“Habits and practices instilled during the initial years of ministry have a shelf life that impacts one’s pastoral practice for years to come.”
In the Uniting Church in Australia, the third phase of formation is a natural progression from Phase 1 (Period of Discernment) and 2 (Core Phase) of ministry formation. It is part of one whole integrated educational experience.
The fundamental purpose is to give ordained ministers the “best practice” support and training that relates directly to the unique challenges of encountering ministry as an ordained minister for the first time.
The Third Phase of Ministerial Education is intended to be a period of sustained and intentional mentoring and support for newly ordained ministers during the first three years of ministry practice. It is to be a period of increased partnership between the Presbytery, the placement context and the newly ordained minister to assist the minister to make a smooth transition from the Core Phase into active and responsible ministry and to develop lifelong habits of engagement in professional development activities such as professional supervision and continuing education. (Assembly Phase 3 Guidelines)
A vital principle in the design of this phase is the need for Third Phase participants to have more focused support and peer learning opportunities than those in Phase Four.
Accountability lies with Presbytery and the following suggestions for training and support will be carried out by UME staff on behalf of the Presbyteries with a letter of understanding.
Third Phase of Formation will include:
Some possible topics are:
1. Theology of self care
2. Conflict management
4. Dynamics of change
5. Spirituality of compliance (Royal Commission)
Ministers in their Third Phase will be encouraged to join or form a community of practice, providing opportunities for mutual support and regular reflection on ministry practice.
All of the above will be communicated to those leaving college in the final seminar.
The design for this phase of formation will be a small group of educators, including Resource Team members and Dean of Formation Christine Sorensen, who will build on the content and process on what has happened in Phase One and Two.
Duncan Macleod, Sue Kaldor and Christine Sorensen.
13 November 2017