Bishop Barbara and the rEv.s Isabel Healy-Morrow, Ken Gray and Len Fraser joined approximately twenty other laity and clergy gathered in Saskatoon, June 6-9, to consider how to equip and encourage a new generation of ministry leaders in the Anglican Provinces of British Columbia and Rupert's Land.
Coming primarily from ten (10) northern and isolated dioceses and territories, they imagined a new form of training which is quite distinct from a three-year residential seminary type of training. The new model will respond to the many challenges facing prospective ministers and especially indigenous leaders who simply cannot spend long times away from their homes and places of work.
"This training will not be a dumbed down version of an M.Div. but a unique and specially tailored programme which responds to the unique needs of each learner", says Archbishop John Privett, who, with Dr. Iain Luke, Principal of Emmanuel and St. Chad College, convened and facilitated the meeting.
The agenda included sessions on adult learning models, conversations about credentialing, community building online learning challenges, and the elements of a core curriculum which would ensure robust learning goals and the ability to assess students learning benchmarks.
"This was one of the best collaborative events I have ever attended," said the Very Rev. Ken Gray, Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in the Territory of the People. "We face immediate and significant challenges in identifying and equipping the next generation of ministry leaders; the need is immediate," said Gray.
Next steps will include assessment of several programmes currently in use, identifying a leadership process and of course, weighing financial support.
Given the high level of trust within the group, the wide experience of Church and ministry in special situations, and the obvious passion the initiative is off to a great start.