The training of candidates for the ordained ministry occurs in two ways in the MCCA. Training for the ordained ministry involves more than the simple taking of examinations or the attending classes. Consequently it is better to speak about Ministerial Formation rather than Ministerial Training. Indeed the process is one of the forming of a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ, of which academic training is but one component part.
Formation for the Non-Itinerant Ministry
Persons who candidate for the non-itinerant ministry (Local Presbyters) are normally trained in the Circuit from which they candidated using a Connexional designed in-service training programme. During the first year the minister-in-training is considered to be a student and is not given the responsibility of being a pastor of a Congregation. After successfully completing the first year as a student the minister-in-training is advanced to the status of a Probationer Minister and will remain as such for the next five (5) years.
During the period of probation, the minister-in training will be under the supervision of the Superintendent of the Circuit who will be the Probationer's main tutor and guide in the process of formation.
Formation for the Itinerant Ministry
For persons who candidate for the itinerant ministry (itinerant presbyters and deacons), formation occurs at the United Theological College of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. There the Methodist Church joins with eleven (11) Christian denomination for the formation and training of men and women for the Christian Ministry in the Caribbean and the Americas.
At UTCWI the candidate is considered to be a ministerial student and is under the direction of the Methodist Tutors at the College. The Methodist students at the UTCWI are expected to participate fully in the life of the College and to maintain the balance between the academic work and Church assignment. The students are each year appointed by the Senior Methodist Tutor to various Circuits and Methodist Institutions in Jamaica as part of their formation.
At present the Senior Ministerial Tutor at the UTCWI is Rev. Ruth Anne Goldson and she is supported by the Rev. Dr. Oral Thomas who is the other Methodist Tutor appointed to UTCWI.
An annual report is made on each Methodist Student to the Connexional Commission of Ministry. While at the UTCWI the Methodist student is expected to complete the Diploma in Ministerial Studies. However, the student may also take the opportunity to complete the BA (Theology) degree from the University of the West Indies.
After leaving UTCWI the students will then begin the period of probation and will become Probationer Ministers. This is usually for a period of two years.