For many years DDs have found it difficult to access the sort of training they need to inhabit and develop a diaconal ministry, to those on the margins and in the community.  Many ordination training courses, excellent in many ways, do not offer topics which address these issues.  It means much frustration for DD ordinands and curates (IME 1 and 2) and there is a danger of DDs reaching ordination and taking up their curacy, without focused training relevant to their outward-reaching, community-minded, on-the-margins diaconal ministry.

However, I’m delighted to say that this situation is now changing.  Following representations by Deacon Liz Carrington and me (Deacon Gill Kimber), we at last have the ability and opportunity to offer information about online courses available to distinctive deacons, which can be accessed from anywhere in the country.  We have support for this from the Principals of a number of Theological Education Institutes, from the National Ministry Development Team headed by Bishop Chris Goldsmith, and the full support and guidance of Dr Ken Farrimond who heads up Blended Learning for the Church of England.

(Ken Farrimond: picture Church Times)

These courses are the Scottish Episcopal Church’s Community Development module, and St Hild Mirfield’s course Mission on the Margins.  Both of these topics have been frequently requested by DDs. You will find them on the Common Awards educational Hub of the Church of England.

If you are an ordinand or a curate (IME 1 or 2), then you can find details of these courses on Moodle:  go to Moodle/Hub+/Ministerial Practice/Diaconal Ministry.  It is possible for any Common Awards student at any TEI to take these modules, but only with the special permission of their TEI academic administration.

Both St Hild staff and Dr Anne Tomlinson (SEI) (who is a deacon) have said they would very much welcome the participation of DDs in their courses.  The next ones will begin in 2023, dates to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, some appetisers:  Community Development course:

and St Hild’s Mission on the Margins:

And that’s not all!  When you go to the Hub, you’ll find lots of other goodies there about the diaconate.

(free image from June Gathercole on Unsplash)

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