Bishop Gregor Duncan writes:
This year, all seven diocesan bishops have agreed that, in their Lent Appeals, they wish to support the training and formation of those entering the ordained ministry or licensed lay ministry in the Scottish Episcopal Church. In commending my 2015 Lent Appeal to you, I do so alongside each of my fellow bishops in their respective dioceses.
2014 was a year of significant change in the Scottish Episcopal Church. It saw the creation of the new the constant gardener essay (SEI), which replaces the former Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church (TISEC). The ethos of SEI has a very intentional emphasis on formation – the shaping of a person for ministerial functions and ensuring that the person has sufficient maturity in Christ to carry those functions. The Rev Canon Dr Anne Tomlinson was appointed Principal of SEI in August and Dr Mike Hull joined as Director of Studies early this year. The role of the Rev Canon Dr Alison Peden, the Provincial Director of Ordinands, has also been expanded from one day per week to a two thirds role which will enable candidates to be accompanied from the early stages of the recruitment and selection process throughout the entire period of their initial ministerial education.
Changes in provincial structures, to create a new body called the Institute Council, to act as the governing body of SEI, received initial approval at General Synod 2014 and will come for final approval later this year. Once that process has been completed, SEI will be formally launched.
Already, we are encouraged by the numbers of potential younger candidates exploring vocation and, funds permitting, we hope to be able to offer full-time training as a possible pathway for some in the future.
General Synod 2014 received the proposals regarding SEI with enthusiasm and the Bishops also indicated then that we would act in concert with our Lent Appeals in 2015. Members of Synod gave practical voice to their enthusiasm by offering personal financial contributions there and then. In acting together in the 2015 Lent Appeals, all the bishops hope that the Scottish Episcopal Church as a whole will similarly be willing to support this important work.