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Title: Through the looking glass : a biographical study of the experiences of candidates undergoing discernment of vocation to ordained ministry in the Church of England
Author: Mason, Jane
ISNI:       0000 0001 3620 7386
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2004
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The Church of England is facing a human resource crisis, arising from a discrepancy between the numbers of clergy retiring from full-time stipendiary ministry and those entering training. The discernment of potential vocations to ordained ministry is therefore a pertinent issue, with the system for discerning such vocations being subject to much change and development over the last ten years. Although the Ministry Division of the Church of England has conducted several reviews during that period, none has approached the discernment process from a specifically experiential perspective. Equally, no research prior to this study has considered discernment of vocation to priesthood in its entirety, fromthe emergence of personal intuition of calling, through the various diocesan procedures, to the national Selection Conference. This study employs a biographical approach to examine the experiences of a group of candidates for ordination training who attended national Selection Conferences during the year 2000. It is argued that, as a type of biographical enquiry, discernment of vocation requires a profound appreciation of the ramiAcations of socio-cultural context, and the role of pre-understandings in human interactions. It is shown that, where such awareness is lacking, personal bias may affect interpretations of the highly individualised experience of calling to ordained ministry. The findings suggest that enhancement of the training offered to discernment personnel, both in practical inter-personal skills, and in raising awareness of the assumptions underpinning their own world-views, would benefit all concerned. The study concludes that considered implementation of some of the theoretical approaches and practical skills of secular vocational guidance could enrich the discernment process, and could mitigate the negative experiences recorded by some participants in this study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available