Over the past year or so, the Church has conducted a comprehensive review of all its clergy training material. Among other initiatives, three major undertakings have taken place to improve our clergy’s training.
Firstly, in each Province we serve, the Church has created an extensive training blog devoted to the training of its clergy.
Secondly, the Church created a Celebrant Training Institute in order to deepen and broaden the training a candidate for ministry receives.
Thirdly, a new and exciting all-encompassing face-to-face Board examination and certification on most aspects of the clergy training material has been added to our training. The certification process is completed prior to Ordination or Appointment by a committee of senior ranking officials in the Church. If certification is in the ‘positive’, the Board recommends acceptance to the whole Church Board.
Examples of the steps the Church has taken include:
1. Celebrant Training Institute
We have formalized our training with the Church’s new Canadian Ministers Institute. Here, candidates will find detailed training modules such as:
- Clergy Support and Pastoral Care
- The Wedding Planning Meeting
- The Wedding Ceremony
- Baptisms and Naming Ceremonies
- Funerals and Celebrations of Life
This is an ongoing project. The next courses we hope to offer will include LGBTQ+ Sensitivity Training, Making the Most out of Time with Seniors, and What you Should Know About Home Churches.
All new candidates must undergo the Celebrant Institute training program and must successfully complete the modules in full. Candidates are assessed at the end of each module to ensure that they are ready to move on to the next stage.
In addition, current clergy are being asked to complete the same training program to ensure the uniformity of training across all our clergy. Again, each person will be assessed at the end of each module. In this way, we will identify any areas in which further training is required.
CSMC offers an extensive mentoring system so new clergy are supported as they enter their new roles. This may take the form of face to face visits with a local mentor, role playing, and accompanying experienced clergy as they conduct pastoral care or life celebrations. If clergy have a specific interest (palliative care and funerals, for example), they may be connected with an experienced expert in that area. If distance is a factor, mentorship for these topics may take place using video conferencing and telephone calls. The mentor is a resource the new clergy can call upon if they need advice or simply wish to talk about their experiences. We hope that this will foster an ongoing relationship.
3. Shared Clergy Experiences
In an effort to show examples of the kind of work CSMC is doing, the Church has started collecting & sharing clergy experiences and faith journeys on our website. Our varied backgrounds and experiences are CSMC’s strength and through doing a better job of sharing them, we hope to better model the type of clergy we have and the work we do. Our clergy will learn from and be inspired by each other’s example.
4. Provincial Training Blogs
On this new Provincial training blog, https://csmcalberta.blog/, one can read expanded information on the subject of our rites and usages. In addition, it contains important published statements regarding Faith, Beliefs, and Ministry. The Church has alerted clergy to the blogs and their purpose.
In particular, please see the following items: