Training for pastoral service
All degree courses at PTC are open to men and women. See the course descriptions on the website for suitable courses for pastoral service. Generally, a course of a minimum of one year full-time (or part-time equivalent) is recommended. A typical course will include:
The recommended course above follows the ‘deaconess’ training course that is approved by the College Committee of the General Assembly of Australia. The course is not formally required by the Presbyterian Church of Victoria to take up the office of the diaconate in the PCV (which is open to men and women) or to take up any other pastoral service role in the PCV.
Scholarships are available for women’s pastoral service training. See the fees page. Historically, this was called the deaconesses’ scholarship. The term, ‘deaconess’ relates to the New Testament word that is usually translated as ‘service’, so today, the scholarship is applied to women training for pastoral service.
PTC has a primary goal of training men for the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the Presbyterian Church of Australia. The PCA believes that the Ministry should be open to suitable men only. At the same time, PTC wishes to give all students, including women, every encouragement and opportunity to undertake theological education and training, and so women are eligible to study all ACT courses at PTC. This includes units that focus on preaching, which develop skills in handling the Scriptures and skills for ministry amongst women. In accordance with 1 Tim 2:12, special arrangements may need to be made to accommodate completion of preaching assessments.
All students who are not candidates for the Presbyterian Ministry study at PTC on the understanding that Ministry issues frequently arise in classes across the curriculum. PTC believes that this strengthens the course of training for all concerned.
The only program reserved for Ministry candidates is the specialised, non-ACT Supervised Learning Experience, which places candidates with Presbyterian ministers. Any student can explore pastoral service field education options within ACT units by speaking to the Practical Theology coordinator, with the obligation to find a supervisor and ministry opportunity falling upon the student.
As per the PTC Academic Freedom Policy, students are not required to agree with the position of the PCA regarding ordination. Students will understand that the College is a Christian institution in the reformed tradition that is committed to teaching and learning from that perspective. When students apply to study at PTC, they are asked to indicate that they will respect the position of the Presbyterian Church of Australia on the ordination of women.