PT 430: Pastoral Practice

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Module Level

9/8/7: MTh/HDip/Dip

Time Allowance




Module Aims

The Pastoral Practice module lies at the intersection of academic study and placement education through the practice of ministry in a given context. It offers theological and professional preparation for ministry. It provides a unique opportunity for students to engage directly with pastoral practice as part of their ministerial formation, in supervised ministry placements. It strives to integrate the activities of thinking and acting theologically, while trusting that theology informs pastoral practice and lived practice informs theology. Theological Reflection within peer groups is a concomitant process with pastoral practice, where students analyse and reflect on encounters, events, and experiences from the pastoral placement.

Placement Education consists of the following:

  • A minimum of 10-12/19 hours contact time (depending on the module level) per week of ‘placement’ ministry in a Teaching Pastoral Context.
  • Support and dialogue with an on-site Placement Contact Person, or his/her Designated Alternate.
  • Two supervised visits from an assigned Pastoral Placement Supervisor.
  • Engagement in personal ongoing planning and reflection, facilitating immersion in ministry placement.
  • Ongoing consultation meetings with an assigned SPCM staff mentor.

Three periods of Block Placement are scheduled during the year: during the January semester, at the beginning of Lent, and during Holy Week. These block placements extend the hours of contact time to 16-18/22-25 hours per week. The purpose of these block placements is:

  • To facilitate a fuller immersion in the context;
  • To gain an understanding of the weekly shape and rhythm of life within the placement setting;
  • To provide the opportunity to have experiences not normally available to the student when in class on Thursdays and Fridays.

Theological Reflection Group (TRG) consists of the following:

  • Small peer support groups guided by experienced TRG facilitators.
  • Students present a Teaching Placement Profile within their group, to provide peers with suitable context for understanding one another’s placement experiences.
  • In each week of classes, one student prepares a written reflection on an experience from his/her placement and presents it within his/her group for the purpose of peer reflection.
  • Each student presents a minimum of three reflections, using each of the following methods of reflection at least once: critical incident, verbatim, and case study.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • The process and methodology of theological reflection: critical incident, verbatim, and case study.
  • Exploration of ministry, theological reflection, and supervision.
  • Issues arising: self-awareness, ministerial identity, integrity, boundaries, effective communication.
  • Evaluation processes of self and peer group.

Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the module, students will:
  • • Develop a realistic view of pastoral contexts and ministries.
  • • Gain professional competency and refine pastoral skills, ministerial theology, and vocational ministerial identity.
  • • Cultivate effective leadership qualities while inspiring and enabling others to fulfil their baptismal callings and ministerial responsibilities.
  • • Develop an ability to prepare and animate pastoral activities in pastoral settings, demonstrating an understanding of the relevance of such activities in light of pastoral needs, practices, and customs in the pastoral setting.
  • • Become competent as reflective theologians in pastoral practice.
  • • Develop a reflective process for personal and group reflection.
  • • Become familiar with the practice of a number of models and methods for reflecting theologically.
  • • Develop an ability to give and receive constructive feedback on ministry practice, and theological values and beliefs.
  • • Develop an ability to integrate their human and spiritual formation with their academic study and pastoral experience.
  • • Develop the ability to discern God’s activity in the midst of experience, informing, shaping, judging, directing, affirming and inspiring ministry.


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  • Ward Frances. Lifelong Learning: Theological Education and Supervision. London: SCM Press, 2005.
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