"Anglican bishops, heads of theological colleges and seminaries, students and professors who gathered for the first National Conference on Theological Education [in Chateauguay, Montreal in January 2010] have agreed to re-examine how they discern and prepare candidates for ministry. This includes setting common national standards for the ordination of clergy. At present, very little exists in terms of national standards, and dioceses have their own methods of preparing and accepting candidates for priesthood. What exists is a 1986 document, 'Prerequisites for Ordination', from the House of Bishops and Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO). This document is used to evaluate those who seek training for ordination in the Anglican Church of Canada. However, ACPO recommendations are non-binding." The conference was chaired by Bishop John Chapman of Ottawa who said "Good leadership leads to healthy communities and congregations". Feedback and recommendations from the conference will be forwarded to General Synod through the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee. "A request will be made for the primate to create a commission on presbyteral formation and education". "One of the biggest debates concerns the adequacy of so-called local training versus a university-based master of divinity (MDiv) program. While the MDiv program trains on a broad range of disciplines, the other trains for specific situations, particularly cultural ones".
Bishop Chapman, chair of the Theological Education Working Group lead the session about the National Theological Education Gathering that had preceded the House of Bishops’ meeting. The conference on theological education was held from January 5 to (the afternoon of) January 7 at Manoir d’Youville in Chateuaguay, Quebec. He told the bishops that the planning committee was in the midst of drafting a report from the conference. The final report will be sent to the Faith, Worship and Ministry Committee, in March to the Council of General Synod and in June to General Synod. Bishop Chapman shared a few of the points and recommendations that would be in the final report. They included:
- A request to the Primate to establish a Commission on Theological Education (transmiteral, transformation and education)
- A recommendation for consideration to be given to the idea of having a national faculty
- A recommendation that there should be some method of having a national scholarship for theological education
- A suggestion that theological education should be seen as one of the General Synod’s priorities
- A request from the Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) Secretaries to have a task force established to update the ACPO Handbook
“Be it resolved that the House of Bishops create a task force to update the Advisory Committee on Postulants for Ordination (ACPO) Handbook and report back to the House of Bishops’ meeting in October 2010.”
CARRIED HB Res-002-01-10
Discussion followed. It was noted that the Commission on Theological Education will have a lot of work to do. The Primate was asked to make the people he appointed to the commission aware that it would require a heavy time commitment of them.