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Presbyterian Ministry Candidates

Applying

Initial stages:

Those considering the ministry of Word and Sacraments in the Presbyterian Church of Victoria must initially:

(a) notify their own minister;

(b) apply to the clerk of their Presbytery, who shall guide them in their application; and

(c) confer with the Principal at the Theological College. Please call the College to book an appointment.

An applicant must have been a communicant member of a congregation within the Presbyterian Church of Australia for at least six months prior to applying.

Application form:

The clerk of the Presbytery may provide the appropriate form, or otherwise this  may be provided when conferring with the Principal at PTC. An explanation of the application process is included in that paperwork.

Thereafter:

The process involves interviews with Session, Presbytery and the Theological Education Committee. A successful outcome results in the applicant being admitted as a candidate, on probation for (usually, and at least) one year. Thereafter, there lies the confirmation of candidacy, moving towards the goal, which is 'exiting' the college, being 'licensed' by the Presbytery to preach the Word, and being assigned to a parish by the Exit Students Committee of the General Assembly of Victoria.

PTC enrollment:

Note that being admitted to probationary candidature is not the same as enrolling at PTC. To enrol at PTC, the usual procedure must be followed: completion of the PTC application form, and a meeting with the Academic Dean to select subjects.

Programme of Training

The programme involves four years of full-time training. 

Background Units

  • Study skills (intensive)
  • English Language and Literature (intensive)
  • Philosophy (intensive)
  • Biblical Theology (intensive)

Biblical Studies Units

  • Hebrew (1 year)
  • Greek (1 year)
  • Old Testament Introduction (1 year) 
  • New Testament Introduction (1 year)
  • Old Testament  Exegesis (2 years: 1 year Hebrew; 1 year Hebrew or English at the student’s discretion)
  • New Testament Greek Exegesis (2 years)

Christian Thought Units

  • Church History Introduction (1 year, incl. historiography)
  • Reformation History (1 semester)
  • Systematic Theology (2 years)
  • Ethics (intensive)
  • Apologetics (intensive)
  • Westminster Confession of Faith (1 semester)
  • Australian Presbyterian Church History (intensive)

Practical Units

  • Evangelism
  • Ministry Formation
  • Pastoral Care (1 year)
  • Supervised Field Education (4 years - 2 years at degree level)
  • Preaching (1 year)
  • Biblical Theology of Mission (1 semester)
  • 1 Cross-cultural unit (1 semester)
  • Worship (intensive)
  • Presbyterian Polity (intensive)

The four-year programme map can be downloaded here.

Programme

Degree integration

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia requires candidates to be trained at degree standard. Thus, candidates are  typically enrolled in one or more of the undergraduate or graduate awards of the Australian College of Theology. Candidates can work towards a combined BTh/BMin or MDiv/GradDipDiv, by undertaking four degree units per semester over four years.

College involvement

Candidates are under the supervision of the Faculty, and are required to attend daily chapel, and the annual Ministry Conference, MA intensive, Open Day, Commencement Service and Closing Dinner.

Supervised Field Education

*** The Supervised Learning Experience Handbook is available for download.

The Supervised Field Education (SFE) is the element of training in which students are actively involved in ministry and in reflection on this ministry in congregational and other settings.

Definitions

Student: A ministry candidate enrolled at PTC or a student enrolled in an SFE subject.

SFE Trainer: A person requested by PTC to provided personal training for a student during a ministry placement.

SFE Co-ordinator: The person responsible for organising the SFE program - at present Nello Barbieri, PCV Training Officer.

Semester: SFE appointments are usually made from year to year. The year runs from February to November. Semester 1 is from February to June and Semester 2 is from July to November.

Aims

The aims of the SFE program are to assist students to develop:

  • ministry competencies and skills that are appropriate to their future ministry roles;
  • an awareness of issues and dynamics in congregational life and ministry and in the  denominational setting; and
  • an awareness of the culture and society in which they minister and its impact on ministry.

The goals of SFE relate to ministry formation. The PTC course of training also involves theological formation and spiritual formation. The course is integrated, so SFE will involve aspects of ‘theological formation’ and ‘spiritual formation’, however these are not the primary focus of SFE.

Method

Ordinarily a student is enrolled in SFE over 4 years (8 semesters). During the first two years, SFE involves having a certain number of sermons reviewed and attending college mission. In the latter two years, SFE is much more involved (see below). The major element of SFE in the latter two years is training in a ministry placement with an SFE Trainer.

 

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Sermon Review

2 sermons reviewed by faculty

4 sermons reviewed by faculty

6 sermons - 4 reviewed by faculty

6 sermons - 4 reviewed by faculty

College Mission

Urban Mission

Rural Mission

Urban Mission

Overseas Mission

Parish Placement

Nil

Nil

4 hrs per week in an assigned church

8 hrs per week in an assigned church

Lectures

Nil

Nil

PC442/642

PC443/643

Summer Placement

Nil

Nil

Nil

4- 6 weeks

Finances

Scholarship: the total course fees of candidates for the mininstry of the Presbyterian Church of Australia are covered by funding from the General Assembly of Victoria.

Bursary: a limited number of small bursaries (living allowances) are available to candidates. Further information regarding the nature of these bursaries is available on application to the Principal. These bursaries are not normally available to those receiving Austudy.

Austudy: full-time candidates working towards combined degrees (see above) may be eligible for Youth Allowance or Austudy for the full four years of study. The College does not advise re Austudy eligibility, but a Government information booklet can be provided on request from PTC office.