New ministers ordained in July 2016 overwhelmingly rated their teachers and mentors as “really good” in feedback forms at the end of their OneSpirit training.

In the appraisal exercise, the new ministers at the end of their two-year training answered a range of questions by choosing from four options: 1 – really good, 2 – good, 3 – OK, 4 – not OK.

Two co-tutors — Nicola Coombe and Jackie Amos Wilkinson — took them through the two-years. For one of them, 23 out of the 26 students said ‘really good’, and two ‘good’, with one blank score. For the other, only two respondents gave less than the top rating: one ‘good’ and one a blank score.

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(Pictured: some of the new ministers at their Ordination in July)

One of the distinctive aspects of the OneSpirit training is that tutors always work in pairs. In the comments section of the feedback form, one student wrote: “The co-tutoring relationship between the teachers demonstrates incredible maturity, love, transparency and humility. This was healing and beautiful to witness”.

Another addressed the tutors: “You led me into this with the notion of inquiry into spirit. Through your mastery, acceptance of me with love and support, through seeing me and helping me see myself, you have brought a depth and richness to my life that I would never have expected. Thank you!”

Respondents also scored their mentors very highly. The class had five mentors, each responsible for regular spiritual counselling and support of a group of students throughout the two years. Of the 26 new ministers, 23 rated their mentor as ‘really good’, one as ‘good’, with two blanks.

“These results from our annual feedback exercise are evidence of the very high regard in which students on the OneSpirit training programme hold their teachers and mentors,” said chair of trustees Joy Gleeson. “We are fortunate indeed to have such skillful and committed people in these roles.”

The appraisal forms also asked the new ministers what the most valuable part of the training was. One respondent reflected a common theme: “Unconditional acceptance — being totally welcomed, with no judgement. This was ultimately one of the most healing and powerful gifts of the training.” Another said: “The course divested me of my cynicism and brought out my authenticity.”

A further question asked: Is the OneSpirit training value for money? “Yes,” answered one new minister, “and I was initially very dubious about this before the course began! It is such a deep, rich, full training, and so much love and care and wisdom has (gone into) creating it.” Another said: “It is value for money because it is priceless.”

Other quotes from the new ministers:

  • “The course divested me of my cynicism and brought out my authenticity.”
  • “It is a radical, active, political necessity in these times.”
  • “It was the best experience of my life (besides childbirth!)”

Feedback after one year of training

In a separate exercise, student ministers in the class that started in October 2015 were asked how their first year had been. Here’s what some of them said:

  • “The first year? Like a washing machine! We were tossed and thrown, drenched with water of love and purification, though not hung out to dry. But emerged cleaner, fresher and ready. I can hardly wait for more of the good of it all.”
  • “I hadn’t realised when I signed up how much of my own healing I still had to do. Over the year I’ve gradually allowed myself to accept my own need — realising that I shan’t be able to serve authentically until I can live authentically and with integrity and presence — and that I have to do my own healing to do that.”
  • “The course is about coming home, being part of a rich community. I am inspired by its variety, by the depth and openness of the tutors, of the affirmation of the link between spirituality and play.”
  • “I hadn’t anticipated coming to care so much about all the individuals on this course. My own prayer and holding has developed as a result of this, and whilst at times painful it is very powerful to have my world so full of beings whom I now can’t imagine not knowing.”
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