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THMM500 Contemporary Approaches to Pastoral Practice, Communication and Group Processes and THMM509 Theology for Mission and Ministry


THCP523 - Ministry Practicum II

Teaching organisation

This unit is equivalent to 150 hours of focused learning per semester. These are based on reflective practices for adult focused learning: journaling, personal reading, and guided conversations with placement supervisor and local feedback groups. 

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit offers participants a further opportunity to continue to integrate theoretical knowledge with practice and reflection in ministry. Building on Ministry Practicum I, this unit continues its focus upon the theological formation of candidates for roles within a variety of ecclesial ministries. Within the context of an identified and supervised pastoral placement, or practicum, it offers participants further opportunities to integrate theoretical knowledge of ministry with the praxis and reflection through which it finds an expression. It provides an intellectually rigorous and formative context in which the necessary connection between academic study and pastoral practice can be investigated, appropriated and enacted. This then enables the tasks of ministry to challenge and enrich the participant's academic study and for this study to challenge and enrich the participant’s practice of ministry.

The unit is offered by the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and in partnership with the relevant Diocese, Parish, Ecclesial Community, or Institution for whom the student is preparing for ministry. Where Ministry Practicum II takes place in a different context to Ministry Practicum I, the lecturer in charge and practicum supervisor will re-frame each participant’s specific learning agreement, contextualised within the ministry for which they are preparing.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

 LO1- Analyse from a theological perspective the framework underlying pastoral care in the placement (GA4; GA9);

LO2 - Reflect critically on and evaluate how the wider ministry context, including its historical and social background, gives shape to the pastoral care within the placement (GA4; GA5);

LO3 - Design a formative framework and pastoral plan for the context of the participant’s placement (GA5; GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

The content of this practicum builds on the learning of Ministry Practicum I. The LIC is named by the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, and the supervisor is named by the relevant Diocese, Parish, Ecclesial Community, or Institution for whom the participant is preparing for ministry. The same person may be LIC and Practicum supervisor, but where these two roles are played by different people, the nominated supervisor is the contact person during the time of the Practicum, and assessment pieces are graded by both supervisor and LIC and submitted by the LIC. Where the placement is of more than one semester, the aims and content topics of a new learning agreement will need to be drawn up by the participant, in consultation with the supervisor for the placement and the LIC (if different to the placement supervisor). Where the placement is in a different setting, the LIC and supervisor, in consultation with the participant, will decide upon the changes needed to draw up a new learning agreement. This agreement takes into account the context of the agreed placement and the particular learning needs of the participant. The broad areas of content which are typically covered include:

  • Focused reading dealing with issues in ministry that closely relate to the chosen practicum experience.
  • Critical reflection on models of ministry being offered in the placement;
  • Reflective practice on participants’ experiences of ministry and how this informs their vocational direction;
  • Styles and approaches to ministerial leadership;
  • Deepening their understanding of the specific ministry context and its networks with the wider ministry of the church;
  • Organisational culture, leadership styles and conflict management.
  • Further exploration of learning from Practicum 1 (Consolidation) 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is equivalent to 150 hours of focused learning per semester. These are based on reflective practices for adult focused learning: journaling, personal reading, and guided conversations with placement supervisor and local feedback groups. The local feedback group is organised by the participant within one month of their placement, with the aim of accompanying and verifying the participant’s progress and growth. Where the placement is of more than one semester, any change to the feedback group will be decided in consultation with the placement supervisor.  

Adult learning theory frames this unit’s exploration of the collaborative ministry between pastoral ministers, members of faith communities and clergy in the exploration of their placement cultures. In particular, transformative learning theory informs the units’ approach to learning about ecclesial cultures as an attitude or orientation to ministry, while guiding the development of appropriate pastoral ministry tools for pastoral planning. 

This process will include at least three individual supervision sessions per participant to: assist the participant in the rearticulation of their learning agreement; monitor progress during the placement and; offer an opportunity to support the participant in preparing their pastoral plan for assessment piece three. The practicum will also involve at least six local feedback sessions throughout the semester.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures are employed to meet the unit objectives consistent with University requirements. Tasks commence in the preparatory stage of the unit, wherein the participants are required to demonstrate how their theoretical foundations guide and shape each Practicum before they start. Critical reflection and journaling on pastoral experience is chosen as a central thread throughout the unit to facilitate the integration of theory and praxis. Presentations to other adult learners is an effective assessment strategy to enable and demonstrate the assimilation born of communication and translation to people outside the participant’s placement. In this way, participants complete the unit in a position to effectively implement their learnings in their pastoral and ecclesial ministries. In this second Practicum, participants will bring learnings of both presentations together in the presentation of a year’s pastoral plan, suitable for the ecclesial context within which they have work.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

 Short Theological Reflection

 Participants will provide a brief theological analysis of the framework underlying the pastoral care of their placement and its implications for the re-articulation of their learning agreement. 


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA9

Portfolio developed from selections from weekly reflective journaling

 Participants will further develop their critical reflection portfolio to include aspects of the wider ministry context of the placement, including its historical and social background and how they come to bear on the pastoral care required. The participant will choose and submit four of these in a combined portfolio with concluding reflection on their learning. 


LO1, LO2

GA4, GA5, GA9

Pastoral Plan (15-minute presentation with written component)

 Participants will design a year’s pastoral plan for a similar context to their placement. A written version of the presentation will be submitted before the oral one (in the form of an accompanying booklet or handbook). In this way, the oral presentation constitutes a further context of reflection, affirmation and /or critique of the learning. This will be understood as an exercise in practical or pastoral theology in which the participants demonstrate their capacity of critically reflecting upon their pastoral experience and within the light of a developed theological tradition in an ecclesial context.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA9

Representative texts and references

Dykstra, Robert. Images of Pastoral Care: Classic Readings. Chalice Press, 2005.

Frame, Tom. Called to Ministry. Barton Books, 2009.

Goodlife, Paul. Care in a Confused Climate: Pastoral Care & Postmodern Culture. Darton, Longman & Todd, 1998.

Gula, Richard. Just Ministry: Professional Ethics for Pastoral Ministry. Paulist Press, 2010.

Holbrook & Montagno (eds). Injustice and the Care of Souls. Fortress Press, 2009.

Lyall, David. The Integrity of Pastoral Care. London: SPCK, 2001.

Pembroke, Neil. The Art of Listening: Dialogue, Shame and Pastoral. Care Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

Pembroke, Neil. Renewing Pastoral Practice: Trinitarian Perspectives on Pastoral Care and Counselling Aldershot, Ashgate, 2006.

Purnell, D. Conversation as Ministry Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2003.

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