Flexible training options
If you are accepted for ministry training, you will be allocated to one of the training pathways delivered by the Queen’s Foundation, Birmingham:
- Two-year, full time (as your main occupation, living at home or in Birmingham: during the Autumn Term, Spring Term and half the Summer Term you will normally be studying at Queen’s Monday to Thursday, including local ministerial practice; during the second half of your first Summer Term you will be undertaking a placement).
- Three-year, part-time – the Queen’s Connexional Course (alongside your work and other commitments, based at home: mostly online learning, with regular Skype seminars, and ministerial practice locally and on placement, with an annual residential week and seven weekends at Queen’s).
- Three year, full-time – Circuit-based Learning (as your main occupation, living at home, combining Queen’s-based learning and a substantial proportion of reflective practice in a suitable circuit - the first year will be spent on either the part-time or full-time ordinary pathway). See details of the Circuit-based Learning Pathway (Pdf)
You are most likely to flourish on a full-time pathway if you:
- thrive in diverse, busy environments, and like learning quickly, moving rapidly from one piece of learning to another
- have significant prior learning that can be built on and developed, which is easier to do in a full-time than a part-time setting
- have secure financial arrangements and are realistic about living on a bursary
- might need specialist support, for example for learning needs such as dyslexia, which is easier to provide in a full-time than a part-time setting
You are most likely to flourish on a part-time pathway if you:
- are a confident self-starter in your learning
- are technically confident to manage e-learning
- need longer to process learning and to absorb this before engaging with new learning
- are realistically able to attend residential events at the Queen’s Foundation (currently seven weekends and one residential week in each year)
- have secure financial arrangements that will allow you to take on this additional task with confidence
This is indicative of some of the reasons why people have found it beneficial to be on these pathways - the options will be carefully explored in relation to each accepted candidate.
We will talk through the pathway options with you and, as far as possible, take account of your own preferences and any constraints, such as family responsibilities - the final decision is made by the Allocations Panel.
See the Queen’s website for the most up to date pathway information – www.queens.ac.uk/what/minform/methodist/college
- What’s it like to study on the different pathways?
Full-time, permanent resident and student deacon, Michelle G
I am currently a first year student studying at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham, training to become a deacon. I was brought up in a Baptist family and accepted the Christian faith as my own at the age of ten; I was baptised six years later.
For the greater part of my adult life I have been a primary school teacher, with my first teaching job being in the East End of London. After a couple of years I moved down to the New Forest, where I joined the local Methodist Church. In response to a sense of call, I left education to become a ‘Community Outreach Worker’ for the local circuit, during which time I candidated for the diaconal ministry.
Part of the discernment process involved deciding which training pathway was right for me. Being on my own, my children now adults, I was free to train as a full time residential member of the Queen’s community; I felt that I could therefore immerse myself more fully in community life and the formation process. This has worked very well for me, but it can sometimes be very intense and so an outside interest is to be recommended (mine is dancing modern jive). There has been a good balance between the academic modules and those aimed more at our ministerial formation. I feel that the ‘Foundations for Reflective Practice in Context’ module of the course has been particularly practical and has prepared us well.
Circuit-based Learning Pathway, James G
My first year of training as a presbyter at Queen’s was on the three-year, part-time route. However, when the opportunity arose, I applied to transfer to the Circuit-based Learning Pathway (CBLP) for the latter two years of my training.
CBLP allows me to live at home with my family while studying part-time and working part-time in a neighbouring circuit. This year I have been based at a church in Oxford where I have gained experience of supporting the church’s mission in its community. Three days a week (including Sunday) have been spent at the church, working with the congregation on projects such as a foodbank and a toddler group, as well as preaching on the circuit plan. Another three days each week have been spent studying – mostly at home but also following the pattern of weekends and Easter School away at Queen’s alongside the other part-time students.
Gaining practical experience alongside the study has been invaluable. Before candidating I was a music teacher and I’d found the combination of practical and theoretical learning really helpful in my teacher training. Not only has the experience in circuit provided a context for modules we have studied this year (such as mission and evangelism), but it has also enabled me to develop practical skills that I will need once stationed as a probationer. Perhaps the most import of these has been how to manage my diary to ensure that I get a day off each week and take some holiday!
Part-time Queen’s Connexional Course, Tim B
For the past three years I have been studying on the part-time pathway towards a degree in Theology, Ministry and Mission at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham. I have balanced this against full time work in the IT industry, where I have spent 30 years, most recently as IT Director for a large retail company in Lancashire.
I have really enjoyed studying on this pathway as it has allowed me to balance the needs of my family with ministerial training, whilst still feeling a deep sense of support and belonging to a community in formation. The pathway has balanced distance learning with residential weekends and regular online tutorial groups with Methodist colleagues from all over the country. I have had a number of opportunities for practical experience, in a local link church, on a rural summer placement and interfaith visits, covering a broad spectrum of ministry. There have been some challenges along the way, most especially juggling assignment deadlines with working life, but, fortunately, my workplace have been understanding on the days I have needed to get away to write an essay!
Returning to study later in life has not been without its challenges, but I have found the pace of the part time pathway allows for my more reflective learning style and have been well supported by tutors and colleagues. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time studying with Queen’s and am excited, ready and prepared for my next steps in full time ministry in circuit from September.
Full-time weekly commuting, Doreen K
I am a full-time student presbyter and I chose the full time weekly commuter pathway (Monday-Thursday). This is because although this pathway is intense, it gives me the space and time that I need to focus, to be a part of the community and have full access to the facilities round the clock. Although I do sometimes find being away from my husband, young son and the weekly commuting to be a bit of a challenge. I nonetheless see the good and the bad, the struggles and joy, as all being a part of my spiritual journey as I move closer to follow the call of God to ordained ministry.
- What commitments are involved?
If the Methodist Conference accepts you as a candidate that decision will mark the beginning of a reciprocal arrangement. The Conference makes some commitments to you and you make some to the Conference:
The Conference promises to:
- offer to you all that you need to equip yourself to fulfil your calling
- care for you (which may involve a significant contribution towards meeting your training costs) and ensure that when stationed you are provided with a manse and stipend
- enable you to gain experience in the life of ministry
- test your call and not ordain you unless both you and the Church are utterly persuaded that God is indeed calling you
- watch over you through the ministry of experienced tutors and supervisors
You promise to:
- undertake the training programme which is prescribed
- be open about your needs and live as one dependent on the generous giving of others
- go where you are sent to gain experience in the life of ministry
- enter fully into the process of testing and accept its outcome with grace
- be open to the insights of experienced tutors and supervisors, to live within the discipline of the Church and the training institution, and to shape your practice of ministry accordingly