A new training course to help priests appointed to interim ministry posts has been delivered by the Church of England’s Diocese in Europe. Interim Ministers are deployed to parishes or chaplaincies to provide short-term experienced leadership and guidance for a transitional period to help where there has been a lengthy interregnum, a period of conflict, or some other challenge. They help to prepare the churches to welcome and work with a future permanent appointment.
Last week, seven priests from the Diocese in Europe – the largest diocese by area in the Anglican Communion – joined two priests from Chelmsford and one from Oxford for the week-long course. The training was organised by the Archdeacon of Gibraltar, Geoff Johnston, and Canon Ulla Monberg, the diocese’s director of ministerial development. It was delivered by the Revd Molly Smith, a trainer with the US-based Episcopal Church’s Interim Ministry Network.
The seven participants from the diocese in Europe were selected from “a large number of applicants who might in the future serve as interim ministers in the diocese,” a diocesan spokesman said on its website. “They engaged enthusiastically with the progamme of talks and group and individual exercises,” that were delivered at St Columba’s House in Woking, Surrey.
“This is an exciting and pioneering project,” Archdeacon Geoff said. “Interim ministry is really taking off and it is great to know that the Diocese in Europe is the first in the Church of England to offer this kind of professional training programme.
“The fact that there are so many priests who are interested in developing their ministry in this way augurs well for the future.”