The Director of IME
In the Church of England, Initial Ministerial Education (IME) takes place over a period of up to seven years and is divided into two parts:
IME Phase 1 is the period of up to three years when ordinands are trained at their theological college or course (context-based or part-time). There is a mixture of academic learning and practical placements.
IME Phase 2 is the period of curacy. Newly-ordained ministers (both deacons and priests) serve a ‘title’ as a curate for a period of up to four years. A curacy is a training post and there are several strands to this training.
The Parish Context
After ordination as deacon all curates, Stipendiary and SSM, work in a parish with an experienced cleric, who acts as their colleague, mentor and role model. The vast majority of a curate’s training is done in this parish context where experience is gained and good practice is learned. Most deacons are ordained priest after one year and continue in their curacy for a further three years.
To find out more about being a training incumbent click here.
Ministry and Practical Theology
This is the part of training in which curates reflect theologically on the work they are doing in the parish. The course is validated by the University of Cumbria and curates can work towards one of a range of qualifications up to Master’s level.
There are weekend conferences twice a year in the spring and autumn, one of which is run jointly with Carlisle diocese. Each conference marks a change of the theme for reflective work. The themes are: Mission and Evangelism; Vocation and Ministry; Leadership and Collaboration; Spirituality and Ministry; Ministry and the Institution; and Personality, Character and Relationships. Dates for these conferences are below.
Each curate is a member of a local group (two groups in the first six months of their deacon’s year) where parish experiences are discussed and reflected upon.
These reflections are presented in a portfolio which is the means by which the course is assessed. Stipendiary Curates produce two portfolios per year in the first three years of their curacy, Self-Supporting Minsters are only required to produce one portfolio per annum but some choose to produce two in order to gain a university award.
At the end of their third year of curacy they complete the Church of England’s End of Curacy Assessment. Once they have been signed off by the Diocesan Bishop their initial training is complete and they are eligible to be licensed to minister in Blackburn diocese or anywhere else in the Church of England.
Forthcoming IME Residential Conferences:
Leadership, Collaboration and Relationships in Ministry Waddow Hall, Clitheroe (10-12 March)
Spirituality and Ministry Rydal Hall, Ambleside, (13-15 October)
Ministry and the Institution Waddow Hall, Clitheroe, (2-4 March)