The discernment/selection process for ordained ministry in the Church of England is multi-layered and quite lengthy, normally taking at least a year or two. It consists of both a local and a national component and requires a preparation process which is overseen by the Diocesan Director of Ordinands. Ordained ministers aren’t all of one type. Some are sponsored and trained for Primary leadership as a parish incumbent, while others are Assistant Leaders, trained for a support role in a parish. Some are full-time and paid (stipendiary), others offer all or part of their time voluntarily as Self Supporting Ministers (SSM).
Ordinands aged under 32
at the start of training would normally be sponsored to undertake a three year full-time residential training programme at one of the Church of England’s theological colleges. An equivalent course comprising a church context-based/’mixed-mode’ approach may provide an alternative pathway.
Ordinands aged 32-39
at the start of training would be sponsored for two years full time residential training at theological college, or an equivalent context-based/’mixed-mode’ pathway.
Ordinands aged 40 or over
at the start of training would normally be sponsored to undertake three years part-time training on the Winchester Pathway.
Ordinands aged 51 or over
at the start of training would normally be sponsored as Self-Supporting Ministers (SSM). The majority would expect to train for assistant leadership and follow the Winchester Pathway, but it is perfectly possible to train for Primary Leadership (SSM) on the Winchester Pathway.