Below you will find some Frequently Asked Questions addressing the discernment process, training, and vocations in light of COVID-19. We remain committed to supporting you in your front line roles. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions, ideas and concerns.
The end of the year will look rather different for the 2019/20 cohort. Different dioceses have dealt with this in different ways but all following Government advice and restrictions on movement. There are some great stories of participants stepping up within local volunteering groups and foodbanks. We are enthusiastically recruiting for the 2020/21 cohort using all means available. Of course we hope that the cohort will start off as normal but if the beginning of the year 20/21 has to make use of online resources to get started, we will do what we can to facilitate that.
Absolutely! The Church still needs new and emerging explorers to consider whether God is calling them to ordained or formal lay ministries. Whilst some people are swept off their feet at this time, others find themselves with more time on their hands to reflect and to pray. We encourage and applaud creative ways within dioceses to facilitate this reflection and to begin discussions with new explorers. Our prayer is that in both September 2020 and September 2021, there will still be plenty of wonderfully faithful people entering training for ordained and lay ministries.
BAPs during the COVID-19 Crisis
We have been checking whether we have received the Sponsoring Papers Part 1 and then sending a message to the DDO saying that we are developing a temporary means of assessing candidates remotely, using digital approaches. We will be in contact with the DDO and Diocesan teams as soon as we know more about how that will operate.
For the moment, yes, please send them in the normal electronic way to the Sponsoring Papers email address. If there are any changes to this, we will let you know.
We suggest that you send the papers remotely to the candidate and discuss them remotely with them. Then ask the candidates to email you to say that they have read these Sponsoring Papers and understand that they will be submitted for their Bishops’ Advisory Panel. You as DDO can then add to the Sponsoring Papers just before the signature a note to indicate that you have received an email from the candidate confirming that they have read the Sponsoring Papers and understand that they will be submitted for their BAP. Please don’t send us the email from the candidate but keep it on file.
We are currently developing a temporary means of assessing candidates remotely, using digital approaches and we can’t be sure what that will look like yet. We will be in contact with the DDO and Diocesan team as soon as we know more about how that will operate.
We are currently looking at ways of conducting interviews in a virtual way and we will get back to you as soon as we are able. In the meantime you need to send all the papers, as you normally would, by the designated deadline.
Formation: FAQs for TEI Staff
Yes, your recommendation to the Bishop contained in the final year report remains one based upon evidence that they meet the Formation Criteria. In most cases, you will have come to this judgement already and although the formational work will be disrupted, we hope that you will feel confident to stick with your recommendation. If you have particular concerns over an individual ordinand’s capacity to meet the criteria, you should, as always be in touch with their DDO and Bishop to discuss this. You may of course wish to suggest to the ordaining Bishop that IME 2 might possess certain development goals to compensate for this.
For those studying under Common Awards programmes, flexibility is being offered so that students can complete courses, often learning using online resources. The same applies to assessments. You should be in touch with the Common Awards team to inform them of the changes that you are making but this can be after the event. The primary issue here is to give students equal access to whatever learning you are able to provide and that this will be on a par with that which you would have offered.
We hope that for continuing students, it may be possible for you to re-arrange placements as and when this might be possible. But for those to be ordained this summer, this will not be possible and we will need to trust IME 2 providers and contexts to attend to the ongoing formational development.
Many Dioceses are making plans for September ordinations to give candidates and their families a chance to mark this important landmark publicly. Following the pattern established for some while now, many Dioceses intend to license their Ordinands as lay workers from the end of June so that they can be paid, housed and begin work as appropriate.