During 2014 the Commonwealth Government’s Attorney General’s Department developed a compulsory professional development program for Marriage Celebrants.
For a while this news caused a considerable amount of consternation amongst the clergy of all denominations, as the requirements for the program were quite stringent and, it was generally agreed, quite unnecessary.
* * * However, we eventually determined that the program does apply to denominational ordained clergy.
Nevertheless, for those of you who might be interested in what this program does entail, we shall leave the original information made available to LCA pastors on the website. As a matter of historical interest, we shall also leave on the website the discussion and comments made at the time by various pastors.
The program is as follows:
Excluding denominational clergy, all Commonwealth registered Marriage Celebrants, including those who perform religious ceremonies, are now required to undertake 5 hours of Ongoing Professional Development (OPD) every year.
This OPD must be provided by the Attorney General’s Department approved providers.
♦ The OPD is made up of a compulsory activity as determined by the Attorney General’s Department and electives that the celebrant chooses to complete.
♦ Each pastor makes their own choices and organises training in whichever way they choose (face to face, distance, or online), and with whichever organisation they choose.
♦ A full 5 hours must be completed each year.
♦ If more than 5 hours of OPD is completed in one year this balance does not count towards OPD in any other years.
♦ Exemptions can be granted in exceptional circumstances and an application form for exemption must be received in the year the exemption is needed.
♦ [Whether or not this OPD counts towards your LCA CEP for the year – or is in addition to it – is a matter yet to be determined by the College of Bishops. At this stage, notify the CEP co-ordinator of your completion of this OPD by e-mailing copies of any certificates of completion you receive from the AG’s Department. This information will be included on your LAMP record.]
Further Information & Resources
All information on this and other matters related to Marriage Celebrants can be found on the Attorney General’s website.
Click on the following links for information on various aspects of this program:
The current Attorney General’s Department approved providers for OPD are:
* Australian Celebrations Training
* International College of Celebrancy
* Gordon Institute of TAFE
Of these, you might especially like to check out the e-book materials provided by Australian Celebrations Training (click here to go to their website)
The cost for all this. (app $110 per year, depending on what studies you choose).
When this information was first published on the CEP website, a number of pastors expressed their concern at the government’s imposition of this kind of requirement upon them. At that stage we were still under the impression that all clergy were mandated to undertake this PD, and only as a result of further enquiries by some of those pastors did the lack of clarity on this question arise (and hence the rider at the beginning of this page).
The nub of the dispute is whether or not pastors, whose marriage registration is State-based (as distinct from Commonwealth-based), are still also legally Commonwealth-listed. Additional to that is the question of whether or not States have their own requirements for marriage celebrant PD, apart from the requirements of the Commonwealth. [At present we know only that Queensland does not require marriage celebrant PD for clergy in its State.]
Regardless of the outcome of the current investigation, there is a debate to be had about this issue. Therefore, even though the angst initially expressed by some pastors has diminished for the moment, we shall include the comments already sent into us on this topic, as well as any other comments that continue to be submitted.