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Launch of the Centre for Theology and Justice – Connecting faith and action

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Book Launch and Lecture – Hymns of Hope and Healing

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Conference for Lay Preachers’ – April 2017

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26 Jun

Summer School: Refreshing Worship, Renewing Preaching

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MA Modules

We offer a wide range of modules exploring ministry, mission and church-related community work. Here you will find a full list of all of our MA modules. Please note that not all modules will be available each year. A downloadable *.pdf version of this list is available here – MA Modules.

MA1 Methods and Resources in Contextual Theology

The unit will enable students to develop and evaluate contextual approaches to the Bible, mission, and congregational studies. It will analyse different models of contextual theology, and explore the way in which the classic theological disciplines of biblical studies and systematic theology relate to and interact with the theory and practice of contextual theology. Case studies devoted to the work of particular theologians will be used, providing in each case an overview of the relationship between their theological work and contextual circumstances, and a more detailed examination of a particular writing. The theologians selected will depend partly on staff expertise and availability and the make up of the class, but will include liberation, feminist, African and Asian theologians.

MA1a Methods in Contextual Theology

The unit will enable students to develop and evaluate contextual approaches to the Bible, mission, and congregational studies. It will analyse different models of contextual theology, and explore the way in which the classic theological disciplines of biblical studies and systematic theology relate to and interact with the theory and practice of contextual theology.

MA1b Resources in Contextual Theology

The module will enable students to develop and evaluate contextual approaches to the Bible, mission, and congregational studies, using critical analysis of literature and case studies of contextual theologians.

Case studies devoted to the work of particular theologians will be used, providing in each case an overview of the relationship between their theological work and contextual circumstances, and a more detailed examination of a particular writing. The theologians selected will depend partly on staff expertise and availability and the make up of the class, but will include liberation, feminist, African and Asian theologians.

MA26 Theologies of the Body

The unit will explore critiques of dualistic thinking expressed in contemporary expressions of embodied theologies. It will examine theological and ethical understandings of embodied theology in relation to themes such as gender and human sexuality, feminist theologies, ageing and disability, and eco theologies.

MAB1 The Bible in a Postmodern Context

In this module we will explore several aspects of the contextual shift, often denoted ‘postmodernism’, especially as these pertain to the status and function of biblical interpretation. The module will provide exposure to some of the major works of recent critical theory and worked examples of the use of theoretical resources within biblical interpretation. Participants will be expected to contribute to seminar sessions and to make initial presentations to the seminar on the topics that they will be exploring in their written assignment.

MAB2 Contemporary Controversies in Biblical Studies

This module offers an opportunity for students to get ‘up to date’ with some recent developments in biblical studies and related issues. Topics for study will be drawn from recent scholarship in both Old and New Testaments, especially where new ideas are challenging or contradicting earlier hypotheses, and from contemporary issues that relate more generally to biblical theology. Students will benefit most from this module if they have previously completed biblical studies at undergraduate level or higher.

MAB3 Enquiry-Based Learning as an Approach to Biblical Studies

This module offers students the opportunity to practice the techniques of enquiry-based learning in relation to the selected biblical text(s). Students will work collaboratively in tutorial teams to identify, select and research aspects of a scriptural text using Enquiry Based Learning methods, as their contribution to a set project. They will then reflect on the process, the methodology, the quality of their own research and their discoveries.

MAB5 Paul’s Gospel in Rome: Pauline Theology in Context

This unit will look at issues in Paul’s letter to Romans, such as;

  • Coherence and contingency in Paul’s theology and letters
  • The situation behind Romans and the purpose of the letter (Romans 1:14-15)
  • Paul as an apocalyptic theologian (Romans 1:1-17)
  • Sin, power and law (Romans 1-3)
  • Paul’s Christology in context (Romans 5)
  • Paul’s language of salvation (Romans 3:5-6)
  • Paul’s theology of the Spirit (Romans 8)
  • Jew and Gentile and the question of identity (Romans 9-11)
  • The Church as the new community (Romans 12)
  • The Church and the State (Romans 13)

In addition to these topics, participants will be asked to participate in exegetical seminars exploring in detail key texts from Paul’s letter to the Romans.

MAC2 Reflective Practice in Church and Community

The unit will draw on the growing literature on reflective practice and congregational studies to enable participants to develop their skills in theological reflection on such topics as; management of change and conflict, the understanding of structures, organizations and power issues, group dynamics, and professional ethics and boundaries. It is intended particularly for those whose roles include leadership of churches or community organizations, strategic thinking, and the development of vision. It will enable participants to develop skills in supervision and consultancy, and analyse the theological implications of different models of leadership and management.

MAC3 Pastoral and Spiritual Care in the Postmodern Context

This course is aimed particularly at practitioners, teachers and supervisors in the area of pastoral and spiritual care. It will look at critiques of pastoral care raised by African and feminist perspectives, and issues raised by emerging and alternative models of church. It will examine pastoral care in relation to faith development, to the disciplines of counselling and psychotherapy, and to the growing focus on spiritual care in the fields of education, health and social care. It will pay particular attention to issues of gender, sexuality and working with children and young people; and develop an awareness of issues relating to boundaries, power and abuse, and good practice.

MAC4 Chaplaincy in the Multi-faith and Secular Context

This unit is designed for those working or on placement in chaplaincy, or engaged in some form of workplace ministry. It will evaluate the contemporary role of chaplaincy, and how it engages with secular agendas of community cohesion and spiritual care. It will examine chaplaincy in various settings (eg health care, retail, the armed forces, the prison service and education) and enable reflection on the ethical and theological issues that arise in practice.

MAC6a Understanding Contextual Worship

This module will explore worship from a contextual viewpoint, giving a brief overview of historical developments, and examining contemporary expressions of liturgy from theological, psychological, social and anthropological perspectives. Participants will be encouraged to analyse current expressions of liturgy in relation to particular contexts, such as inclusivity, new forms of church, and rites of passage.

MAC6b The Language of Worship

This module will explore words used in worship from a contemporary, contextual viewpoint focusing particularly on those elements which can be regarded as being poetic in nature. It will concentrate on hymns, songs and prayers currently available outside the canon of specifically denominational resources.

Participants will be encouraged to analyse these resources with a view to understanding what makes these elements effective and apt parts of worship. They will also be encouraged to write and critique their own material.

MAC6c The Theory and Practice of Preaching

This unit will critically examine a range of issues relating to the theology and practice of preaching including its nature, its purpose, its validity and what constitutes effective preaching.

MAE1 Learners and Learning in Christian Adult Education

The unit will pay primary attention to the needs of the facilitator of adult learning.

It assumes that an understanding of learning is a necessary pre-requisite before developing ways of teaching. It will engage with experiential, developmental and transformational models of adult learning and will address issues of intelligence, learning style and motivation.

Throughout, it will focus on the way these approaches have been understood and engaged with in the field of adult Christian learning, and will explore the relationship between adult learning models and Christian understandings of humanity.

A critical dialogue between the participant’s own context and learning theory will form an essential element of the unit, requiring participants both to critique their practice in the light of theory and critique the theory in the light of practice. Teaching methods used within the unit will seek to reflect a variety of models and approaches.

MAE2 Teachers and Teaching in Christian Adult Education

The unit is intended for those who have a developed understanding of adult learning and wish to focus on strategies for the delivery of adult learning programmes.

It will ask what adult Christian education is seeking to achieve, in the process exploring whether theological education is a distinct activity and considering the concept of “passing on the tradition”. It will explore teaching styles. It will examine the facilitation of self-directed learning and e-learning. It will engage with the theory of learning outcomes and its practical outcomes in course development, unit description and assessment strategies.

Throughout, it will focus on the relevance of these matters for theological education, congregational learning and denominational strategies.

A critical dialogue between educational theory and the participant’s own educational practice will form an essential element of the unit. When leading seminars and other learning activities participants will be expected to select from a range of teaching methods, and to engage with others in critical reflection on the methods used.

MAG1 Perspectives on Religious Diversity

The unit will address the question of religious diversity from a variety of angles, including the political and ideological contexts of ‘otherness’. It will outline and analyse exclusivist perspectives (or in Paul Knitter’s terms, ‘total’ or ‘partial replacement’ theologies), inclusivist perspectives (from Rahner and D’Costa’s Trinitarian model, to comparative theologies and postliberal approaches), the pluralism represented by philosophical (Hick), mystical (Panikkar) and ethical approaches (Suchocki, Knitter), and the ‘complementary’ (or ‘deep’) pluralism of John B. Cobb. It will explore different Muslim and Sikh perspectives on religious diversity, and examine the principles of sensitive and honest dialogue and practice – both within Christian faith with those of a different perspective, and on the frontiers of faith.

MAG3a Issues in the Theology of Mission

This unit will focus on developing a critical and contextual examination of a selection of current issues in the theology of mission.

MAG4 Jesus through the eyes of Other Faiths

The unit will consider the developing responses to the figure of Jesus Christ by Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs as articulated in various parts of the world and taking into consideration both theological and social influences. Material will be drawn from scriptures, where appropriate, and theological reflections and critical evaluations made, taking into account the context in which responses are made. It is intended that the course will enable participants to develop skills of sensitive presentation of their own understanding of the Christ figure to people of other faiths.

MAG7 Reading the Bible Ecologically

The unit will pay primary attention to critical readings of the Bible in the context of the global climate crisis. The main, but not exclusive, context will be climate change but by extension also what is, by many, regarded as human abuse of creation in more general terms (pollution, or over-using of resources, for example).

This unit will enable students to critique and evaluate ecological readings of the Bible alongside exploring the theological and ethical consequences for our understanding of God, humankind and other-than-human creation.

MAG8 Jesus and Mission in the shadow of Empire

This module draws on an insight within the ecumenical movement that ‘Empire’ is a pertinent lens through which to interpret 21st century systems and relationships. It relates that insight to recent scholarship about the interaction between Jesus’ ministry and the Roman imperial context. It asks how such a way of interpreting the world informs churches’ understanding and practice of mission. To explore this, it draws on experiences and theologies from around the world.

Particular themes of imperial contexts will be explored, such as: economics, patterns of domination, and cultural conformity.

MAS1 Researching Issues in Contemporary Urban Theology

The unit will enable participants to initiate some original theological research in a local urban area, drawing on a critical analysis of current theories of urban development, contemporary theories of church mission and ministry in urban areas, and current research findings from a variety of sources in an urban area in the UK.

MAS3 Spirituality in Contemporary Culture

In this module we will examine and evaluate different definitions of spirituality and throughout the course will be encouraged to look at spirituality as people encounter it. Critical attention will be paid to New Age spirituality and other contemporary forms of spirituality including spirituality in film, literature, novels, and art. Specific case studies will consider the relationship between spirituality and hymnody and the urban context and explore the role of spirituality in the celtic and charismatic traditions.

MAS4 Contemporary Trends In Evangelism

In this module we will explore a range of developments and trends in the theology and practice of evangelism particularly in relation to the context of western culture.

MAS6a Christian Ethics in Pastoral Context

This course focuses on selected texts which should enable the participant to

  • deepen their awareness of the ethical ramifications of Christian anthropology.
  • understand key philosophical and theological approaches to ethics, including Consequentialist, Deontological and Virtue-based approaches.
  • apply moral concepts to a selection of controversial issues related to medicine, sex and warfare.

This course is aimed primarily at those exercising some form of pastoral ministry (whether ordained or lay), but should be beneficial to others keen to develop their understanding of Christian ethics. It should equip participants to advance their understanding of, and ability to apply, Christian moral scholarship to contemporary moral issues.