I’m glad a system of Ministerial Development Review is now under way in the diocese - the results of my first one in the trial batch is just about to go to the Bishop - but I regret that the product of the one we now have focuses quite so much on specific outcomes.
I’m glad we’ve finally got one because I know how tortuous the history of the introduction of such schemes in the diocese has been. I did a Note for the then Bishop’s Council in about 1998 which traced initiatives, recommendations and attempts followed by lapses back through about nine yearly stages to the 1970s. By the 1990s, Bishop Bob Hardy’s four yearly personal appraisal interviews and reports had made the whole process widely accepted and valued, and by 1995 we had inserted an assisted self appraisal into the gaps to make it a two yearly cycle.
The process of my giving up as the Continued Ministerial Education officer for the diocese in 1999 had many of the characteristics of ‘constructive dismissal’ when it became clear that this (and the participants' identification of any training implications for themselves) was all going to be allowed to lapse. We’ve lost ten years since, although the present Bishops do have their own pattern of Episcopal Visitation, but it is good that the national introduction of new clergy terms and conditions has made the diocese pick up roughly where it left off then.
But I regret a bit the form which is now provided to feed back to the Bishop is quite so focussed on reporting outcomes. There is space to report a wider picture, and in time reviewers may develop the habit of being holistic in what they record, but I suspect in doing so they will have to consciously resist the lay out’s encouragement to offer above all else quasi-managerial (rather than ministerial developmental) results.
I’d offered the three poems I’d written (and blogged) this year to my reviewer, who commented on them when we met; she has since told me that she’d was less worried about the pressures on me knowing I was trying to write such things, and this is something we should have added into the body of the report. But I noticed their presence had actually been lost by the time we’d filled in a template of outcomes to be delivered in six and then in twelve months time.
The sleeping bridesmaid was at one of yesterday’s Weddings. A while ago I took the Funeral of what would now have been a young Uncle of hers, and I've kept contact with the family since, so the Wedding was a special one for me. The bride's father cried on the way down the aisle too, so it really was a good wedding all round.