The Rev Dr Quentin Chandler is head of vocations and diocesan director of ordinands at the Diocese of Oxford. I spoke to him about being a DDO and his experience of sending ordinands to study with us at CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training.
Quentin, how did you arrive at your current position as head of vocations and diocesan director of ordinands in Oxford?
I first became involved in vocations when I was principal of the Diocese of Peterborough’s Lay Ministry Course, and I moved on from there to be lead DDO in St Albans Diocese. I was appointed head of vocations and lead DDO in Oxford Diocese two years ago. Working with people as they discern vocations to ordained ministry and as they train and then move into curacy is a joy and a privilege.
As a DDO, what are you looking for in potential ordinands?
I’m looking for people who, in the words of our diocesan strategy, are courageous, contemplative, and compassionate in enabling the church to be Christ-like for the sake of God’s world. They will be passionate about bringing others to wholeness in Christ, about bringing the needs of the world before God, and about seeking the healing of creation. They will come from diverse backgrounds and be prepared to minister to people from and in diverse contexts.
What factors do you consider when helping potential students find a place to be trained?
I want to help people find a place to train in which they will thrive. It will be somewhere that embeds practices that draw on scripture and the traditions of the church to illuminate the challenges facing our changing world. It will help ordinands to form and deepen relationships with those around them, and so deepen their love for Jesus and the world he came to save.
How do you recognise if someone is pioneering, and how do you think CMS helps train people for pioneer ministry, either as an ordinand pioneer minister or as a parish priest?
It is vital that all those being prepared for ministry have pioneering skills. We need people who are confident in taking the gospel to new places and to the margins. But there are some who naturally gravitate towards new communities and to places and people that the church has yet to reach. These people are particularly at ease building the new and value but are not constrained by the old. DDOs discern that such qualities are especially evident in some of those we work with, and we look to CMS to form them during their training so that they can be effective pioneer priests and ministers.
Lastly, can you tell us – what ordinands who have trained with CMS say about their time at CMS?
Ordinands I have known who have trained with CMS in both Oxford and St Albans dioceses have valued the way in which it has developed and strengthened their pioneering skills. I have seen this in practice in an ordinand who has been on placement in the church in which I currently worship. Ordinands have also appreciated how training with CMS has enabled them to draw on scripture and tradition as they reflect theologically on their experience.
Quentin, thank you for talking to me today. I hope other DDOs will consider joining us for a DDO day (two forthcoming dates – DDO Days are on Wednesday 9 February and Tuesday 3 May 2022) they run from 1pm to 2.30pm on Zoom. To book, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org