South West News Service/REX

Church consider personality tests for future clergy

Personality tests could be brought in to avoid the ordination of those who simply seek authority and see if a potential vicar is up for the challenges. 

Julian Hubbard is the director of the Church's Ministry Division, making decisions about the vocation and ordination process.

He told the Telegraph: "We are considering the use of psychological assessment as part of the process of discernment for those seeking ordination in the Church of England, for possible introduction in 2019.

"This has been given added focus by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and the requirement to provide greater assurance on the effectiveness of the selection process. So we are examining its potential as a means to identify candidates who might pose a risk to others.

"But this is not only about safeguarding. It is vital to use all means available to find people with the right skills and aptitudes for this unique, but very challenging, calling."

Hubbard said personality tests wouldn't be entirely new and added: "Some dioceses have been using forms of assessment for a while to provide insight about how candidates might develop and respond to the challenges of the role.

"They have also found that it can be a useful tool in helping candidates grow in self-awareness.

"Of course, candidates are generally very well-known over a period of years and any psychological assessment would be only one of several sources of information by the time a decision is made."

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