Formation is a life-long process by which persons grow and mature as disciples of Christ. It is multidimensional including growth in knowledge, skills, beliefs, attitudes, values and relationship with God. Formation is about being as well as doing. It involves becoming who we are called to be in Christ.
Formation happens in community. It is in relationships with others in the Christian church that disciples grow and mature. We need to learn from, encourage and challenge one another.
“Candidates” is the word we use for those who engage in a particular formation process during which they move from being active lay members of the church to taking on the role of an ordained minister in the church.
Phase 1 involves undertaking a Period of Discernment (POD) which is a structured process that allows you to formally explore the ways in which God may be calling you into ministry (refer to our Becoming a Minister page).
During Phase 2, candidates will deepen their knowledge of scripture and the faith, learn new skills for ministry, be challenged to rethink their theology and beliefs, display aptitude for leadership, become comfortable in a new identity as an ordained person, and reflect on issues of power, boundaries, and self-care.
Through formation, candidates need to develop a self-aware, discerning self-confidence that is affirmed by the church. When they are ordained, they will be responsible for the formation of other disciples and will commit themselves to a process of ongoing learning. They will take on new responsibilities in the church as guardians of the faith and will be accountable to the church in new ways.
Formation Programme at Perth Theological Hall
The regular formation programme at Perth Theological Hall is a mixture of formation in community, academic study, field education and broader engagement with the church.
Candidates take part in regular meetings with other candidates on the first and third Wednesday of the month during academic semesters. These formation days cover worship, community time, subject-specific learning for each semester, reflection on learning in ministry and other topics. There is also a range of intensives throughout the year that focuses on specific ministry preparation.
Candidates also enrol at a theological college after a discussion with the faculty.
Ministers from other Denominations
Ministers from other denominations seek to be part of the Uniting Church and there is a transfer process for recognition. The General Secretary’s office provides clear guidelines on the process and admission is not complete until a minister has been called and served in a Uniting Church placement for twelve months.
To assist with this transition, CEDAL offers 2 to 3-day courses on:
- Basis of Union and key documents
- Code of Ethics
- Rites of passage
- Working Interculturally
- Covenanting with First Peoples
- Australian colonial history and culture
- Church polity and ethos of the UCA