Tuesday 20 June 2023

Revised Church of England Ministerial Training Curriculum

In its  most radical step forward since Cuddesden tried to produce some working-class clergy (an innovation that has mostly been abandoned), the Church of England's Department of Evolution not Revolution has proposed sweeping changes to the way it trains its clergy.

"We've not really moved forward from the old Victorian model," said Head of Innovation, Harriet Spaceley. "Then, a young man would be given a vague grounding in the Bible, a bit of Greek, and then 3-6 years with not much to do except preach on Trinity Sunday and have lunch with the Vicar once a month. This would prepare him for a future in dabbling in butterfly-collecting, plant classification or inventing collective nouns, with a bit of visiting the poor.
"But the world has changed. With the decreasing number of young-retired middle-class people available to populate PCCs, clergy are having to develop a much wider toolkit.
"Add to that, after decades of talking about clergy "formation", we suddenly realised we had no idea what we'd been forming. But we are aware that we've produced generations of people whose main interest is in what interesting changes they can make to the reredos."

With that in mind, the proposed new curriculum includes those skills that clergy didn't realise they needed while training, but suddenly have to acquire in the new world. After a six-week crash course in a thing called "Theology", modules will now include:

Drystone walling
Electrical engineering (for lightning conductors and fuse boxes)
The Wildlife Protection Act
Oil Boiler Maintenance
Geology (for working out where the church is going to subside next)
Charity fundraising
Email marketing
The Local Government Act
The chemistry of Calcium Carbonate
How to tell cow parsley from giant hogweed (a practical, but not hands-on, module)
Time management
Web design
Animal husbandry (for pet services and bats)
Dispute resolution
The Health and Safety at Work Act
Grade 3 Kazoo or Comb and Paper (for when the organist forgets where they are supposed to be)
Project Management
"People made in God's Image" and how to avoid them
How to get wax out of carpets
Structural engineering (already surprisingly common in fact)
Tactfully dealing with unwanted second-hand donations (Masters-level course available)
Linen ironing
Cat hearding.


  1. All items an absolute must, and I’m sure that there are some others that could be added as a retreat🙏🏻

  2. Defunct vacuum cleaners are an offering pleasing to the Lord

  3. Can you add finding long lost relatives buried somewhere in the churchyard with no records, and secret ashes scattered randomly without fees being collected?

  4. Should I call the Deliverance team? A practical course for those who insist on using office printers and/or Microsoft word.

  5. I'd add a module in :
    Advanced Document Collation
    Communicating baffling CofE policy to gay couples seeking marriage in church (related module on baptism available).
    Strategic Bucket Placement
    The Faith Workers' Branch of Unite and why Clergy Should join.
    How to handle being told you are a medium.
    Managing Disappointment
    Avoiding Clergy Marriage Breakdown
    Comparing anc contrasting legal employment with Office Holder status.
    Shall I go on...?

  6. How to access the magic money tree to access funds to keep Victorian rectories warm and in good repair.

  7. cat herding - unless it's a study of listening to cats?

  8. Just don't mention the hospels

  9. There was some chappie at Cuddesdon in my day who
    looked suspiciously working-class - he'd been to a school with neither cadet force nor fives court, and then to some ghastly redbrick university somewhere in the Midlands, or perhaps East Anglia, or Yorkshire. Or was it the north-west?

    He only lasted a term, having never really got to grips with the compulsory croquet on the curriculum, so we all assumed he'd simply transferred to Salisbury & Wells, but there's emerging evidence that in reality he was stuffed, placed in a glass case Jeremy Bentham style, and is wheeled out at meetings of the Trustees as a mute witness to college diversity.


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl