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Developing Communities: New Masters Level Programme
Submitted on 17th January 2012
For the last 11 years the College has been at the forefront of training Christian Youth Workers, and more recently Community Workers, through its undergraduate programme in Youth & Community Work with Applied Theology. This programme allows students not only to be trained in the professional practice of youth and community work, but also to develop their theological thinking and apply this to their work.
Over time it has become evident that, after their formal training, youth and community workers want to continue their professional development, in terms of both their theology and their practice, in order to meet the new challenges they regularly face in their work. Moreover, it has also been found that those in other fields of ministry are becoming increasingly involved in community projects for which they would like additional training. To respond to these needs ICC is launching a new Master of Theology in Community Learning & Development, a programme that not only considers the practical issues of working with communities, but also allows the development of theological thinking on the issues raised. We are aiming to have the programme validated this academic year with a view to it beginning in August.
“At a time when many people, of all ages, are facing increasing challenges – financially, socially and personally - the Church is often seen as only able to address ‘spiritual problems’ however spirituality is not something to be compartmentalised but affects all areas of life. This programme aims to equip the Church to be holistic in its ministry showing that the Church is both relevant and active in today’s society.”
Graeme McMeekin, Vice-Principal
Community Learning and Development (previously know as Community Education) is a secular term which is normally used in reference to the combined fields of youth work, adult learning and community capacity-building. It is more often associated with the work of Local Authorities than with churches and yet the Church actually has a long heritage in these fields whether it is in youth work through the Sunday School movement and uniformed organisations, or in adult learning through the insistence of John Knox that everyone should be taught how to read so they could read the Scriptures, or in Community Capacity-building through the Church gathering communities and encouraging a stand against injustices such as that taken by William Wilberforce. Each of these historic approaches, are birthed from particular theological understandings that are still relevant today but which are practiced in a different way to suit the contemporary context.
This new programme is aimed at those already engaged in community learning and development activities, either full-time or part-time or in a voluntary capacity. The nature of such ministry is wide and varied, it could be those involved in youth work, adult learning or community capacity-building, or those involved in pastoral ministry, or individuals working with those who would be defined as socially excluded. It allows people to study whist continuing to do the work which they want to develop. For a lot of people giving up work to study full-time is not a realistic option, and this programme is designed in such a way as to allow people to study and work by coming into the college for week-long teaching blocks. In fact, the programme is so concerned with the application of theology and practice to concrete situations that continuing with work is an essential component for the learning.
Vice-Principal Graeme McMeekin says of this new programme, “At a time when many people, of all ages, are facing increasing challenges – financially, socially and personally - the Church is often seen as only able to address ‘spiritual problems’ however spirituality is not something to be compartmentalised but affects all areas of life. This programme aims to equip the Church to be holistic in its ministry showing that the Church is both relevant and active in today’s society.”
|For more information about this programme contact Alison Nicolson, Admissions Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org|
Vice-Principal Graeme McMeekin talks about the college's commitment to training people to work professionally in the field of community learning and development.
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