A NEW centre to train ministers in the heart of Portsmouth has been launched by the city’s bishop at a service.
Dozens of people including students, their friends and family, clergy and diocesan staff gathered in St Luke’s Church in Southsea, where the centre is based, for the service.
It celebrated the beginning of the course, named Portsmouth Pathway, which accepted its first intake of students in September.
The service was led by the Right Rev Christopher Foster, who said: ‘I’m excited about the fact that we’ll be offering this training within Portsmouth, which allows us to root the training in the culture and context of our diocese.
‘It will be high quality theological training and will allow people to train on parish placements throughout their course. It will be both academically rigorous and very practical.’
The centre is a joint initiative with leading theological college, Ripon College Cuddesdon, and will mean that students, trainee clergy and lay readers can be taught theology locally without needing to be sent away to theological college.
It will cater for up to 15 trainee clergy and 20 lay readers at any one time.
It will give students the chance to put their theology into practice in parishes in inner-city Portsmouth as they learn.
And it will also allow trainee clergy and Readers to train together for the first time.
It is led by the Reverend Dr James Grenfell.
Most of the sessions will take place in the evening or at weekends, meaning those who work during the day can attend.