Ever thought about becoming a minister?

If you’ve ever considered or are considering whether you are suitable for training as a Church of England minister the following guidance will prove useful.

Summary of the Criteria for Selection

Criterion A: Vocation

Candidates should be able to articulate a sense of vocation to the ordained ministry and reflect on the effect of this on their life. They should be able to speak of the development of their inner conviction and the extent to which others have confirmed it. They should be able to show an understanding of what it means to be a deacon or a priest. Their sense of vocation should be obedient, realistic and informed.

Criterion B: Ministry within the Church of England

Candidates should show an understanding of their own tradition within the Church of England, an awareness of the diversity of traditions and practice, and a commitment to learn from and work generously with difference. They should be able to speak of the distinctiveness of ordained ministry within the Church of England and of what it means to exercise public ministry. They should be able to reflect on changes in contemporary society and the implications of this for ministry and the Church.

Criterion C: Spirituality

Candidates should show evidence of a commitment to a spiritual discipline, which involves individual and corporate prayer and worship. They should be committed to a developing pattern of disciplined prayer, Bible study and the regular receiving of Holy Communion. They should be able to show how they discern God’s activity in their life, how their spiritual practice may have changed over time and howit is changing them. They should be able to reflect on how engagement with the world and others both affects, and is affected by, their practice of prayer. Their spiritual practice should be able to sustain and energise them in daily life and future ministry.

Criterion D: Personality and Character

Candidates should be sufficiently self-aware, mature and stable to show that they are able to sustain the demanding role of an ordained minister. They should be able to demonstrate how they have faced change and pressure in a balanced and flexible way and how they manage stress. Candidates should be seen to be people of integrity who can generate trust and display honesty. They should be able to speak of how they have coped with difficult life experiences, how they have reflected upon them and incorporated them within their life and understanding.

Criterion E: Relationships

Candidates should show the capacity to build healthy personal, professional, and pastoral relationships. They should demonstrate an awareness of the need for, and ability to establish and sustain, appropriate boundaries between personal and professional life and within pastoral relationships. They should be able to manage conflict and show an ability to negotiate difficult relationships. Candidates should demonstrate good interpersonal skills, the willingness to learn from experience, and a commitment to building inclusive relationships within diversity. They should show the potential to exercise effective pastoral care. Candidates must be willing to live within the discipline of Issues in Human Sexuality.

Criterion F: Leadership and Collaboration

Candidates should demonstrate an ability to offer leadership in the Church community and in the wider community as appropriate. This ability includes the capacity to offer an example of faith and discipleship which is inspiring to others and witnesses to the servanthood of Christ. They should show a commitment to identifying and nurturing the gifts of others and be able to collaborate effectively. Candidates should be able to identify their own leadership style, and reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of this and of the different ways in which leadership may be exercised within the Church.
They should be able to be flexible and adaptable in leadership and demonstrate ability to guide and shape the life of the Church community in its mission to the world.

Criterion G: Faith

Candidates should show an understanding of the Christian faith and a desire to deepen their understanding. They should demonstrate a personal commitment to Christ and a mature, robust faith which shapes their life and work. Candidates should show an ability to reflect critically on their faith and make connections between faith and contemporary life. They should demonstrate a capacity to communicate their faith engagingly and effectively.
Criterion H: Mission and EvangelismCandidates should demonstrate a personal commitment to mission that is reflected in thought, prayer and action. They should show a wide and inclusive understanding of mission and the strategic issues and opportunities within contemporary culture.Candidates should be able to articulate the good news of the Kingdom appropriately in differing contexts and speak of Jesus Christ in a way that is exciting, accessible, and attractive. They should enable others to develop their vocations as witnesses of the good news. They should show potential as leaders of mission.

Criterion I: Quality of Mind

Candidates should have the necessary intellectual capacity and quality of mind to undertake satisfactorily a course of theological study and ministerial preparation and to cope with the intellectual demands of ministry. They should demonstrate a desire to learn through the integration of academic study and reflection on experience and a commitment to this as a lifelong process of learning and formation. Candidates should show flexibility of mind, openness to change and challenge, and the capacity to facilitate learning and theological reflection within the Church community.

What do Christians believe?

If are wondering what the meaning of life is and are seeking information about Christianity and what we believe we have provided a link to the Christianity website.

There you will find lots of information about our faith which we hope will answer some, if not all, of your questions.

Visit the Christianity website at : www.christianity.org.uk

There you will find all About Jesus.

Please also remember that you will be most welcome to attend any of the six churches in the Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership. Service details for the churches can also be found on this site.

All you need to know about weddings

People enquiring about weddings will often ask about costs.

The information below is a simple guide for weddings in the Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership in 2015.

Legal Fees

These are normally £445.  There may be some small additional costs due to the fees for reading of Banns in other parishes for some couples (Church of England weddings) or for Marriage Certificates (Free Church weddings).

Organ and Organist

£90

Verger

£40

Bells (e.g. peal of 6)

£140 (available at St Lawrence, Bradwell; Cross and Stable, Downs Barn and St Andrew’s, Great Linford). £30 at St Mary Magdelene, Willen.

There will be local arrangements in each church for flowers and for the cost of heating and there will be an additional charge for permission to video record the service (including copyright permission).

QUALIFYING CRITERIA

It is important that you ascertain as soon as possible whether you meet the criteria to qualify for a wedding in one of the Partnership churches.

These are essentially:

Church of England weddings

Residence in the parish

and/or

Membership of the electoral roll of any church in the parish

and/or

Other qualifying connection (you can find out more on the Church of England website www.churchofengland.org)

Free Church weddings

Habitual worship at the church

and/or

Residence in the area.

If you have been married before or are not a UK citizen, you should contact a minister as soon as possible to  help you explore whether a church wedding is possible.

Sometimes couples choose to have a Service of Blessing in church after a civil wedding, or a Service of Thanksgiving & Renewal of Vows (maybe to celebrate an anniversary).  You will be able to find out more by contacting one of the ministers.

If you wish to enquire about having your wedding in one of our churches please contact us indicating which church you are wishing to hold it in.

 

City is such a vibrant place

Dear friends

What a fascinating place! Two weeks in, I am thoroughly enjoying the experience of being part of the life in Milton Keynes.

There is clearly a lot going on, and I have only begun to scratch the surface: the varietyJohn Robertson for someone who comes from rural Oxfordshire is extraordinary.

Perhaps that ought to be expected in any large city (and Milton Keynes is very obviously a city despite official lack of recognition!), but what is most striking to me is the breadth and energy of the Christian community within the city.

I guess we’re all used to being asked the question, “Why is the Church so dull? So irrelevant?”

Society at large and the media in particular seem to take dullness and irrelevance as a given, and after an especially boring meeting about the upkeep of church guttering we might all be inclined to agree.

Yet I am discovering a church here which is thoroughly, deeply engaged with life in all sorts of interesting ways.

There is ministry in schools right across the city, an urban farm, a night shelter that took in 90 guests over the winter months, excellent training and support for young people that society might leave behind, churches which welcome adults with learning disabilities into their worship, a Christian presence in the prison and the hospital, congregations which practice hospitality, projects to engage with young adults and new housing….. and that is only the tip of a very large iceberg. All of this is witness to a church which is vibrant, alive and relevant to an extraordinary degree.

The question, it seems to me, ought not to be “Why is the Church so dull?” but “Why is the Church so vibrant?” Where, in other words, does its exceptional life come from?

We are, perhaps, too easily seduced by the dullness agenda that we miss what is actually going on in our midst or too shy and self-effacing to mention it.

If, however, we have caught even a little of the excitement of what church can be and do and if we recognise in the life of the Church the God who wants to be known and made known through the Church, then we will want to share our discovery with those around us.

In short, the answer to the question “Why is the Church so vibrant?” is a simple one: in the words of Jesus, ”I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness”. That life is what we are called both to share and make known.

Every blessing

John Robertson,

Director of Ecumenical Mission

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