Explore full-time residential training

The depth of theological engagement that residential training offers will stand you in good stead as you face hard questions from the world – and from the church – and seek to point people always in the direction of Jesus.

Our residential ordination training holistically integrates contextual training, academic programmes, and the practice of spiritual disciplines – all within the supportive, challenging environment of a community of fellow students, tutors, staff, and our families and spouses.

As an ordinand at Trinity, you will:

  • Grow, laugh, pray, discuss, eat, and worship immersed in a learning community of passionate fellow disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • Participate in seminars as well as smaller pastoral groups with tutors who will challenge you to understand the Bible with greater depth, and to apply that knowledge to minister effectively in the local church.
  • Commit to a local parish in which you, as part of a small group of Trinity students, will help lead and serve the congregation, alongside an experienced vicar.
  • Find that your spouse and your family are embraced into a community with strong support systems, including Connect for student spouses and Muddy Boots Day Nursery.
  • Grow in your practice of spiritual disciplines; use this training period to prioritise making time to listen to God.
  • Make this most of this unique time of training and gain the space needed to reflect more deeply on the Bible, on theology, on how to minister in the local church, in advance of the stress and requirements of full-time church leadership.
  • Are you a pioneer? Join a cohort of fellow Trinity pioneers to explore together the ways in which God is preparing you to reach those outside the walls of traditional church models.

We are here to help you as you work through this process of discerning the next steps to which God might be calling you – just email our admissions team or call +44 (0) 117 968 0254.


Shape of the week

Sunday: Students and their families worship at their local context church, where they are engaged in their church placement experience.

Monday: A study day, usually free from formal college commitments so that students can have the time to read, write, and reflect on what they’re learning.

Tuesday/Thursday: Weekday mornings we meet for Morning Prayer in the chapel. Our main lecture days are Tuesdays, with additional classes on Thursdays and Fridays, depending on the student’s study programme and particular module choices. Our School of Leadership meets on Thursday afternoons, as do the postgraduate research seminars.

Wednesday: Safeguarded for personal spiritual development, with set time for quiet, small group worship and support through pastoral groups, as well as personal contemplation and prayer.

Friday: The day includes Communion together in the morning, before our ordinands meet in groups to discuss Anglican Story, Ethos and Practice. Independent students are invited to participate in a tutor-led independent reading group.

Academic programme

At Trinity, our lectures are not simply about trying to put tools in your hands to serve God better at some later point. Your classes and time spent reading, in the Bible, and in reflection will be in themselves acts of service and worship to God.

There are many different ways of engaging in the academic side of ordination training depending on your previous education and experience. Try answering the questions below and see where they point you, then you can always contact our admissions team, come along to an Open Day, or schedule a visit to talk in more detail about which option is right for you.

Read more about our academic programmes >

Year-round contextual training

When you join the Trinity community, we will work with you to discern what experiences you need to gain to help you prepare well for the type of ministry to which God is calling you.

Based on our conversations with you, we will place you in a context church for the duration of your training. There you will serve alongside others from your pastoral group at Trinity—enhancing the ways in which you can learn together and support one another—and receive supervision and mentoring from an experienced church leader.

Your church placement is important not just for the hands-on leadership experience it gives you, but because it forms the context for your assessed learning. You can use your placement experience very intentionally in order to gain particular experiences you’ve not yet had in ministry; you can also gain the experience of serving in a church environment different from the type of church from which you’ve come. You choose your church context in conversation with Trinity tutors to determine what will best fit you, given your past experiences and your future calling.

We partner with a wide range of local churches to give you the best possible chance of exploring the type of ministry setting God may be calling you into, whether in villages, deprived neighbourhoods, suburban areas, or in the city centre. (Take a look at our partner churches.)

Your practical experiences of ministry will inform your academic assignments for classes on topics such as leadership, worship, mission and pastoral theology, and vice versa – it’s all part of the holistic nature of your training.

Read more about how our students are changed through their church placement experience >


Summer church placement

At the end of your first year of training (and second year if you’re training for three years) you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside a church leadership team full-time for four weeks.

Whether it’s leading Sunday services, conducting pastoral visits, helping with PCC meetings or running children’s holiday clubs, you’ll be immersed in the day-to-day running of a church.

To make sure you’re experiencing a breadth of ministry contexts and opportunities, we aim to place you in a different church than the one you’re a part of regularly. It’s usually somewhere local, although it doesn’t have to be, and you may be there with another Trinity student or you may be on your own.

Either way, we hope this will be a good chance for you to be challenged and grown through a new and possibly very different experience of church life, ministry and leadership.

Community placement

All Trinity ordinands choose a community placement to complete in their first year (in addition to a church placement that lasts for the duration of their programme).

Community placements help diversify students’ experiences of mission and ministry, while also helping students to engage with people who are different from themselves, to think theologically about what ministry looks like in a ‘secular’ context, and to think about what role the church might play in partnership with other organisations. Community placements can be completed in a wide variety of contexts in Bristol or beyond.

Read about the students who completed community placements helping to feed and support marginalised and vulnerable people in Bristol, and another student who wanted to become involved in local bridge-building efforts between Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Financial support

The Church of England offers funding for all its full-time ordinands through the provision of a series of grants for your tuition fees and living costs.

The exact amounts will vary from person to person, depending on your financial situation and family responsibilities.

If you have further questions, just get in touch with our admissions team and they’ll be happy to talk with you about the financial implications of your training.


Apply now >

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