All Saints seeks to provide excellent pastoral support for all those in training. Training for ministry is often a time when people need to engage deeply with questions of self, ministry and faith and this is an important part of the formation process for public ministry. Also, for all those involved in training, “life happens” – and there may be significant life events, issues with work, health or family which crop up for people during their training. All Saints aims to be a supportive Christian community where people are both cared for and appropriately challenged as they train for public ministry. During training with All Saints there are some key resources available for student pastoral support.
The All Saints course is very much a partnership in training between the course, the dioceses and the parishes and fresh expressions where students are located throughout their training. So a first point of pastoral contact will always be with the incumbent, supervisor or equivalent in the home church of fresh expression.
Directors of Studies
Each diocese appoints a Director of Studies. As well as being involved in general roles on the course (which might involve tutoring, module leading, being part of the Course Management Team and so on), Directors of Studies have particular responsibility for those training with All Saints from their diocese. They meet with students, develop and agree Individual Learning Plans with the students, arrange and monitor home and external placements and each year collate information from various sources to produce a report on students’ progress. Directors of Studies are a key point of contact between student and course and they are also a central part of the pastoral as well as academic support for students in their training with All Saints.
Each diocese appoints a number of people, who may be lay or ordained, to be chaplains to those studying on the course. A chaplain is available to give pastoral and personal support as and when students need it. They are able to talk with them about any aspect of the training, the placement, or indeed anything you wish, in complete confidence. They are people who have experience of ministry, and will understand the context of training. Nothing discussed with a chaplain will be reported to other course staff, nor to anyone else, unless the student requests or authorises it. They are there simply to give you someone to talk to who is neither staff nor part of theparish/church context. Students may contact a chaplain who is local to them, or one in another area; though if they want to meet face-to-face (and normally you would) the student will usually have to do the travelling.
If more formal counselling advice is required outside the Course it may be available through the sponsoring diocese, and also contacts can be made via the Principal or Vice Principal. Those registered with Chester University have access to the university counselling service
Though different traditions use different names for them, an accountable relationship with someone with whom we can talk about faith, spiritual development and our personal and ministerial journey is a central part of what helps many ministers to stay sane and faithful in public ministry. All Saints recommends that all students are in some sort of relationship of spiritual direction, mentoring or accountability – and each diocese can offer some routes for setting up those relationships. All Saints also offers a number of retreats and quiet days throughout the year – each year ordinands are part of a retreat and there are regular course Quiet Days for Readers and others.