Each student is supported through our blended learning pattern to achieve a creative combination of in-depth theological teaching and reflection alongside the practical application in a church context.
This flexibility allows students to combine their training with busy jobs and family responsibilities; some work part-time in their churches.
We offer a number of different options for study, but all follow the same pattern.
Students learn in three ways:
Our online modules enable students to pursue their personal study at a time and place to suit them. These modules also incorporate practical and reflective activities which are integrated with each student’s contextual and community learning.
The modules contain a wealth of material, including reading activities, reflection and multimedia. This aspect of the learning programme is supported by a tutorial with the module leader and a small group of colleagues via video link to eliminate the time and costs of travel. Those who have to travel for work have found this very helpful, allowing them to attend tutorials online wherever they are.
Students will need to have somewhere where they can find some quiet for study on a regular basis. They will a reasonable broadband connection, an up to date computer with wordprocessing software and a camera (many find a laptop most convenient as it allows work at college too), and will need headphones and a microphone for online tutorials. A printer is invaluable for personal study and printing notes.
We also challenge our students to attend to the cultural setting around them and apply what they learn to it by leading a regular ‘Local Learning Group’ of people who come from their own home context.
Learning in Context
Alongside the Local Learning Group, the modules in include learning activities and tasks in the local church or environment.
Here students reflect theologically and imaginatively on mission and ministry, and ground their academic learning in practice, supported by regular supervision from an appointed Training Supervisor.
Training Supervisors are part of the Sarum course by helping the student relate their training to their local context. They are appointed by Sarum in consultation with the student, the sponsoring diocese or denomination, and the prospective Training Supervisor. It is an unpaid but rewarding role with important responsibilities which are for the benefit of the student’s formation in ministry.
Training Supervisors are frequently the incumbent or pastor of a student’s home church, but they don’t have to be. Associate or recently retired clergy often take on the role. What is necessary is that the Training Supervisor is someone who will give the student guided space so they can reflect and discuss how their learning applies to their context and themselves.
Each student explores mission and ministry in a new and different setting through a long placement. This is stretching, and could be in a different denomination or country, but is arranged to accommodate work and family responsibilities where possible. Recent placements have taken place in prison and hospital chaplaincies, different local church settings, Westminster Abbey and various cathedrals.
Residential weekends on rural, urban and interfaith ministry themes contribute further engagement with different contexts and form part of the learning in community.
Learning in Community
Learning in community includes support from the staff team, a week-long residential once a year, and residential weekends at Sarum College. Here students come together to share in a larger group, explore a variety of traditions, and enjoy food and fellowship. From these, a sense of community is quickly built up which is maintained informally through emails, phone calls and social media. Members of staff are always available for students.
The residential weekends include face-to-face teaching on the module material, which in turn supports the individual learning. Residential time also includes formational learning in practical aspects of ministry and self-care, ongoing theological reflection, and opportunities to lead and experience liturgical and non-liturgical worship.
Those training for Licensed Lay Ministry will have some differences on residency depending on the policy of the sponsoring Diocese, often attending the Saturday only as a study day, but have some additional training days supplied by the Diocese. Those on a Licensed Lay Ministry pathway should discuss the details with their Diocese.
Through these three aspects of the blended learning, we ensure that students are supported, encouraged and challenged as they progress through the course.