Preparing to Learn: Scripture, Prayer and Theology
We introduce Christian theology, and explore the interrelationship of scripture, tradition, experience (including corporate worship and prayer), praxis, and reason. Basic principles of biblical interpretation are introduced with specific reference to Hebrew Bible narrative. Students are introduced to basic study skills, and to the course as a whole, including the importance of daily prayer, participation in public worship and other important activities.
Human Identity, Theology, Vocation and Professional Practice
Students are guided to understand their own, and others’, identity, personality and vocation. This is grounded in a theological understanding of human personhood in individual and corporate experience which recognises and honours difference. We consider how to be good listeners of other people’s and God’s stories, and through that to encourage theological reflection on our own stories.
Introduction to Christian Doctrine and History
We cover key periods and issues in the history of the church and major doctrinal developments. Students are introduced to a timeline for Church history, and study some major events in more detail, such as Nicaea and Chalcedon, the Reformation, Christology and the doctrine of justification. We explore the historical contexts within which core theological ideas were developed or formulated, and read some primary documents and interpret them against their historical context. All students study the history and identity of their own denomination in depth.
This is a very different module, responding to the teaching of our residential week with a group work exercise. Teaching subjects alternate between doctrine, bible and practical topics. This module is also completed at a higher level later in the course.
Using the Bible Today
We introduce students to the Synoptic Gospels, including an in depth study of one Gospel, and to the two doctrines of Christology and Soteriology. We also explore the importance of the narrative of the Hebrew Bible. The historic development of both doctrines is traced including an examination of the historic Creeds. Students preach, and are involved in other ways of teaching the Bible to others.
Mission and Evangelism
We examine the place of Christian ministry in God’s mission to the world. Students develop their own perspective on mission by evaluating contemporary missiologies and contextual understandings of mission. We survey broad topics, such as theologies of mission, the agents of mission, and the contexts and cultures within which mission takes place. We also look closer at local mission practice and study of particular mission theologians and missiological themes.
Growing Together in Christ: Worship and Spirituality
This module introduces students to some principal Christian traditions of personal and corporate spirituality. We concentrate on some major biblical, historical and liturgical foundations, looking at their development and contribution to Christian spirituality. Students will develop their rule of life, they will be introduced to the forms and contents of corporate liturgical and non-liturgical worship, and to the theologies, liturgies and practices of Eucharist and Baptism in their own church traditions.
Bible in Context
This module will enable students to develop their understanding of the nature of the exegetical task involved preparation for preaching, as well as developing their skills in the art of preaching itself. This is a task which requires some understanding of the nature of the biblical and scriptural text, and of the task of exegesis. Accordingly, equal time will be devoted to the study of one major Old Testament text and one major New Testament text, alongside careful investigations of the nature of Scripture and the task of proclamation.
Reflective Practice in Context
Students have an extended (supervised) experience in an unfamiliar context – a different church setting, a chaplaincy, a para-church organisation or internationally. Placements are arranged to fit in with individual life situations for each student. Students bring together theological understanding and reflection skills to observe and analyse a different context, drawing from ethnography and social psychology. The resulting insights help students to discern God at work wherever they are deployed in ministry.
This module considers the church from three perspectives: (a) the church as a whole, (b) the church as made up of particular churches regionally and denominationally and (c) analysis and reflection on the experience of participating in the life of the church. We cover four main topics: (1) origins and development, (2) the changing church, (3) systematic, pastoral and missional theologies of the church, and (4) church structure and organisation. This is a key module in support of the student’s supervised training in the local church and it informs their engagement with the policies and expectations of their sponsoring churches.
Topics in Christian Doctrine
We explore ways in which God has been conceived, imagined, and experienced within Christian tradition, and how language about God and to God may be understood and evaluated. There is a focus on God as Trinity and as personal agent. We engage particularly with contemporary debates about God in the light of both scientific discourse and post-modern critiques. Students experience and reflect on ways in which doctrines of God may be articulated and embodied in the mission, and practices, of the church.
Christian Faith and Ethical Living
This module has as its central motif the notion that Christians are called to be certain sorts of people in the world. Because of this distinctiveness, and because they are formed by specific stories found in the Bible and tradition, Christians respond to the moral issues of the 21st Century in particular ways. Here we engage with some of these issues (beginning-and-end-of-life issues, sexuality, and the care of creation), looking at both Christian-specific and non-Christian-specific responses to them. All students will present on an ethical issue during the module.
Preparing for Public Ministry
This is about making the transition from the course to the next phase of ministry in whatever context. Students self-review their growth in relation to the relevant denominational criteria, they review their vocational development and identify further developmental needs. We look at the transitional liturgies such as ordination that they will be participating in. We also seek to anticipate other practicalities associated with moving into a new phase, and offer appropriate biblical and spiritual resources to enable students to approach these changes thoughtfully and prayerfully.