Out of 16 criteria to be tested against, eleven came back with a vote of confidence from the reviewers, while the other five were voted as confidence with qualifications. It was noted in the report that any reframing of the training and formation offered would need to be in the context of diocesan thinking around its strategy for licensed lay ministry.
There are currently 11 candidates on the Formation year with two more discerned for the following year. Students enter the Exploring Christianity course before the process of discernment and testing of vocation to licensed lay ministry. The reviewers commented that the staff and students were extremely co-operative and helpful.
The reviewers listed a number of strengths in the report including: good use of self-evaluation to identify areas of improvement; well-structured modules and teaching materials; and an engaged and active student body providing much evidence of personal, spiritual and vocational growth.
In the areas that were marked for further attention, it was noted that: teaching relating to preaching and leading worship came at a late stage of training; more consistent feedback on the conduct of worship was required; and a formal complaints policy needed developing.
The Revd Canon Derek Chedzey, Head of Ministry Development, said: As a Diocese, we are delighted and encouraged by the tone and content of this report and are grateful for the review teams work and helpful recommendations. Whilst recognising that Lay Ministry training is a team effort in the Diocese, this report is a particularly well deserved endorsement of the hard work and commitment of our course director, the Revd Becky Waring, to the work and ministry of Licensed Lay Ministers.
The reviewers are appointed by bishops in the Church of England.
The Licensed Lay Ministry Training inspection report is available on the Church of England website.