IME Phase 2 Yrs 2 and 3: Assignment Guidelines: The Case Studies (non-validated)

NB. Curates whose work is being validated by the University of Chester or the University of Durham should refer to the separate guidelines in Programme Information. For Curates whose work is being validated by the University of Chester this corresponds to “Reflection on Ministerial Practice I” and “Reflection on Ministerial Practice II”.

Those whose highest theological qualification is a Foundation Degree or equivalent will be expected to:

  1. Identify an appropriate critical incident or ongoing situation, or project and assess the interrelated principles and practices operating in a selected context of ministry;
  2. Demonstrate an ability to combine interdisciplinary perspectives, and interrelate experience and theological and other pertinent reading;
  3. Demonstrate an ability to reflect theologically upon key experiences and relate them to the development of their ministry.

Those whose highest theological qualification is at level 6 or 7 will be expected to:

  1. Identify an appropriate critical incident or ongoing situation, or project and assess the interrelated principles and practices operating in this selected context of ministry;
  2. Demonstrate an ability to combine interdisciplinary perspectives within theological reflection to review, consolidate and extend their knowledge and understanding;
  3. Demonstrate an ability to reflect theologically upon key experiences and relate them to the development of their ministry drawing on a wide range of scholarly resources, with evidence of originality in the application of knowledge and critical awareness.

In both the second and third years of curacy each curate should complete a written case study arising from a particular situation or experience of ministry within the parish, the wider church or (for MSEs) in the workplace. It should be both descriptive and theologically reflective and completed to an appropriate standard which reflects the academic level of their most recent academic qualification (eg L6 or L7).

For IME Phase 2 Year 2 (second year curacy) it might consist of reflection upon an individual event (eg a difficult funeral) or on an ongoing situation or project in which you are involved (e.g. setting up house groups in the parish or working with someone who is terminally ill). MSEs may write one case study based upon experience in the parish and one based upon their experience in their place of work.

For IME Phase 2 Year 3 (third year of year curacy) the case study focuses on the curate’s practice of leadership (for example, in liturgy, a community project or small group situation) arising from and in relation to a particular incident involving her/him that has made it necessary to reflect on her/his own leadership. Those in IME6 who have already been appointed to an incumbency can, if they so choose, focus on their new situation and prepare a presentation for the Changing Posts Conference. (Guidelines for presentations are available from the IME Officer).

The case studies might consist of a critical and theological reflection upon an individual event (eg a difficult funeral for IME Phase 2 Year 2, or, for IME Phase 2 Year 3, for example, an incident that has challenged your gifts, competencies or understanding of Christian leadership) or on an ongoing situation or project in which you are involved (eg setting up house groups in the parish or working with someone who is terminally ill; or, for IME Phase 2 Year 3 an ongoing situation in which, for example, you have been called to leadership and the issues that have arisen).

This is an exercise in theological reflection. Please refer to Judith Thompson’s Theological Reflection (SCM, 2008), or similar, as well as to books and articles addressing the issues raised in your case study. Use your theological resources to filter your findings and then propose your response. These assignments should be completed as part of IME Phase 2 Years 2 and 3. Submission dates are publicized on the IME Phase 2 page of the website.

The first section of the assignment should consist of two parts:

  1. A brief record of the critical incident and/or ongoing situation, that is, the incident that made reflection on this pastoral or leadership issue essential. Give sufficient background to the event/situation/project for it to be understandable;
  2. An analysis of the incident, or project. In the analysis you are identifying and commenting on the significance of the key areas or issues in the incident, for example, has something challenged your earlier understandings of pastoral ministry in eg baptism or death or suffering, or the role of women, or abuse, or with reference to leadership; has something challenged your understanding of what leadership is or requires from you, or how it relates to teams, or collaborative leadership. Or, has a situation raised an area you have never thought about before. What makes this incident an issue for you? What are the principles involved and what is the practice as it currently is? Is there eg a mismatch? Also ask yourself, were there other social and structural factors involved? ie what wider concerns and issues are/were involved in this situation?
  3. Identify and explore some of these key elements fulfilling the first learning outcome above. Are there any theological issues obviously involved in the event or situation? Are there any particular passages of scripture or areas of doctrine that help to make sense of the event/situation?

The second section should consist of no less than 2500 words of related theological reflection.

This section relates to and draws on the analysis in the firstt section to identify and think through the theological issues in dialogue with the situation and with other wider concerns (putting theology, Bible, the incident, other wider issues into a mix and letting one challenge, critique or agree with another) and then seeking to resolve the situation and remaining faithful to Christian faith and way of living. You are trying to find a way forward, a response to the critical incident

Finally there is a kind of evaluation/conclusion of your early and current responses and a reflection on what you have learned to take forward into similar situations or into wider ministry.

It is important for you to recognise that our knowledge of critical incidents is often partial, perhaps particularly pastoral ones, but may also apply to leadership, depending on the critical incident. So we need to ask ourselves whether our knowledge about our issue or situation is partial and if so to acknowledge this, viz that our critical assessment will be perspectival - have a perspective. Those of you working in social science will be familiar with this kind of acknowledgement. Of course it's also true in theology: evangelical perspective, sacramental perspective etc etc - (Isn't it great that we are human and not robots?) - but we need to be aware of and acknowledge the partial nature of our knowledge and that there may/will be other perspectives which some may want to explore in some detail.

Each assignment should be 4,000 to 5,000 words in length (with half that amount given to theological reflection).

Assignments should be submitted to Jane Hood (preferably electronically), jane.hood@chester.anglican.org (5500 Daresbury Park, Daresbury, Warrington WA4 4GE) by the date specified on the list of submission dates.  Assignments will be read by the IME Phase 2 Officer, Suffragan Bishop, and, sometimes, Diocesan Bishop.

The following are some areas that should be included in a case study:

Context:

  • Give sufficient background to the event/situation/project for it to be understandable

Description:

  • Describe what happened in the event or the nature of the situation or project.
  • How did you feel about the event at the time/how do you feel about the situation?

Analysis:

  • Why do you think you felt as you did/feel as you do?
  • What other social and structural factors were involved, i.e. what wider concerns and issues are/were involved in this situation?
  • What other disciplines or analytical tools might be useful in helping to understand and respond to this situation or experience?
  • What theological issues do you think are/were involved in the event or situation?
  • Are there any particular passages of scripture or areas of doctrine that help to make sense of the event/situation?

Evaluation:

  • Assess how you handled or reacted to the event, or how you are handling the situation or project.
  • What did you learn from it/are you learning from it?
  • In the light of your experience, how would you handle similar events in the future?
  • What are you learning from the ongoing situation in which you are involved?
  • How might you now respond more effectively to this situation in the light of your role as a Christian minister?