         Be accessible at local and regional levels.
    7.         Build an enduring learning network of local theological study groups
  • The Survey revealed that more than 20 clergy and lay people within the diocese have the potential to provide high quality theological teaching across a variety of subject areas. Others still are well equipped to act as theological mentors and study-group leaders within a dispersed learning network. Conversations with these people within the framework of  a draft curriculum of theological studies have prepared the way for the next phase of programme development.
  • More than 1600 theological books and journals donated or bought to date provide a useful core for a diocesan theological library housed at the Cathedral. Online links with other libraries will ensure that we have sufficient access to adequate reading resources. Developing relationships with other training schemes within the country and overseas, including the Newcastle School of Theology for Mission, mean that we have no need to reinvent the wheel, while adapting our programme development to meet the distinctive needs and mission of Waiapu.

Phase Two – (August 2010 to March 2011) – Establishing the Vision

Challenges:-

  • Establishing a missional vision in parishes
  • Mobilising parishioners for every-member ministry
  • Recognising natural groupings of parishes for shared mission
  • Establishing study and training networks within missional groups
  • Recognising and encouraging the role of local mentors for theological study

What we are Doing

  • The Bishop and members of the Waiapu Leadership Team are currently working together to preach the diocesan vision of being a missional church.
  • As diocesan theologian, I have launched several workshops, delivered within parish clusters in each region, intended to:-

o   Fill out the vision of a missional church

o   Strengthen local parish missional groupings

o   Identify local opportunities for mission

o   Encourage diverse gifts and ministries

o   Create a network of theological study groups

o   Begin a roll-out of the diocesan theological training programme

  • Together with other diocesan leaders, I will continue to plan the development of an integrated curriculum in theology, ministry skills and spiritual formation based on the diocesan vision.

Phase Three (beyond March 2011) – Ongoing Development

Some Challenges Foreseen

  • Curriculum Development

o   Coordinate development of theological units within the teaching team

o   Develop and test the teaching model

o   Develop and test the student learning assessment model

o   Coordinate delivery of theological and ministry skills streams

  • Study Network development

o   Establish and support local study groups

o   Support theological mentors

o   Liaise with extra-diocesan providers if theological education

  • Resource gathering and availability

o   Catalogue the theological library and establish a lending system

o   Establish a database of available study materials throughout the diocese

o   Planned acquisitions of further materials related to the emerging curriculum

  • Financial provision

o   Foster parish-based financial support of locally-delivered programme

o   Commitment to ongoing diocesan and St John’s College Trust Board funding

 

Howard Pilgrim

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