This department arranges the education, training and support of Connexional ministers. However, taking ministry in its wider sense, it aims to support Christian service in as wide a context as possible. It offers the following services:
Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Regarding Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals
7th April 2020
There should be no baptisms until further notice because of the closure of churches. You should keep in contact with the families concerned and rearrange when the situation becomes clear on when our churches can re-open.
In line with Government guidelines weddings should not take place until further notice. Where a wedding is postponed, you will need to work with the couple to help them find a suitable future date.
Funerals can, and should, continue in the name of the Independent Methodist Church as part of our pastoral response to the Coronavirus crisis. However, the Connexion advises that Independent Methodist Church buildings should not be used for funerals whilst our buildings are closed. You should try to hold simple graveside or crematorium services only please.
You should try to make the arrangements by remote media (telephone, Skype, video conference etc).
The number of people attending the funeral should be kept to a minimum – only immediate family members may attend (if the crematorium allows) – that is, spouse or partner, parents and children, keeping social distancing in the prescribed way. Those over the age of 70 and those with an underlying health condition are strongly discouraged from attending any funeral in the present circumstances.
The service may be broadcast via social media or recorded to be shared later. The minister should explain to people what is happening (especially those not physically present).
The service should include prayers and a message of Christian hope.
There is no requirement for a musician to be present.
Do not use communal hymn books or service books.
People should avoid social contact, such as hugging.
There should be no social gathering such as a wake before or after the service.
Consideration should be given to offering a memorial service when the emergency is over.
Local councils will have guidance around what is possible or permissible in crematoria and cemeteries.
This does not serve as a training course for the denominational ministry but caters for those seeking education in biblical and theological subjects who may be looking to equip themselves for specific areas of service. It provides:
- Studies in the Bible, Christian theology and other subjects relevant to Christian service.
- Tutorial support – reference books, teaching notes and aids to study are supplied for enrolled students and their tutors.
- Regular assessment of students’ course work and annual report on progress.
- Two study weekends each year.
Ministry Training and Accreditation
The training and education of candidates for the ministry is currently under review and is expected to be out-sourced in the future. Where appropriate qualifications have been achieved, the Ministry department oversees the recognition as Connexional ministers of those successful candidates whose call to the ministry of preaching, sacraments and pastoral care is validated by their local churches, circuits and the Connexion. This includes the provision and issue of certificates. It also offers guidance to churches on the acceptance of ministers and will participate in Commissioning Services where requested.
Several services are offered to ministers and others to help their spiritual growth, including:
- An annual conference which is aimed at Ministers and Students but open to others.
- Supply of Christian books to Connexional ministers at half cost.
- Financial and other assistance to ministers ‘in necessitous circumstances’ where approved by the relevant officers.
- Advice and financial assistance for those wishing to attend or undertake an approved course of study.
- Occasional publications on subjects relevant to ministry.
- Development of relevant study guides for group use.
- Provision of the Services’ Handbook which contains suggested forms for special services.
- Advice by telephone, letter or visit on an individual basis.
- Promoting theological reflection on matters concerning our relationships with other denominations.
- Keeping a watching brief on current issues of a moral or ethical nature.
To speak to the officer responsible for education, then contact Shaun Newton, and for ministry queries contact Len Ogilvie. For telephone enquiries, please contact the Registered Office on 01942 223526.