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Ministry Training as Formation

This project examined the relationship between formation for ministry and the practices of ministry within the South West of England. The complex process by which ministers are formed for their service both precedes and extends beyond their time in formal educational settings. Through attending to the stories of those who are at various stages in their formational journey, and by consulting with the ecclesiastical figures and theological educators who are involved in developing formation curricula, the project aimed to better understand the processes by which ministers are prepared for their vocations, and to identify areas in which these processes may be improved. In so doing, it drew upon the social scientific study of religious beliefs and practices, together with with critical theological reflection upon how these beliefs and practices might better serve the work of the Church.

The project also led to open and productive partnerships between the University of Exeter’s Department of Theology and the various Church bodies in the region who hold a vested interest in ministry formation, which enabled the development of theologies of ministry and practices of ministry formation that help to invigorate the Christian Church’s commitment to service in a changing cultural and societal context.

This was a collaborative research project involving Dr Michael DeLashmutt, Dr Mike Higton and Dr Christopher Southgate.