Training for Everyone: New Encounters in Theology

An Invitation to Study

The good news comes knocking on doors that we didn’t even know we had; it flings open the curtains on windows we didn’t know existed to reveal the rising sun flooding the room with glory when we had imagined that all light came from candles; it woos our cold hearts and awakens them, like someone falling in love for the first time, to a joy and fulfilment never before imagined…  —Tom Wright

As a college we believe that the best way we can help others to allow good news to shine in on our lives is by taking seriously the call to theological study. This goes beyond academic exercise for our vision is one that forms us to be Christ-centred and world-engaging. We seek to cultivate adventurous faith, missional hope and grounded love and believe that this is best done in community. Our goal is to equip leaders for mission and Church growth in the South West and beyond. As a leading provider of theological education in the region we equip Christ followers with the resources needed to be effective leaders in the church today.

Adventurous faith – growing together in the grace of God, we take risks in the Spirit. Faithful to God in prayer, practical skills put flesh on the bones of our theological studies, and spiritual formation breathes life into our service. Our adventures of faith in church, work and world weave together with academic integrity.

 Missional hope – sharing God’s gift of a living hope in Jesus Christ, we train leaders to make and nurture disciples, and be creative in all dimensions of God’s mission. We prepare ministers to serve others with trust and joy.

Grounded love – rooted in God’s love, we support and encourage one another. We believe in the power of prayer, celebrating our unity in diversity, and having fun as we learn together. We are proud to know and serve the South West, its villages and cities, its hills, moors and coastal communities.

Training for Everyone

 The College’s academic programmes will help you learn about the Bible and the many ways Christian thinkers have tried to understand God’s ways. Our courses will deepen your knowledge of Christianity so that you can better serve as a disciple of Christ.

They are validated by Durham University, as part of the Church of England’s Common Awards, and enable independent students to study part-time, alongside those training for ministry as Ordinands and Readers in the Church of England. Each year, students embark on study towards a Certificate (120 credits over two years) or a Diploma (240 credits over four years) in Theology, Ministry and Mission. It is possible to extend this to take a BA over six years. These courses are particularly suitable for those who have taken the College’s one year introductory course: Foundations in Christian Ministry. Students who do not wish to study for credit may attend all Saturday classes as ‘sitters-in’.

The Programme

In the first year, independent students study ‘Introduction to the Bible’, ‘Introduction to Christian Doctrine and History’, ‘Introducing Theological Reflection’ (online) and ‘Foundations for Ministry and Worship in Context’.  The following year they study modules on ‘Human identity’ and ‘Ministry and Mission in Context’, and pursue their interests by further studies in the Bible and doctrine where they have some choice of the focus they research and write on. Our teachers are experienced theologians from the region, including our staff, visiting academics and church leaders.

This programme is delivered through seven study days on Saturdays, held at the University of St Mark & St John in Plymouth. The dates for 2020-21 are: September 5, October 17 November 21, January 16, March 6, May 8, & June 5. For those less confident about returning to study after a time away the Study Skills evening on September 9 is a particularly helpful introduction, but attendance there is required of all students.

For students studying for credit, these classes are supported by online sessions and resources and interspersed with smaller local group mid-week evening meetings, called Reflective Practice Seminars (dates and locations for 2020-21 to be confirmed). These gather twice in between each Saturday and are designed to develop, follow up and apply the teaching. Recordings and other online activities are delivered through Moodle, our virtual learning environment.

How to Apply

Enquiries:

We welcome enquiries and can offer information about our Open Days (held on Saturdays during the current Residential weekends at Marjon). Please contact the Training Coordinator and Administrator admin@swmtc.org.uk or the Academic Administrator (academicadmin@swmtc.org.uk) To find out more about our vision and values please visit swmtc.org.uk

Registration:

This should normally be complete before the end of August although it may be possible to attend the first Saturday study day of the course before committing to study. Please contact the Academic Administrator: academicadmin@swmtc.org.uk who will send you a registration form to complete. There are no interviews. 

Entry requirements:

  • Certificate The basic entry level requirement is one A-level or equivalent but please contact the Academic Registrar (academic@swmtc.org.uk) if you do not meet this requirement as some alternative experiences or qualifications may be acceptable.

  • Diploma Previous award of Certificate.

  • BA Degree Previous award of Diploma.

  • Sitting in Open to all.

Fees:

The fees for studying are as follows: 

Independent students studying for a Certificate (year 1 for 70 credits) £100 registration fee (non-refundable) + (3 x £360) = £1,180

Independents in 2nd year of Certificate programme (year 2 = 50 credits) £100 registration fee (non-refundable) + (3 x £260) = £880

Sitting-in £45 per day or £300 for all Saturdays (7 per year) if paid before the date of the first weekend.

Anglican students in the process of discernment and recommended to study by the DDO may obtain a bursary toward this. Please ask.

Diploma & BA Independent students studying for 60 credits: £100 registration fee (non-refundable) + (3 x £400) = £1,300

Reflections from a ‘sitting-in’ student…

“Perhaps because I missed out on higher education until I was in my 40s, it has always seemed a privilege to me to be in a higher education classroom. Somehow this sense of privilege is magnified when 99% of the class are required to succeed in theological and pastoral assessments to further pursue their vocation in the many and varied manifestations of church ministry. For a fee no more than an evening class, it is possible to sit alongside these inspiring students of all ages in the classroom, without the inevitable pressure of writing essays. ‘Sitting in’ students like me are welcomed as one of the group, and invited to share not only what they are learning from the texts and the lecturers but also to participate in their theological and ethical debates. For me it gives a theological frame to my work as a voluntary member of a hospital chaplaincy team, but even without that motivation I would want to ‘be there’ as, like all good higher education, this course causes me to question that which I had previously taken for granted.”