The First Steps:
If you are interested in the Ministry Program, you need approval from your home congregation. Talk to your Elders and ask for an interview with them. Prepare a written or oral statement (can be dictated/recorded) describing your life experience, particularly what has led to you considering ministry leadership preparation. This statement will be discussed with the Elders/Church Council or Board before approval is given by them. If your home congregation decides to bless and support you and approve your participation in the program, a letter to this effect should be sent to the Presbytery and to the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre along with the statement you prepared.
Individuals from other denominations should follow the requirements of that church.
Talk to the staff at the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre about your interest. They can provide additional information.
If you have Treaty Status, talk to the Education Authority about funding.
To register in the Program, you will need:
- Completed Registration Form
- Your personal statement.
- A letter of support from the Elders or Board of your congregation, a copy of which they will send to the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre.
- A meeting with the Education and Students Committee (part of the Council of Learning) of your Presbytery, with their approval to begin studies (Letter of support and Form CAN 204).
- Completed Form DIS 201 – Action of Congregation and Presbytery to Recognize an Inquirer.
- An interview with staff of the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre.
- An application to your Band Education Authority for funding* (if you have Treaty Status).
*Note: If Education Authority funding is not available, there may be bursaries through the United Church or the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre.
The Student Program Committee will assess your application. Once the steps for Admission are in place, you may be ready to begin the Program. Acceptance in the Program is however dependent on approval by the Student Program Committee, on funding availability, and on space in the Learning Circles.
Once accepted, you must have a current (ie within the last six months) Police Record Check, Vulnerable Sector, Level 2, which must be shown to Centre staff and to the Conference Personnel Minister of the All Native Circle Conference. A letter from your congregation requesting that you have a Police Record Check is usually required. A sample letter is available through the ANCC office. Full details about Police Record Checks are found in Appendix XX.
Once accepted in the Program, Centre Staff and the Presbytery will work with you to develop a suitable field placement for you. They will also recommend someone to be your Vision Keeper.
The Program is offered for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit persons who want to be educated for paid accountable leadership in the church (ordained, diaconal, designated lay ministry).
While the Centre is sponsored by The United Church of Canada, Programs are ecumenical. Students from the United, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Mennonite denominations have participated.
Students from other United Church Theological Schools may attend individual Learning Circles as part of their theological training.
Non-Aboriginal people are eligible to enroll in the diploma program if they can demonstrate that they have had a long and deep relationship with a First Nation, Métis or Inuit community, and come with the recommendation of a First Nation, Métis or Inuit community.
For United Church students admission to the Program for United Church students requires:
- Membership and active involvement in a congregation for at least two years for Order of Ministry, and five years for Designated Lay Ministry prior to registration.
- A letter of support from their congregation recommending them as students for ministry.
- An interview with their Presbytery, recommending them to the Centre.
Admission for students from other denominations or faith traditions must fulfill the guidelines of their sponsoring body.
In addition, all students will demonstrate:
- Personal maturity arising from work experience, community involvement, and spiritual development
- Grade 12 or equivalent and willingness to upgrade if necessary. (Equivalency is evaluated on an individual basis, taking into account the student’s maturity, facility with their language and culture, and with the traditional ways of the community where they will be called to minister)
- A beginning understanding of the commitment of the call to ministry.