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Title: Route planning : mapping journeys to priesthood in the Church of England
Author: Bloor, Amanda
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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Research suggests that the well-being of clergy in the Church of England is closely tied to the way that they feel about themselves, their vocation and their employer. Yet whilst successive studies have investigated the role of the Church in contemporary society, the impact of secularism and the professionalisation of the ordained ministry, little attention has been paid to the formation of new priests and the way in which this shapes their self-understanding and identity. This longitudinal study follows men and women from their earliest days in theological training into their first parishes, asking what it is that they hope to be doing, what the Church appears to be training them to do, and what it is that they find expected of them after ordination. It questions whether new entrants to the profession have realistic models of what contemporary priestly ministry involves or whether they try to hold onto idealised, romantic visions of priesthood. In rapidly changing contexts and within an increasingly sceptical landscape, do they have the personal and institutional resources to grow and flourish? Do they find strategies to cope with the divergence between their hopes and the realities they experience, or does uncertainty about their role, and a divergence between the personal and the normative, lead to dissonance and alienation? Utilising qualitative techniques and a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, semi-structured annual research interviews allow the investigation of critical incidents and experiences that prove crucial to the development or inhibition of a priestly identity. The thesis takes a chronological approach based on the metaphor of a journey, considering the images of priesthood that inspire vocations, examining the experiences of those training for ordained ministry, identifying the ways in which they attempt to integrate theory with practice, and discovering how the process has shaped their expectations and identities. It makes acknowledgement of the effects of the research process upon the researcher, and makes proposals to the Church for improved practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available