Should I start a theology course at St Francis College?

Even at the Seekers stage the answer is yes, but there is no requirement to do so at this point.  No education is wasted even if a candidate decides not to proceed.  Why not try one basic subject just to see if you like theology?  If it is not for you, then you have an answer right there.  If you do then you have another answer.  If you do decide to study, contact the Principal or Academic Dean at St Francis Theological College and be sure to tell them you are thinking of offering for ordination at some point.  This will inform them as to which subjects you should study.

Taking on theological study is of benefit to all Anglicans, regardless of their vocation. Even a few subjects in the BTh course can deepen and strengthen a Christian’s understanding of the nature of God and the depth and power of the Scriptures. It is possible to exit the BTh with just a handful of subjects and receive a Certificate or Diploma of Theology. Theological study is never wasted!

back to top

When do I have to start theology classes?

There is no requirement to study for a Bachelor of Theology until you have been invited into the Formation process by the Archbishop. Keep in mind though, if it is your intention to offer for ordination, each subject taken before Formation, is one less to take in what can be a very busy and sometimes stressful time. Also remember that if you undertake to start studying early there is no guarantee you will be invited into Formation.  The invitation to Formation is determined by several criteria, not just study. If you are unsure about what these are take another look at ‘God Calling’.

back to top

When does the selection process start?

From the moment that you enquire with the DDOV office, we take note of your character and your manner. In this respect, the selection process starts with ‘Hello’! However, the selection process formally begins when you are invited to the Vocation Reflection days.

back to top

How long will the process take?

For active Anglicans with a track record of parish involvement, the discernment (Seeker-Enquirer-Candidate) process takes one to two years. If selected, there are then usually three years in the formation process at St Francis College, although it must be remembered that people are ordained when they are ready - which may mean a process longer than three years.

If a candidate starts enquiring at the point of just entering the Anglican Church, with no Anglican background, then they would need at least two years to become an active member of their local church, prior to entering the discernment process.

back to top

Is there financial assistance?

Minimal. St Francis College does have several bursaries it administers for formation students, but any funds will fall far short of covering costs. In some cases, a parish may contribute and help towards your study whilst in the formation program.  The DDOV will have written to the parish priest to encourage the parish council to consider this.

back to top

What study is required?

A Bachelor of Theology, undertaken at St Francis Theological College, is the standard qualification for ordination. The full list of required subjects is in ‘God Calling’. If you choose to study at a different institution, you may still be asked to complete some subjects at St Francis College.

back to top

I need to work full-time.  Are there online options for the study?

Yes.  Candidates are strongly encouraged to attend the College during the week for both lectures and chapel.  However, it is also recognised this may not be possible all the time, particularly for rural or regional ordinands.  Discussions prior to entering Formation should be undertaken with the Director of Formation as to what is appropriate and workable for both you and the program.

back to top

I have a Bachelor/Master of Theology, do I need to do more study?

It is possible.  The full set of subjects required by the Archbishop are set out in ‘God Calling’.  To find out if any recognition of prior learning (RPL) is possible contact should be made with the Academic Dean of St Francis Theological College in Milton.  They will be able to advise as to whether any further study will be required.

It also needs to be acknowledged that the ACSQ is a broad church, with a comprehensive theology which is distinct from some dioceses in Australia. If your theology qualifications are from an institution with a distinctly different and/or conservative theological approach, you will be asked to complete some subjects at St Francis Theological College to enable you to fully appreciate the character and theology of this diocese.

back to top

Does my spouse need to attend church?

No, but they will need to be supportive of your calling.

back to top

Can I be sent anywhere?

Yes and no. During formation candidates remain in their home church for the first year and sometimes the second year of Formation. The third year is normally at a church within travelling distance of the Ordinand’s home.  In the case of a bush setting the Ordinand may well remain in their home church for three years.

At the end of Formation and the start of the first placement (called a ‘curacy’), the bishops have many factors to consider before offering a curacy placement. These may include:

  • available vacancies.

  • appropriateness and ‘fit’ of context.

  • training needs of the newly ordained person.

  • family work or schooling considerations.

When a possible placement is found the Bishop will contact the Ordinand to discuss with them and their family. Remember at the time of ordination if there is only one curacy available in the diocese, options are very limited for both the Bishop and you.

back to top

Is my spouse expected to be an unpaid secretary or handyperson?

Emphatically NO! Nor are they expected to answer the parish phone if it rings.

back to top

What do I earn?

The package includes:

  • A stipend (the minimum rate of stipend for parish priests and associate priests is $69,771 per annum) (set Jan 1 2022).

  • Superannuation

  • A house (normally 3 bedrooms + study)

  • A car and all running expenses

  • Phone

  • All utilities

  • All expenses relating to work.

  • Four weeks annual leave

  • Long service leave after 10 years.

back to top

Is there an age limit?

No.  But reality must be acknowledged.

If aged 65, an Anglican just starting the seekers process, who has none of the Archbishop’s requirements, will not be ‘ready’ for ordination, which means satisfying ALL requirements for ordination, until after the point of mandatory retirement age.

If you are 55, have been an Anglican for several years, have a BTh, which includes all the required subjects, then it may be possible to enter formation.  In this circumstance the examining chaplains will be looking for an exceptional vocational opportunity to recommend continuing.

Seekers are considered as individuals and advised appropriate to their age and qualification.

back to top

Are candidates ‘fast tracked’?


It may be the case that all academic requirements are completed before entry into formation or within one or two years this does not mean the candidate is ‘ready’.  The formation period is three years.

Candidates are only presented for ordination when they are ‘ready’.  The readiness for ordination includes ALL the requirements within ‘God Calling’ are shown to have been met.  This includes positive reports from the parish placement, College and Examining Chaplains, as well as meeting Professional Standards checks, Blue Card registration, Ethics and Safe Ministry training.

The only exception to ordaining when an academic requirement is still outstanding is when a subject is missing from the required list and is missing because it was not available by the College until the following year.  This does not apply to CPE which must be completed before ordination can proceed.

back to top

What does the psychological testing involve?

Before being invited to the Vocation Discernment Conference, enquirers undertake several psychological test papers to assess their capacity to take on ordained ministry. These are not exams and there are no right or wrong answers to the questions. They allow you and the Church to learn about yourself and your suitability for the ordained life. It also allows you to make an informed decision about your own capacity to deal successfully with the stressors of ordained life and ministry.

The questions range from things about your past to possible reactions in certain everyday situations. There is no need to worry about 'not knowing the answer'. The outcomes of your testing, as well as your personal life experiences, will be discussed with you at an interview with the Diocesan psychologist.

back to top

I do not have a baptism certificate.

This is common. In most cases you can make application to where you were baptised, and they will send you a copy. Sometimes they cannot do that but do have a record of your baptism. In this case the priest or minister may write a letter confirming you were baptised, where it took place and when. If neither of these options is possible then you should inform the DDOV as soon as possible as there needs to be proof of baptism before ordination can occur.

back to top

When should I book the medical assessment?

Leave this until you are sure you wish to proceed to the Vocation Discernment Conference. These medicals are not bulk billed and can vary in cost.

back to top

Can I bring my child to the Reflection Days or Vocation Discernment Conference?

No, it will not be good for you or others. Whilst we hope for a relaxed atmosphere for our gatherings, it is a very serious selection process. There is no provision for child minding, and it is crucial all candidates are completely focused on the tasks set and not side-tracked by distractions in any way.

back to top