Theological Education - TEAC - Working Briefs

Working Briefs and Process of Target Groups

Created November 2003

Amended June 2004

Edited February 2006

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Contents

Introduction

Theological Education for the Anglican Communion (TEAC) is a working group of the Anglican Communion which has been established by the Anglican Primates to make recommendations and practical proposals to strengthen theological education within the life of the Anglican Communion. Over the last couple of years theological education has been a key item on the agenda of the Primates meetings, and this has led to the formation of  TEAC (emerging from an earlier working group).  The Primates’ commitment to the work of TEAC was expressed at their meeting in Brazil, May 2003 when they said:
‘It is our conviction that all Anglican Christians should be theologically alert and sensitive to the call of God. We should all be thoughtful and prayerful in reading and hearing the Holy Scriptures, both in the light of the past and with an awareness of present and future needs.
We discussed what basic standards of theological education should be provided for and expected from all members of the Church. All regions face major challenges in this area, particularly in the provision of resources in non-English speaking provinces, and we considered how these should be met. We recognise that there is a distinctive Anglican approach to theological study. This is reflected not only in the way our worship and liturgical life express our belief, and in our attention to Scripture read in the light of tradition, but also in our respect for exploration and experiment. Theological education in the Anglican Communion honours each local context and, at the same time, calls us together into communion and mutual accountability. Therefore, though we wish to develop common standards of theological education worldwide, we value the uniqueness of the work of the Holy Spirit in each place. Supportive of the Archbishop of Canterbury and, with him, convinced of this need, we affirm and encourage the work of the Anglican Communion Task Group on Theological Education.’ (it is this group that has now been renamed as Theological Education for the Anglican Communion – TEAC)

The membership of TEAC involves more than 30 representatives of different parts of the Anglican Communion. There is a Steering Group, which is directing the work of the five ‘Target Groups’ whose briefs are set out below. These briefs were drawn up at a meeting 10-14 November which involved the Steering Group and the Convenors of the Target Groups.
Clare Amos
Secretary

Foreward by the Archbishop of Canterbury

I am convinced that we cannot be committed to the well-being of our common life and witness in the Anglican Communion without being committed to theological education and its appropriate delivery at all levels.  It has become increasingly clear to me that theological education within the Anglican Communion is not as well resourced or rooted as it needs to be and that a communion-wide initiative such as this is urgently required.  One of my main priorities at this stage of my ministry as Archbishop of Canterbury is the reinvigoration of theological education and I greatly welcome the decision we took as Primates to set up this working group.  I shall be taking a keen interest in the progress of TEAC and offer my prayers and support to those who will be carrying out its work.  

+ Rowan Cantuar
25 November 2003

Aim

“… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.  … speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.”
Ephesians 4. 12-14, 16

The aim is:

  • to deliver a well-focused challenge to be a Communion of Christians who read the Bible together in the fullest awareness of who, when and where we are;
  • to strengthen the sense of why we are Anglicans and what sort of Church we want to be;
  • to make clear suggestions as to how theological education can be delivered with appropriate professionalism and ecumenical alertness;
  • to create a culture of teaching and learning in the faith community;

because all Anglican Christians need some kind of theological education.

Eternal God,
the light of the minds that know you,
the joy of the hearts that love you,
and the strength of the wills that serve you:
grant us so to know you that we may truly love you,
and so to love you that we may fully serve you,
whose service is perfect freedom
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
From Augustine of Hippo

Target Group: Bishops

Questions to be explored by the Target Group:

1. Linked to Anglicanism and the nature of its episcopal ministry

What does it mean to be a bishop in the Anglican Communion today?

  • Understanding the biblical call to servant leadership
  • Understanding Anglican ecclesiology and relationships within the Anglican Communion
  • Understanding of context - continental, provincial, local, diocesan, civic, ecumenical, historic, etc.
  • The conflict of expectations and realities, for example the conflict between being a pastor and employer of the clergy
  • Exercise of authority and prophetic role / power and service / accountability and partnership
  • How should spouses be prepared?

What basic qualities, skills and competencies are required to be a bishop to enable them to exercise effectively the following aspects of their ministry?

  • Role in mission
  • Personal theological education
  • Teaching and learning
  • Formation for the exercise of effective leadership
  • Discernment of vocation in others
  • Pastoral care and strengthening unity
  • Guarding a tradition and being the agent of change
  • Collaboration in ministry
  • The exercise of authority
  • Dealing with the pressures of office

2. Linked specifically to theological education

What theological education and formation is required to equip people for

  • initial
  • ongoing

episcopal ministry?

When and how should training take place – pre-consecration and in-service ?

What programmes currently exist in the Communion for Episcopal theological education?

How should spouses of bishops be prepared and helped?

How can theological education enable the church to live the relationship between the ministry of the ordained and the ministry of the baptized?

Target Group: Priests and Transitional Deacons

Questions to be explored by the Target Group

1. Linked to Anglicanism and the nature of its priestly ministry:

How and where are we asking prior questions about the kind of priesthood the Church needs?
What questions are being asked about the nature of ministry in the contemporary world, and what kind of answers are beginning to emerge?

What leadership roles does the mission of the Church require of its priests and transitional deacons?

What basic qualities, skills and competencies are required for this leadership?

How can we encourage a ministry which is creative, disciplined and accountable?

2. Linked specifically to theological education

What theological education and formation is required to equip people for

  • initial ordained ministry as deacons, and
  • ongoing ministry as priests?

What varieties of Initial Ministerial education exist in the Anglican Communion: provincial, diocesan, ecumenical, TEE?  What are the benefits and disadvantages of each?

What kind of theological education lays the best foundation for and support the continuing deepening of prayer and the spiritual life?

How can the teaching ministry of priests be strengthened through appropriate theological education?

How are priests trained for mission?

To what extent can training for ordained ministry be integrated with training for other public ministries?

How can theological education for ordained priestly ministry foster collaboration in ministry?

How can we ensure that Initial Ministerial Education is linked with lifelong Continuing Ministerial Education?

When in training by another denomination, how is the provision of an Anglican (or united church) dimension incorporated?   (‘The Anglican Way’ Target Group is looking at the nature of the Anglican ethos.)

How should spouses of priests/transitional deacons be prepared and helped?

How can theological education enable the church to live the relationship between the ministry of the ordained and the ministry of the baptized?

Target Group: Vocational Deacons, Catechists and Licenced Lay Ministers

Questions to be explored by the Target Group:

1. Linked to Anglicanism and the nature of its understanding of diaconal ministry and the ministry of catechists and licensed lay leaders

In what ways is the biblical call to servanthood specifically focused in these ministries?

What do these ministries have in common?

 What questions are being asked about the nature of ministry in the contemporary world which impinge upon these ministries?

How might these ministries be developed in a variety of geographical and ecclesiastical contexts?

What kinds of vocational / permanent deacons, catechists and licensed lay leaders do the churches need?  How do we define these roles and responsibilities?

Distil the debate about the role(s) of deacons in the Communion.

What distinct contribution do the lay ministries have by virtue of their being lay?

 

2. Linked specifically to theological education

What theological education programmes currently exist in the Communion for these ministries?

At what level and place and in what mode may these ministers best be trained?

Consider the development of curricula and apprenticeships to enhance these ministries.

To what extent should  training and education for these ministries include the involvement of those engaged in such ministries? 

How can the teaching ministry of these ministers be strengthened through appropriate theological education?

To what extent are these ministers trained for mission?

How can theological education for these ministries foster collaboration in ministry?

How can we ensure that Initial Ministerial Education is linked with lifelong Continuing Ministerial Education?

When in training by another denomination, how is the provision of an Anglican (or united church) dimension incorporated?   (‘The Anglican Way’ Target Group is looking at the nature of the Anglican ethos.)

How should spouses of deacons, catechists and lay leaders be prepared and helped?

 

How can theological education enable the church to live the relationship between the ministry of the ordained and the ministry of the baptized? How can theological education contribute to a better understanding of the relationships between these ministries and baptismal ministry?

Target Group: Laity

Note: The focus of this Target Group relates to the need for a more theologically educated laity, without leading to specific lay ministry training or ordination.

Questions and issues to be explored by the Target Group:

1. Linked to Anglicanism and the nature of its understanding of the role and theological needs of the laity
How can we better understand and fulfil the priesthood of all believers?

 

2. Linked specifically to theological education
Identify common methodologies and patterns of lay theological education in the Communion.

What creative possibilities for local training are there for laity in the various Churches of the Communion?

How can the sharing of  stories, experience and practice be better facilitated?

How can theological education better equip the laity for effective discipleship?

Consider appropriate means of following-up initiation training with ongoing theological education.

What can be done to encourage and enable lifelong Christian learning?

How can theological education help members of the laity develop an appreciation of the Anglican Communion worldwide?

How can small groups, cell churches, bible study groups etc. be employed as tools for theological education.

What models and methods of theological education for laity would better facilitate team-working and collaboration?

How can theological education enable the church to live the relationship between the ministry of the ordained and the ministry of the baptized?

Target Group: The Anglican Way

Questions and issues to be explored by the Target Group:

1. Linked to Anglicanism as a whole
Understanding and describing our unique ethos and contribution to the wider Church; defining the Anglican Way:

  1. The Anglican Way, though rooted in its history and historical formularies, nevertheless is not fixed but continues to be shaped by its multiform cultural settings.  The Anglican Way is a particular expression of the Christian Way (Acts 9:2).
  2. Understanding and describing a distinctive theological method incorporating, for example, ‘contemplative pragmatism’, ‘inhabiting doctrine’, doing theology by preaching, liturgy, hymnody, artistic creativity, etc.
  3. Scripture, tradition and reason:  Reading the Bible together, corporately and individually, with a keen and critical sense of the past, a vigorous engagement with the present context, and with patient hope for the future.
  4. Awareness and critical assessment of other defining characteristics commonly associated with Anglican identity – for example, spirituality nurtured by Word and Sacrament, Lambeth Quadrilateral, Book of Common Prayer, distinctive polity, comprehensiveness, unity in diversity, Via media, bridge between denominations, balance of freedom and order, balance of pastoral, mission and prophetic, exercise of ministry, etc
  5. The polity of the Anglican Way includes the threefold order of bishop, priest and deacon, intended to be united collegially with the laity in synod; and the interaction of provincial, diocesan and parish structures, governed by constitutions and canons.
  6. An approach to mission which is holistic, incarnational and transformational and which shapes the engagement of the church with the world in each context.
  7. Acknowledgement of provisionality, incompleteness and vulnerability as potential strengths.
  8. The four formal instruments of unity (Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Conferences, the Anglican Consultative Council, the Primates’ meeting) offer cohesion to global Anglicanism, limit the centralisation of authority, rely on bonds of affection for effective functioning but are put under strain in situations of acute disagreement.  Other emerging instruments of unity include Anglican networks, commissions and taskforces.
  9. Awareness of Anglicanism’s past and present failures, and its susceptibility to particular kinds of abuse (for example, aspects of colonial heritage, excessive association with power and privilege, hierarchical authoritarianism, clericalism at the expense of the ministry of women and laity, its identification with Englishness, etc).
  10. The Anglican Way encompasses communion (koinonia) with the united churches and other churches in full communion with the See of Canterbury.  These relationships enrich our understanding and experience of koinonia.
  11. The Anglican Way is deeply committed to building ecumenical relationships and strives to define itself through statements made in ecumenical dialogue.
  12. The Anglican Way as interplay between witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ; yearning for and working towards mutual respect, peace and just relations with other faith communities; and a prophetic critique of religious and political ideologies.

2.  Linked specifically to theological education

How to provide the general components of the Anglican Way in denominational and ecumenical education and formation:

  1. Identify and assess existing resources on the Anglican Way, including printed resources, courses and research programmes, audio-visuals, web resources, individuals, study centres, translations, etc.
  2. Analysis of current level of teaching on the Anglican Way across the Communion.
  3. Assess the relative merits of different modes of communication of the Anglican Way, especially for each of the four Target Groups and for theological educators.
  4. Identification of new resources needed.
  5. Recommendations on delivery of existing and new resources.

Resources

Initially, a ‘Resources Target Group’ was envisaged which would have been activated at a later stage in the process.  It is worth recording how its brief was originally conceived by TEAC.

  1. It will ask the question ‘What resources have the Target Groups identified?’
  2. It will then seek to collate and evaluate the resources identified.
  3. It will correlate modes of theological education and appropriate resources.
  4. It will ask whether we have the right resources for the different ways we need to be engaging in theological education for the varied Target Groups.
  5. It will make recommendations for the integration of provision, including possibly suggesting and/or developing new resources:
    • Communion-wide – including funding issues
    • In a variety of languages – this is very important
    • With new models of learning
    • Across the Target Groups
    • Regionally
    • Provincially
    • At diocesan level
    • Ecumenically – including material useful for other denominations
    • By ‘Barefoot theologians’ – those willing to give time and experience - perhaps towards retirement - to “wander around encouraging people to read the Bible together” (+RDW)
    • Through T.E.E.
    • Residentially
    • By I.C.T., Anglican Communion Web Portal, network neighbourhoods and CD ROMs.

 

Christ our Teacher,
you alone are the way, the truth and the life:
so lead the Theological Education group in its work,
building trust and understanding,
that, in sharing our stories, vision and resources,
all your people may grow in faith
and your whole Church built up in love,
in the power of the Holy Spirit
and to the glory of the Father.
Amen.
Colleen O’Reilly