The School of Formation exists to enable all God’s people in their discipleship to engage with learning and formation in the Diocese. The School of Formation puts the call to discipleship at the heart of a growing, healthy, learning and outward facing church. The School of Formation is called to live out Jesus’ parting commission to his followers, found at the end of the Gospel of Matthew, to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 19-20).
The School of Formation is virtual. It’s place in which discipleship is nurtured. This journey of discipleship is life-long and in the School of Formation all recognised activities that reflect the call to discipleship are brought together, underpinned by the programme Transforming Faith, in order to further the Diocesan Vision and mission of discerning Christ’s presence in every community and in order that we may be growing, outward facing, learning and a healthy church.
The following principles and values are at the heart of the School of Formation:
- The School aims to communicate in a way that is open, transparent, honest and respectful.
- Both providers and learners are part of the process of communication, which needs to go in both directions.
- Communicators need to attend to, and to make known, people’s needs and requirements for learning.
- Communication should enable access and inclusivity by sharing information about learning opportunities and experiences.
- The School seeks to keep improving.
- The School aims to set spaces for creative learning.
- The School recognises that learning involves change and risk, and will ensure that learners are clear about what is being asked of them and where the boundaries lie.
- Providers of learning opportunities will seek to be aware of and open to using new learning techniques.
- Learners will be asked to be open to trying what is new and to respect and use boundaries in the process of developing trust.
- Learning is offered at the most local level that is appropriate, given pastoral need, geographical constraint, and numerical and resource efficiency.
- Learning is initiated and delivered in partnership, co-operating to aid resourcing and shared learning.
- Local is a flexible term – the most appropriate level may vary for different purposes. Local might mean parish, benefice, another group of parishes, deanery, diocese; and ecumenical groupings.
- Some legal obligations will be centrally resourced to ensure consistency and safety and to meet requirements for accountability: for example, safeguarding, marriage law, and Initial Ministerial Education. These may be locally delivered.
- Deanery hubs will be instrumental in: enabling a balance between local and universal; providing a point of delivery; acting as a forum for communication; and creating a resource centre, through the Area Dean, the administrator, and others.
- The model of formation employed in the School is of relationship and the accompanied journey.
- People should not be excluded from opportunities for formation because of education, ability, opportunity, self-worth, aspiration, expectation or confidence.
- The School of Formation seeks to encourage and support the formation of those who would help others in formation. They should be discerned, encouraged and equipped by those with local knowledge to do their work according to this model.
- Methods of communication and learning need to reflect these principles of inclusivity, encouragement and relationship.
Although the School of Formation is virtual it delivers courses through Face to Face learning. The School of Formation also operates as a ‘think-tank’ as new ministries and learning are discerned. The School of Formation is run by a Steering Group and the steering group consists of representatives from across the diocese.