Incumbents and Supervisors

Full-time Ordinands

Every student on the Full-Time Church-Based pathway is based in a local church or mission context and has a supervisor who oversees their work. A Supervisor’s Handbook is available, but the supervisor is appointed by consultation between the College, the student and the local context. It is often the incumbent of the church in which the student is based, but does not have to be – it might be a lay person, or someone on the staff of the church – it simply needs to be someone close enough to the ordinand and their work to help monitor that work, and help the student develop. The supervisor’s duties include:

  • To meet with the student at least once every two weeks to review their work, formation and progress on the course.
  • To attend supervisor events and meetings held at SMC as often as possible. These will usually be one event a year and certainly no more than two.
  • To be available for contact with the student’s personal tutor in SMC when appropriate.
  • To contribute towards assessment of the student’s suitability or otherwise for ordination.


The College organises several supervisors’ training and consultation days each year, and it is important that supervisors make a priority of coming to those days as far as possible. These sessions involve a mixture of consultation with college staff, three-way discussions between student, supervisor and personal tutor and training in supervision and mentoring skills. The College will also send tutors for in-context meetings with the ordinand and supervisor.

The programme also involves some time spent involved in a church placement (a ‘Secondary Church Placement’) which is different in significant ways from their primary place of ministry. This will involve around a two to four-week period towards the end of the course. Employers need to be aware of this and be prepared to release the student for such a placement, as this is a crucial part of their training and an important investment in their longer-term effectiveness in and readiness for ordained ministry in the Church of England.

Full details are available in the Incumbents Guidelines which are sent to incumbents at the beginning of each academic year. Incumbents are always welcome to contact Jane Williams, one of the Assistant Deans of the college if they have any questions or concerns at [email protected]

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Part-time Ordinands

We ask that incumbents meet with the ordinand on a regular basis throughout their training (e.g. every four to six weeks) to help the student reflect theologically on formation and training, and to explore how what they are learning links with parish ministry today. We also ask that the student be given regular opportunities to preach during their time with us (roughly five to six times a year), and that they are also given opportunities to participate in leading worship as appropriate. 

In addition, ordinands taking the three-year programme work on at least three ministry modules during their time at St Mellitus. One module involves an assessed sermon, which we ask the incumbent to help with, and another involves a home church project, which the incumbent usually supervises. The student may also opt to help lead an evangelism course as part of their training, and each student will undertake a placement in another church or ministerial context, usually for three months during their final year with us. Students will need to be released from ministerial responsibilities during that time.

To help incumbents prepare for their role in the process, we invite incumbents to a meeting in September each year. We also set out full details of the various responsibilities in the Incumbents Guide, which is sent to incumbents at the beginning of each academic year. Incumbents will also receive a termly email that outlines what the student is currently working on, and incumbents are always welcome to visit for evening or weekend sessions to experience life in College. In addition, incumbents are able to contact Lincoln Harvey, one of our Assistant Deans, if they have any questions or concerns. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Full-time Church Based course fees are paid by the Central Fund for Ministerial Training at Ministry Division (CFMT).
Financial arrangements with regard to living allowances are as follows:

  • Personal support in accordance with national guidelines:
  • 50% personal allowance (from Ministry Division centrally - £1053 pa 2012/13). Single students also receive a maintenance fee of approximately £2188 from Ministry Division.
  • 50% stipend including housing to be paid by the context
  • Diocesan maintenance grant paid by the ordinands sending diocese to cover their living costs. This is usually done on an income/expenditure basis equivalent to full-time residential ordinands which brings students up to an agreed basic level of subsistence. Any money that the church pays the ordinand will be taken into account as income, as will the money received from Ministry Division. Expenditure includes a recommended expenditure figure set by Ministry Division, which is different for single and married students. Housing costs can be included in this – although there is a maximum limit set for single and married students in each case.
  • National guidelines on the limits to expenses to be paid for travel apply.   They are currently maximum £70 per week for travel and £105 per residential event (these travel costs are paid by Ministry Division centrally).
  • As they are getting a half-time staff member, churches who have a Full-Time Church-Based ordinand should offer a salary equivalent to 50% of a basic stipend (£8000) and 50% of housing costs (national max housing cost 14K, so this is max 7K). So churches would need to find maximum £15K per year for a half-time ordinand. In practice this differs from case to case and should be agreed with the relevant diocese.