The Apostolic Catholic Orthodox Church (ACOC) strongly values continual spiritual and professional growth among its clergy, and indeed all its members, as an essential part of its ecclesial mission. To this end, the national church, through its Division of Clergy Training and Chaplaincy, provides various means of assistance, including the following:
The seminary program is based on the service of Mentors, who are senior ACOC clergy designated by the Director of Clergy Training for each local area in which clergy candidates are located. Mentors team with other resource persons, such as chaplaincy training directors, seminary instructors, counselors and spiritual directors.
The service role of the mentors involves:
Assisting in the screening of potential candidates, discerning candidates’ call and suitability for pursuing training.
Helping to design seminary course of studies appropriate for each candidate.
Seeing that the program requirements are being fulfilled, providing resources and supporting the seminarian.
Communicating on a regular basis with the Director of Clergy Training, participating in evaluations and making recommendations about progress.
Upon approval by the Director and the Presiding Bishop, the mentor may be delegated to confer Minor Orders on seminarians.
Field Practicum and Clinical Pastoral Education:
During the seminary program, each seminarian is expected to find placement in a public ministry setting for at least six months and serve successfully under the supervision of a senior pastor, chaplain or pastoral counselor. Examples of ministry settings where ACOC seminarians and deacons have served are:
Parish settings, participating in worship leadership, Christian Education and social ministry outreach.
Medical Center chaplaincy, in Clinical Pastoral Education programs, in introductory units during the summer or as an Extended Unit student.
Workplace Ministry / Industrial Chaplaincy.
Public Safety chaplaincy, working with police and fire fighter units, Emergency Medical Services.
Workplace chaplaincy, in corporations, with employee assistance programs and labor unions.
Prison and jail-based ministry.
Hospice chaplaincy, with training as volunteers and professional staff members.
Clinical pastoral counseling training, in Masters degree program field placements and in pastoral counseling center programs sponsored by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.
Advanced Clinical Training:
Clergy members of the ACOC are encouraged throughout their life of public ministry to obtain advanced specialized training in their own areas of specialty. The Division of Clergy Training assists in providing liaison between inquiring clergy and the various professional organizations that provide training. Examples of advanced training programs utilized by ACOC clergy are:
Residencies in Clinical Pastoral Education. These are usually in medical center settings and comprise four units of CPE per year, beginning in late August. ACOC clergy have completed as many as 10 units in residencies.
Pastoral Counseling clinical supervision and licensure. This entails 2,000 to 4,000 hours of professional practice under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. License examination follows successful completion of supervision. Licenses held by ACOC clergy include Marriage and Family Therapy, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor and Social Work.
Certification in specialized areas, such as Mediation Training, other Conflict Resolution certifications and Critical Incident Stress Management.
Spiritual Direction. Spiritual Director training institutes, generally of a duration of three years, including course work and supervision.
National Church Clergy Communications Support:
A major part of the office of the Presiding Bishop and other Church leadership is to encourage the local ministers of the church in their daily life and ministry. Areas of assistance include:
Daily availability of the Presiding Bishop for mentoring calls by phone or e-mail. During the week, the bishop works out of the Institute of Worklife Ministry, and weekends and evenings out of the Chancery church office.
Periodic letters from the Presiding Bishop to all clergy and seminarians, with national and personal clergy news and issues for reflection and discussion among the clergy.
Distribution of articles covering important topics for discussion and other resources, including annual scripture study guide.
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CLERGY FORMATION, MENTORING and EDUCATION
A communion of persons gathered for worship and public service within the Christian Apostolic tradition