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Sunday, 22 May 2016

the curious case of #curates, training ministers and consistency - from #FaithResearch2016

On Wednesday 18/5/16 I attended the 2016 Faith in Research Conference in Birmingham UK. The conference is organised by the CofE’s Research & Statistics Dept and I've already posted about two of its sessions: 20 headlines about churchless christians  AND Experiencing Ministry - 5 things that appear to correlate with effective ministry & wellbeing - and some things that don't.

    Prompted by the conference I've also posted on 10 tips on how to react to a presentation on research / #statistics about an area you care about.  And at the foot of this post are selected links to other conference sessions and talks like CofE service typos


      This post is about Curates.  It is based upon various sessions at the conference covering pioneering curates and various aspects of curate training. 


      Pioneer Curacy Beth Keith talked us through some research about pioneer curates.  Beth is about to finish training at Cranmer Hall and will be taking up a post at Sheffield Cathedral as a pioneer curate.  The points I noted from her session are below - mainly i the form of questions to ask when preparing for a pioneer curate.

Pre-curacy
1) its important to tease out expectations of Training Incumbent/Mentor as concerns the Pioneer’s role 

2) Starter, sustainer or supervisor?
    1. Pioneers can be starters or sustainers or supervisors. Identifying skills and vocation is important.

    2. 3) and maybe changes to expectations between the 1st and subsequent years of the curacy

4) and potential conflicts of interest (e.g what if a Fresh Expression under the Pioneer grows to be bigger than trad church attendance)

5) Pioneer curacy’s tend to be more complicated
    1. Pioneer curacies more complex & negotiation helps structure better experience and training, replicable a cross the board? 


During the curacy
1) If the Training Incumbent role is separate from the person providing a Mentor role to the pioneer curate then how will the two join up their approach to the Pioneer?

2) Is failure allowed? (as Pioneers ministry is inherently more risky


Beyond the curacy
1) Is the expectation that Fresh Expression initiative will be self-supporting after 3 or 4 years when the curate moves on (and if it is then given FE experiences isn’t this unrealistic?)



    Curates and their training  Rev Trevor Gerhardt ran a session whose title was “Nationally competent & deployable?  The nature of the relationship of training of curates on their future ministry”  Here is a link to his slides

Trevor is the Asst. Director of Formation and Ministry for the CofE’s Diocese of Rochester.

He 1st described the research approach he'd taken which was qualitative surveys, some interviews,a  literature review and autobiographical experience.  Trevor was also interested in whether there were differences between validated and un-validated approaches to curacy.

The interviews were at the end of the curacy and after 1 year in post.  The headlines I heard were:

- ½ of curates thought the training they received helped

- Many valued very highly peer reflection and review – they felt they learnt as much from this as they had from their Training Incumbent

- Training Incumbents appeared to prioritise formation

In answer to the question what is the curate 25% thought an assistant, 22% thought an apprentice and 44% thought both

- Consistency in training is an issue – between IME phases (so the education phase and then the 3 or 4 year curacy AND between Training Incumbents AND  between different curacy’s with the same Training Incumbent

- There needs to be more intentionality in terms of the models used in the training (e.g. so which is most applicable to the curate - coaching not directed leadership - rather than which style the Training Incumbent naturally follows)


Curates & their Training Ministers  Greg Smith's session was titled “How Curates learn from Training Ministers and how Training Ministers learn about themselves: appraisal and feedback in the training process”.  Greg explained that the findings were based on 419 pairs of Curate & Training Incumbent data from a questionnaire. Here are some headlines ...

1) Supervision
  1. Supervision is best indicator of curate training satusfaction (93% satisfaction vs 29%!)
  2. (So where supervision was regular 93% of curates curates rated their Training Incumbent as good.  Where supervision wasn't regular 29% rated the TI as good)

2) Other good predictors of highly rated TI's were whether the TI:


  1. Indicators for healthy Training; #2 Answer 'why' questions of ministry not 'how' - more intuitive
  1. ... Connect theological reflection with practice of ministry; help curates deal with stress. 2/2
  1. Indicators for healthy Training Incumbent relationships; #3 Help with coping with stress in ministry


Curacy – multiple perspectives  This session was led by Ruth Perrin. Ruth has recently completed a PHD in the University of Durham’s Dept. of Theology & Religions and most recently has worked in the Ministry Development Research Team.  Here is a link to her slides and here (ht @ling_tim for the links) is a link to the full report  - Vocational Pathways: Perspectives from Curacy - and a two page summary


Ruth explained that the research was qualitative on IME phase 2 experiences in curacy. People asked were across 4 Dioceses with 5-8 curates in each diocese focus group.  From the session I noted the following points ....


1) the relationship with the Training Incumbent is vital
  1. other words used to describe the relationship were “chemistry” and "mutual collegiate support"

2) Vision and Enthusiasm from the Training Incumbent - not to produce a mini-me

3) Regular contact between the TI and the curate

4) Delegation and allowing failure
  1. 4: willingness of Training Priest to delegate, allow risk taking, allow & work through failure
Apparently one Training Incumbent remarked " I thought their idea might crash and burn but that there would be good learning in that"

5) clear expectations and boundaries – using documents to help with this

6) clear communication with the congregations about what they can expect from a curate

7) Good training - so points made were
- IME phase 2 training delivered by motivated practioners
- directly relevant to the work in front of the curates. 
- creative and interactive rather than been talked at.
- not sheep dipping all without considering people's previous experiences
- integrated with IME1 and BAP assessments and helping prepare for CMD - the feeling was that this wasn't the case
- opportunities for experience beyond the parish would be valued
- opportunities equip key people in congregation to apply reflective learning with curates

8) Peer discussion & mutual learning  were very highly valued

9) Assessment - needed to be helpful in structure rather than hoop jumping

10) Congregations role/expectations - clarity needed as well as help in fast tracking establishing key relationships with congregation


Points made in the Q&A sessions were 

a) how well does curate training link to and help prepare for the shared reflective learning culture that CMD assumes

b) there appear to be consistency issues as concerns
- the type of Training used (e.g. curriculum based, in task, talk from classroom front)
- the approaches taken by Training Ministers (e.g. how to do vs why we do approaches, collegiate or "boss" attitude)
- the role of a curate (e.g. assistant or apprentice)

c) To address these concerns there have been at least 3 organisational models used

d) Some of those in the room appeared to wonder how the research findings might have changed if individuals had been interviewed after 1 year in their 1st substantive post after the end of their curacy


A selection of CofE/Church related posts that maybe of interest

posts with 10 useful links  No.'s 1234567891011121314151617181920 (not just church stuff but maybe interesting 2 u)

        2016
        20 headlines about churchless christians - from #FaithResearch2016 conference 1st session
        Experiencing Ministry - 5 things that appear to correlate with effective ministry & wellbeing - and some things that don't - from #FaithResearch2016 conference 1st session

        2015
        insights & detail & tips & useful links from church research & stats conference #FaithResearch15
        Money Matters - Church Urban Fund conference - on building a more inclusive financial system
        A theology of church leadership in 10 points
        How do we get politics & business & civil society working for the common good?
        10 reasons churches don't use social media  - some possible answers and/or solutions
        Discovering prayer  - learning from monasticism
        10 ideas for a good lent - from a St Pauls London Cathedral event with JustinWelby
        The CofE  House of #Bishops 52 page letter - 11 tests to use when deciding who to vote for, the 14 arguments supporting that advice - 6 points about christianity and politics
        Church Communications - 10 points about Logos
        CofE Discerning & nurturing paper - with Green Report attached
        Church Commissioners' funds and inter-generational equity
        CofE Resourcing the Future
        CofE Resourcing Ministerial Education
        CofE Simplification paper
        CofE Developing Discipleship paper
        “In Each Generation” : A programme for reform and renewal

        2014
        The Green Report - on CofE talent management

        CofE typos in services - a compilation of a @OurCofE twitter hashtag
        CofE 2013 mission stats
        Household of faith conference - one of several posts summarising


        A selection of other posts on RSA, TED or similar lectures & conferences which maybe of interest

        2016
        Journalism & Crisis Conference:  Jon Snow's opening address from #Polis2016
        Reporting RefugeesBrexit & journalism,  Reporting on Terror
        Verification in crisis reporting by journalists - notes from the #Polis2016 session - some useful advice
        Reporting on terror - some headlines from a session at the #Polis2016 conference
        Journalism & the Brexit debate #Polis2016 - the focus on the economy, the fact free ghetto of social media, the UK media's power - and why weren't 16 years olds allowed to vote?
        Good storytelling isn't limited to simplified representations of reality - & more ideas from a #Polis2016 session on Reporting Refugees
        If you want to be a journalist don't do a journalism degree - and other views & advice from @jonsnowc4 #polis2016

        2015

        Digital & Data Journalism London News Impact Summit – 12 quotes + 18 resource links mega summary - then the detail
        the importance of character - an RSA event with David Brooks
        in search of a fuller life - an RSA event with philosopher Theodore Zeldin
        algorithmically enhanced confirmation bias - 6 uncomfortable facts about how facebook affects what we see - from a post by @nathanjurgenson
        11 headlines on why we use facebook & social media - summarised out of a very rich buffer post by Courtney Seiteron
        Headlines from LSE analysis of #UK social #policy 2010-2015 in tabular form: #positives, #negatives & mixed outcomes - from @CASE_LSE papers found via @trustforlondonhow to innovate & survive - by   (Mark Payne)
        18 top tips and thoughts about using #social media to enable #community source = an article by  Anatoliy Gruzd PhD & Caroline Haythornthwaite PhD

        2014
        Data Protection & Privacy - 8 issues from an International Conference
        escape your social horizon limit & understand more - source = a blog post summarising the work of  Jeffrey A. Smith, Miller McPherson & Lynn Smith-Lovin
        social media & death - 10 things you may not have thought about - #DORS conference

        2013
        the development of the U2 spyplane - source = CIA historians Gregory Pedlow & Donald Welzenbach
        considering culture and business process improvement  - source = an article by Schmiedel, Theresa, vom Brocke, Jan, & Recker
        ideas that may help you attract older volunteers - source = a paper by Brayley, Nadine, Obst, Patricia L., White, Katherine M., Lewis, Ioni M.,Warburton, Jeni, & Spencer, Nancy
        physical factors which help people get better quicker - source = a paper by Salonen, Heidi & Morawska, Lidia
        guiding principles on designing construction kits - by Mitchel Resnick & Brian Silverman
        signs of overparenting - source = an article by Locke, Judith, Campbell, Marilyn A., & Kavanagh, David J
        making ideas happen - source = a 99U conference


        2012
        how to spot a liar - by pamela myer
        measuring happiness - source = talk by jim clifton, jim harter, ben leedle

        2006  twittr launches   2005  youtube   2004  the facebook online and digg   2001  wikipedia   

        1999  weblog software launched  1998  Google  1996  HoTMaiL   1995  auctionweb