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Vocation: The Peter Stream

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Acts 4:13

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

The Peter Stream is a programme for those who have sensed a call to ordained church leadership, but have felt themselves, for whatever reason, excluded from the process of discernment, selection or training. The programme lasts for a year and is designed with the aim to “love through the process“ those from a wide range of social, ethnic and educational backgrounds.

The Peter Stream is here to add value to dioceses as a lane on the road of the discernment process, not a separate pathway.


The Peter Stream year of discernment and preparation runs in the academic year from September to June. It contains three elements with dedicated tutors to ensure that the programme provides a safe and supportive environment to give each candidate space to hear God’s call on their life, to help them articulate that call as it relates to Church ministry, and to ensure they are well prepared for the national selection process. Participation on the Peter Stream will normally be undertaken part-time attending on Monday morning or Tuesday evening. Existing employment and living arrangements are maintained. The three elements of this discerment process are:

  1. Exploration of vocation and, if appropriate, preparation for the national selection process for ordained ministry.
  2. Formation through the development of discernment, life, study and ministry skills.
  3. Study at St Mellitus College [1]

Once the one-year Peter Stream programme has been completed, participants will be supported in pursuing suitable training pathways, including at an approved theological college. Further study may take two to three years to complete.


Application to join the Peter Stream will be made by the Director of Ordinands on behalf of the candidate.

If you sense you have a call, you should talk to your Vicar. If they are satisfied, they will refer you as a potential candidate to the Director of Ordinands who will refer you to the Peter Stream if they consider this to be the best route for you. Once referred, you will then be interviewed by St Mellitus College and, if accepted, a start date will be agreed on the next available programme.

Applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, including those with little experience with the Church of England, are encouraged to apply. No formal educational qualifications are required.

The programme

The Peter Stream is a one-year introductory course combining theology, study and life skills, and discernment. Study takes place part-time attending St Mellitus either Monday morning or Tuesday afternoon/evening.

Fees and travel are funded by the diocese / CRT, and it is expected that participants will contribute to their sending church with ministry responsibility where appropriate. Attendance at a Bishop’s Advisory Panel (BAP) meeting will occur at the end of the first year of study.

Topics covered

Discernment includes:

  1. Sharing your story
  2. Attending a discernment group
  3. Understanding the Church of England
  4. Navigating diversity
  5. Understanding the selection framework and qualities for discernment
  6. Reflecting on learning through the process
  7. Completing the papers
  8. Preparing for Stage 1 carousel interviews and Stage 2 event

Study and Life Skills includes:

  1. Managing your time
  2. Working to deadlines
  3. Understanding culture
  4. How to take notes
  5. How to read effectively
  6. How to write effectively
  7. Preaching
  8. Ministry
  9. Leadership
  10. Vocation

Theology will cover:

  1. The Bible (Old and New Testaments)
  2. Church and community
  3. Encountering God
  4. Mission and ministry

More information on the Peter Stream or Vocations to Ordained Ministry may be obtained via your Director of Ordinands.

Please note that the programme outlined here is the one run in the Diocese of London in conjunction with St Mellitus College. The programme is offered to other dioceses, and there may be slight differences in the way it is rolled out. For further information for programmes outside London, please contact Russell Winfield.

[1] Theology and Formation sessions are tailored to provide a balanced introduction to studying at academic level three (non-accredited) while also gaining practical ministry skills. Assessment is included in this first year as a way of benchmarking progress and determining the correct course for study in years two and three.

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