Transforming the communities of Essex & East London through Christ’s presence

They are not people who know all the answers. But they are men and women of prayer; people who reflect on the dilemmas of modern life in the light of the Bible and Christian tradition, and people who want to communicate to others the message of Christ through caring action.

There are three training options available for those who feel called to pastoral ministry.

1.  Essential Pastoral Care Course 

This is a self-led five session (10 hour) course to look at the principles of pastoral care. It is ideal for small groups and can be led by anyone who has pastoral care experience and has the skills necessary to lead a group. It aims to develop understanding of the nature of pastoral care, in visiting and listening.

To view or download the course please click here.

The Pastoral Assistants’ Training Programme comprises of two parts, beginning with a foundation course. This can be a stand-alone module for those who would just like to focus on developing their awareness and understanding of the pastoral care role and the skills needed. 

For those who feel called to the role of Pastoral Assistant after discussion with their minister if agreed, can apply to continue training to attend part two of the course this module involves both study and a practical placement.

2.  Resourcing Pastoral Carers - Foundation Course (Part One)

This course will enable you to develop your understanding of pastoral care from a Christian perspective and to become more effective in relating to and caring for the people and communities around you.  It provides greater depth and breadth of topics than the 'Essential Pastoral Care' course.

Who should attend the course:

  • Those who see themselves helping others informally in their daily relationships and who desire to learn more about pastoral care generally without being part of a pastoral care team
  • Those who are members of a pastoral care team and who desire to learn more about pastoral care in order to help others both informally and formally
  • Those in church leadership or who have specific church roles and who desire to develop their awareness of pastoral care in order to support those for whom they have responsibility
  • Those who wish to help others in specific community and workplace settings and desire to learn more about pastoral care in outreach and mission
  • Those who desire to explore and pursue a call to pastoral care

How does the course work?

A number of trainer led group sessions totalling 22 ½ hours, available in each episcopal area annually. The training sessions will include group discussion, sharing of experiences and ideas, practice of skills and individual and group reflection. 

  • course member will be asked to briefly share a caring situation – their feelings, reactions etc.
  • course members will be asked to share how a book, article from the internet, etc. has helped them in caring for others

At the end of the course you will receive a Certificate of Attendance if you attend at least 90% of the course and completion of the two reflective exercises. 

Currently Resourcing Pastoral Care courses in 2022 will be available via zoom.  Please click here to download a poster with the dates and times of courses commencing in January 2022.

Please fill out an application form, by clicking here. and return it to Di Hardy  Your incumbent/minister must also endorse your application by emailing Di Hardy.

Pastoral Assistant Course (Part Two)

On completion of the Resourcing Pastoral Carers course those who are called to develop their abilities and who will exercise a leadership role in this ministry, will be encouraged to discuss their calling and future role with their minister and vocations adviser. Once agreed and supported by their incumbent and PCC, application to continue their training can be made. This 6 month module will equip them to use their gifts and skills with a view to leading or setting up a team of pastoral visitors. The training will provide an opportunity for a supervised placement outside of the candidate’s usual context in one of the pastoral agencies or chaplaincies (prison, hospital, hospice etc). This will be supported by six (monthly) study sessions of theological reflection on pastoral care, covering specific topics and collaborative working. Successful completion of the course will lead to local authorisation as a Pastoral Assistant.

Permission to minister as a Pastoral Assistant will come from the parish incumbent and Parochial Church Council on behalf of the parish through a local commissioning service. A certificate will be presented at a service in the Cathedral on successful completion of this programme.

If you think that God is calling you to pastoral ministry begin by praying about it and discuss it with your parish minister and the local Vocations Adviser. Application for selection for training is made by the candidate and his/her parish.

It is expected that Pastoral Assistants will attend the Course in Christian Studies (CCS) or equivalent, within 3 years of completing their training. CCS is a two year course and it’s syllabus covers the Bible; Church history; creeds; sacraments; spirituality; discipleship and ethics.  For more information about CCS please click here.


More Information

If you are interested in Pastoral Ministry and would like further information about training opportunities please contact:

Mrs Diane Hardy, Lay Course Administrator,
Diocesan Office, 53 New Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1AT
Tel: 01245 294449 Email:


The Diocesan Pastoral Assistants Training Co-ordinator:

Hazel Kempton
Diocesan Office, 53 New Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1AT

For more information please contact Judy Cecil
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