Aims of the Institute

Aims of the Institute

The Theological Institute is responsible for ministerial formation and lay training within the context of the Bishops’ Vision for ‘Growth, Unity and Service’ in the life and witness of the Church of Ireland. Under God the Institute seeks to be a learning environment which embodies the principles of Christian community and the values of Christian discipleship. It is the prayer and commitment of all who are involved in CITI that those who study here will be equipped for the task of fulfilling the Great Commission, to serve the Church and to reach the world. In pursuing this, we constantly strive after excellence and in everything we desire to emulate and honour Jesus Christ.

The Church has identified eleven key ministerial characteristics which form the primary filter for all that the Institute seeks to deliver – spirituality, theological reflection, pastoral care, vision, leadership, worship and preaching, worship and liturgy, communicating the faith, management and change, administration and vocation.

In the light of this, training for the ordained ministry is not only, or even primarily, about learning things which are then put into practice, but could be more appropriately understood as a process of discernment and ‘growing into ministry’.

The emphasis in all our courses is not merely to do with lectures, classes and assignments, but is more holistically concerned with the development and formation of the whole person. The blend throughout is one of worship, community, study and the connections between all of these and both personal and ministerial practice. Given that students come from all over Ireland, there is a broad variety of experience and background and this in turn makes for richly diverse communal life in which learning from one another can be just as important as that which is more formally taught.

At CITI, students are encouraged to strive for academic excellence in their studies. The Institute aims to foster a working environment which promotes integrated learning across the core disciplines of biblical studies, systematic theology and practical ministry. Having been selected for training, the opportunity to study and explore the Christian faith is a precious privilege, and whilst there can occasionally be tensions and difficulties which arise from being part of such a close-knit, learning community, students are expected to conduct themselves with appropriate maturity and self-discipline.

Worship is central to the Institute life as indeed it is to the wider family of the Church. There is full and varied spectrum of worship experience which is grounded in the spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer, but which also allows for the devising of ‘fresh expressions’ for worship. Being thus established in the rhythms of word and sacrament, the aim is that students are fully prepared for the twin tasks of serving the continuing church and engaging missionally with the modern world. Corporate prayer runs according to a weekly pattern and students are also advised of the essential nature of a daily practice of private prayer and devotion.

The Aims and Aspirations of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute have been shaped by the Bishops of the Church of Ireland through the Ministry Formation Project which was a major review that resulted in the creation of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. More details on the project in the background section. These then are the key aims and aspirations articulated by the Bishops and presented to the church that the Institute is seeking to fulfil.

 

The Central Aims of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute

  • To equip fully all members of the church ordained and lay to fulfil effectively the church’s mission in 21st century Ireland
  • To ensure that the methods we use to train people, will throughout, effectively connect learning and practice
  • To ensure that the training is an enriching experience for all of our church traditions
  • Additional Overall Aspirations
  • To nurture gifting for ministry and mission in an entirely new and ever-changing social context
  • To deepen spiritual self-awareness and theological wisdom
  • To develop holiness and integrity of character
  • To initiate a process of lifelong learning and deepening vocation

Ordained Characteristics

The Bishops have also produced a clear articulation of their view of the Mission of the Church (link) and the characteristics they would like to see develop during training and formation. These cover the following areas.

  • Spirituality
  • Theological Reflection
  • Pastoral Care
  • Vision
  • Leadership
  • Worship and Preaching
  • Worship and Liturgy
  • Communicating the Faith
  • Management and Change
  • Administration
  • Vocation

Full details of the Ordained characteristics and the various developmental stages can be found here

Academic Aspirations

  • That the academic pathways connect with universally recognisable levels of academic accreditation
  • The use of different styles and approaches to learning that help students make the connection
  • To inculcate the principles of lifelong learning
  • An academic approach that is relevant and inspiring for all age groups

Relational Community

  • A relational community that is focused and purposeful
  • One that creates an environment that facilitates families and family relationships
  • One that is undergirded by worship and prayer

Governance

That the Governing Council of the Theological Institute will:-

  • Ensure that the aspirations of the House of Bishops as articulated in this project plan are being met
  • Ensure that the Theological institute is operating to principle of best of class in terms of learning and preparation for mission and service
  • Ensure compliance with all legal, financial, health and safety and personnel standards
  • Be aware of and have concern for the morale and motivation of staff and students

Infrastructure

  • To ensure that we have a high quality facility capable of supporting these aims
  • That it will be a facility that will help build community and be an attractive place to reside
  • Financial
  • There are a variety of financial aspirations that spring from the movement of plant that are aimed at improving the effectiveness of our training

Other

Other key aims for the theological institute are:-

  1. To eliminate the disparities between stipendiary and non-stipendiary. Whether a residential or non-residential track is selected the aim is for it to lead to equality of academic qualification and ministry opportunity
  2. To ensure that the needs of married families are properly catered for – such that families are given maximum support in a variety of way should they wish to choose a residential option.