Short Course Descriptions
Foundations in Theology and Reflective Practice (includes study skills) 20 hours
This module provides you with an introduction to ongoing ministerial training and study. The module acts as a gateway into professional ministerial practice rooted in comprehensive theological study, practical wisdom and a deepening faith. In this module you will be introduced to theological reflective practice as the method of ongoing ministerial development. Theological reflective practice combines in-depth theological study with considered analysis of self and context. The module will provide you with an introduction to these three key components of ongoing ministerial development alongside study support to provide a bridge into degree level study.
Elements of Ministry and Mission in Context 10 hours
Participants enrolled on this module will be engaged in a sustained placement or place of work which, together with prior experience, forms the substrate for reflection on: the nature of ministry, mission and vocation and their relation to ecclesiology. Biblical and theological foundations for the church’s participation in the mission of God will be considered, alongside biblical and theological foundations for collaborative ministry. The aim will be to develop leadership skills for analysing a community / congregation alongside theological reflection methodologies for reflective practice.
Introduction to the New Testament 20 hours
This module will offer you an initial overview of the New Testament, of the various genres of literature that are found in it and of the major theological themes its writings raise. It will present the contexts and concerns out of which the New Testament books emerged, set them within their broader historical, religious and cultural backgrounds, and examine the ways that the ancient authors expressed both particular pastoral concerns and more general theological convictions. Further, the module will explore some of the ways in which the New Testament has been handled and used in various eras and contexts, and will allow careful consideration of what might constitute appropriate interpretation and use of these books in today’s church and world. Participants will be encouraged to read the whole New Testament in the course of their work on the module.
Introduction to the Old Testament 20 hours
This module provides an initial overview of the Old Testament. The teaching is oriented around some of the key genres, since understanding the kinds of literature in the Old Testament provides important guidance about how to interpret texts appropriately in their historical, literary and cultural context. Some of the tools, methods and approaches used in modern biblical scholarship are also introduced, paying attention to their limitations as well as their strengths. Particular attention is paid to the tension between historical critical and literary approaches to the text. In addition, you will be given an overview of the developing plot of the Old Testament as it traces the journey of the people of God through the Pentateuch, the historical books, the prophets, and on towards the New Testament. Guidance is given about how to acknowledge the contingent and temporary character of much of the Old Testament, while affirming how it remains a vital theological and historical foundation for later Christian life and thought.
Introduction to Christian Worship 10 hours
This module offers an introduction to Christian worship for the purposes of preparation for public ministry. Its perspectives are ecumenical, historical, theological and phenomenological, and it aims to help you to root your own experience and tradition within the wider contexts of the Christian faith, as well as to grow in confidence in your ability to interpret and apply your learning to your specific ministerial setting. The historical material will provide a general overview of the origins and development of forms of Christian worship. The phenomenological study will have as its primary focus the two dominical sacraments of baptism and eucharist, as well as the proclamation of the word. The emphasis will be on the Western liturgical tradition, though reference will be made where appropriate to Eastern practice. The practical aspects of the module will include discussion of contemporary contextual challenges, and the need to negotiate faithfulness to the inherited tradition in situations of change and complexity.
Creating New Christian Communities 10 hours
This module introduces you to biblical resources and relevant theological themes for the practice of church planting and the creation and sustaining of new expressions of church. It will encourage you to reflect critically and theologically on contemporary examples of creating new Christian communities and their historical precedents. Participants will also consider the sociological, strategic and missiological principles pertinent to the formation of new Christian communities. The module provides an opportunity for you to critically dialogue with your ministerial and missional practice in light of existing, developing and new knowledge at a foundational level. The process demands of the participants an attentiveness to your own assumptions and biases as you develop an integrated approach to pioneer ministry.
Introduction to Pastoral Care (taught in two parts) 20 hours
This module will offer you introductory material exploring some of the major themes and issues relating to pastoral care in congregational contexts. The place of pastoral care in the life and worship of Christian communities will be examined and assessed. You will be encouraged to begin to develop the skills and dispositions required to offer sustained and appropriate pastoral care in ways that do justice to context and to your own roles and experience. These explorations will pay attention to scriptural models and a range of Christian traditions. They will also be informed by relevant material drawn from the social sciences and psychology where these offer insights into human development and life processes both for individuals and for groups. The module will offer you opportunities to practice and enhance skills that are essential within the pastoral ministries of the Church. This will include careful attention when listening, and an appreciation of the significance of loss and grief as a worked example of pastoral care. It will also enable you to begin to engage with best practice in safeguarding, child protection and the protection of vulnerable adults. As an introductory course this module will, inevitably, connect with some material in more superficial ways than at depth. It will provide starting points for further study, engagement and formation and a range of resources with which to continue to grow into the ministries of pastoral care.
Introduction to Christian Doctrine and History 20 hours
This module builds foundations for ongoing study in Christian Doctrine and History. The module will explore sources for theological discourse and it will explore the grounds for a specifically Christian history from the emergence of ‘people called Christians’, to a persecuted sect, to an official religion within the Empire. Participants will be familiarized with the practices, methods and modes of Christian history through the examination of specified historical periods. Alongside this, the way Christians have known and described God as Creator, as the Son who came to save and as the Spirit who is the Life-giver will be explored. These foundations will be rooted in the life of the Church both in the sense of locating where that belief emerges from but also how it is held through the creeds and how it helps to re-shape the church today. It is hoped that by exploring the voices which have gone before, you can both make sense of the framework in which belief is set but in which you can also find your own voice.
Homiletics (Preaching) 10 hours
Although it is not considered as highly as it was at one time, the sermon remains an important part of worship in the Reformed tradition. Busy lives often mean that we prepare to preach without taking some time to think about why we preach and how to preach. This course is designed to have space to think about different types of sermon, the techniques used by famous preachers of the past, preaching through the Christian year, and preaching the occasional offices. Drawing particularly from our own tradition, we will explore the question: is a sermon different to a lecture or an essay? There will also be time for practical matters such as voice care and projection and exercises to help prepare.
Values, Policy and Practice in Children and Family Work 10 hours
This module will offer an overview of the broader context of children and family work, such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and the Playwork charter. The module will introduce you to professional standards, principles and values in children and family work and legal and policy frameworks such as: safeguarding, duty of care, health and safety, risk assessment. This module will offer the opportunity to reflect on issues related to management of self in a professional context and theological reflection on contemporary practices and principles of children’s work.
Values, Policy and Practice in Youth Work 10 hours
This module will encourage you to consider your ministerial practice within a broader context. In particular it will challenge you to consider how you understand your ministerial identity within a pluralistic society. The module will require you to reflect on your practice in light of an understanding of youth work as the accepted approach to working with young people in a non-school setting. You will reflect on professional standards, principles and values, as well as legal and policy frameworks such as: safeguarding, duty of care, health and safety, risk assessment. This module will offer the opportunity for you to place your developing identity within a theological frame.
Bible in Context 20 hours
The aim of this module is to help you better understand the Bible within its original context (as that can best be reconstructed), and as it has been interpreted in many different contexts during history in order that you can develop good practice in using the Bible within your own context today.
Using selected Old and New Testament texts, the module will survey different approaches to these texts and ways people have explored the world behind the text, in the text and in front of the text and applied the text to their own context. Connections will be made between Old and New Testament themes in an attempt to develop a nuanced biblical hermeneutic that is consistent in its treatment of the whole Bible. We will explore what makes for better or worse applications in a particular context and attempt to critically assess our own interpretations and those of others.
Christian Faith and Ethical Living 20 hours
This module integrates the theory and practice of Christian ethics. It begins by looking at questions of methodology in Christian ethics, commending an approach to Christian ethics which engages with key sources: the Bible, Christian tradition, reason and experience. It considers different approaches which variously emphasise rules, consequences and virtues, before looking more closely at the key virtues of love and justice. Linked with this discussion are considerations of important issues in ecological, economic, political, medical and sexual ethics. Both academic understanding of Christian ethics and the practical living of Christian faith are emphasised.
Leadership and Theology (taught in two parts) 20 hours
This module will introduce you to biblical and theological understandings of leadership, authority, service and collaboration within the perspective of the church’s ministry and mission. You will engage in a study of the relationship between spirituality and servant leadership and consider leadership from the perspective of listening to self, others God and the world. In the later part of the module you will have the opportunity to engage with theological and theoretical frameworks for management within a church context and offer transferable learning for management tasks within these contexts, including exploration of managing and building teams, managing meetings, decisions, others and themselves and aspects of change and conflict resolution.
Topics in Christian Doctrine 20 hours
This module will explore several major areas of doctrine with a particular emphasis on their roots in Scripture and their expression in the work of significant recent and contemporary theologians from different Christian traditions. Topics of discussion include approaches to systematic theology, Trinitarian theology, Christology, soteriology, sacramental theology, and ecclesiology. Doctrines will be examined and interpreted with reference to their biblical foundations, selected primary theological texts (in translation where not originally in English) and, where relevant, other sources (e.g. art, liturgy, hymnody or material evidence) which have influenced their shape and reception. Consideration will be given to each doctrine’s connection to the wider pattern of Christian theology. Attention will be paid to the relationships between doctrine and contemporary Christian practice and experience.
Mission and Apologetics 20 hours
This module is designed to help you to engage missionally with our contemporary culture. There are three elements to the module that contribute to this aim. First, it explores the evolving relationship between Christianity and its social and cultural context in the West, paying particular attention to the major intellectual, social and religious trends that have helped to shape people’s thinking in the 21st century as well as had a significant impact on the church’s life and witness. Second, the module aims to equip you with relevant contemporary skills for missional engagement. Underlying these is the ability to read and analyse culture from a missional perspective, exploring the unexamined assumptions of people around us whom the church is trying to reach. It aims to identify the key components for a church’s missional engagement, and to discern the key missional questions facing congregations today. The final element in the module is the study of apologetics. It surveys major apologetic approaches and evaluates their cultural effectiveness. It also tries to foster theological and cultural discernment in thinking about apologetic strategies, as well as nurture relevant skills in practice. As part of the course, you will present an apologetic approach to a contemporary question.
Higher level courses
Reflective Practice: Relationships and Emotional Management 20 hours
This module aims to support you in the variety of relationship with others, which forms the heart of ministry. In particular the module encourages and facilitates considered self-reflection in order to develop the robust emotional intelligence that ministry demands. Within this there will be a focus on a healthy acceptance of power within all relationships, the nature of assertiveness within conflict and non-conflict situations, and the importance of self-care in sustainable long-term engagement. These considerations will draw on a number of disciplines while you are encouraged to locate them all in a theological worldview that is able to live in the tension between and within hope, faith and love.
Methods in Modern Theology 20 hours
This module surveys diverse approaches in modern theology, paying attention to their contexts, methods, and legacies. The module explores how Christian thought developed in response to various aspects of modernity and postmodernity. The module encourages study of major modern theological texts and debate of their method, implications, and impact. Through engaging with the concept of theological methodology and methods, and how they lead to divergent theological positions, this module encourages participants to identify and evaluate these methods and to develop their own theological judgements and commitments. You will build on relevant secondary literature and guided primary reading in order to identify, compare, and evaluate major modern theological trends and their contexts.
Education for the Learning Church 20 hours
This module will enable you to explore the education of adults for Christian discipleship. It will help you to evaluate different adult education theories and to consider how these relate to the theory and practice of Christian discipleship and adult education in ministerial contexts. You will reflect on relevant theologies which will underpin and energise your understandings of Christian education and mission, and will have the opportunity to reflect theologically on your own role and identity as a Christian educator and life-long learner. The module will engage with different ecclesial contexts and perspectives and consider texts produced by Christian churches to guide the work of Christian education.
Reflective Practice: Mission and Ministry with Children & Families 20 hours
The aim of this module is to facilitate your development as an advanced children and families minister. The module encourages you to synthesise and integrate your learning within a considered approach to ministry that can be articulated to both fellow professionals and non-specialists. The module facilitates your self-understanding as a children and family minister and prepares you for engagement in future ministry where you will be expected to communicate a vision for the work to multiple audiences.
Reflective Practice: Mission and Ministry with Young People 20 hours
The aim of this module is to facilitate your development as an advanced youth minister. The module encourages you to synthesise and integrate your learning within a considered approach to ministry that can be articulated to both fellow professionals and non-specialists. The module facilitates your self-understanding as a youth minister and prepares you for engagement in future ministry where you will be expected to communicate a vision for the work to multiple audiences.
Advanced level courses
Themes in Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care (MA level) online, distance-learning (asynchronous) delivery in the Spring 30 hours
This module enables you to explore the history of pastoral theology and the practices of pastoral care in a variety of Christian traditions, uncovering ways in which these dimensions are now in dialogue with multi-cultural, multi-faith and non-religious settings and insights. It will explore some of the ways in which social science thinking and practice has entered into critical dialogue with established ecclesial practices and understandings. Participants will be expected to contribute their own experiences, practice and contexts into the emerging and developing conversation surrounding contemporary pastoral theology as a discipline and its outworking in Church, chaplaincy and wider society today.
The aim of this module is to enable participants to discover and draw upon the variety of traditions and lines of thinking that have influenced the practices of pastoral care within the wider Christian community. As we uncover, through literature, case studies and personal experiences some of the ways in which these traditions engage in contemporary contexts of care, including but not limited to more formal chaplaincy settings (e.g. hospital, hospice, prison, etc.) we will see ways in which thinking and practice are evolving. It is not assumed that participants will currently be working within formal chaplaincies or will be holding public offices and roles within churches. But the lived experiences of everyone in the class of care giving and receiving care with and from others will be honoured as essential elements in the discussions that develop throughout this module.