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If you are going to be training full-time, then the Queen’s college-style weekday programme is the natural starting point for exploring what we have to offer. Lectures are focused during the early part of the week (Monday to Thursday), with practical involvement in a local church expected at weekends. Some students live on-site, but it’s possible to live at home and commute to Queen’s daily or to be a resident Monday-Thursday. Typical full-time training lasts two years, but it can be longer or shorter, depending on your age and previous experience or study.
- The shape of the week and the year
This formational pathway is shaped around weekday learning on the campus. Students will generally be required to be in classes on campus Monday to Thursday. Friday is a non-teaching day to enable personal study or work in a local church. Part of Sunday is also set aside for hands-on experience with a local church.
Within the weekday pattern, a number of significant features shape a programme that is focused on ministry training:
- Teaching that is specifically related to public ministry through a variety of modules
- A small group meeting for sharing and prayer each week
- Other activities, such as community gatherings, shared meals, etc.
Students can work at either undergraduate or postgraduate levels, on the programme that builds on any previous theological study and best suits their formational needs. Most students are enrolled on credit-bearing programmes validated by Durham University as part of the Common Awards. At every level, students value the diversity of the theological experience and perspectives found within the classroom environment.
Modules are taught primarily during term time. There may be additional courses to prepare students for ministry, or additional opportunities for practical experience, which fall outside term times. In recent years students have had the opportunity to focus on rural experience and ministry.
- Daily prayer and worship
Each day has provision for daily prayer and worship. Corporate gathered worship is led by students at midday. On Tuesday and Wednesdays evenings, there is a staff-led service of Holy Communion. There may be additional gatherings for prayer and worship specifically organised by students. Worship that is woven into daily life and learning is an important part of formation for public ministry.
Further ministerial experience is gained through an intensive placement during the second half of the summer term. This involves working alongside an experienced minister, usually for 5 weeks. The placement happens in a different context from your previous experience, to develop further your appreciation of the Methodist Church’s ministry. You will be involved in deciding what your needs are for the placement and discussing practical implications (for instance the distance you may be able to travel, or the possibility of living in the placement context).
In the second year of training, there may be an opportunity to spend time on a different kind of placement experience, still with an experienced practitioner, in a community-based context (for example in a chaplaincy context in a hospital or prison, or in a community project). It helps student ministers to see ministry in a wider context, not simply focused on church congregations.
- Local church activity
If you are a full-time student minister you are required to give 1-2 sessions per week including Sunday for work in a local (link) church. This will not be your home church and not usually in your home Circuit but somewhere that gives you a different experience. If you move to Queen’s, it will be in a Circuit accessible from the college. The expectations for this work are set and agreed in discussion with the church minister. The practice and experience gained in leading worship and preaching in the local church feed into a worship portfolio, compiled over the duration of your training.
- Personal tutorial support and oversight
Students have a personal tutor with whom they meet six times a year to discuss their ministerial formation and training experience. At the end of the year, personal tutors, in dialogue with other Queen’s staff, prepare a report on the student’s progress which goes to the Connexional Committee with oversight of student deacons (the Ministerial Candidates and Probationers Oversight Committee & the Warden of the Methodist Diaconal Order) and student presbyters (MCPOC).
There are additional formational sessions for diaconal students with diaconal members of the staff team.
- Opportunities to engage with the world church
Queen’s is an international community, with serving ministers from around the world studying here as part of their own ministerial development.
In addition, all students are encouraged to make the most of our international links and the visits which take place each year to different contexts around the world. Methodist students will have funding available to them for these opportunities to engage with the world church. In recent years visits have included exchanges with theological colleges in South India and Sri Lanka, and it is hoped that the range of opportunities will be expanded in the next few years to include Africa and continental Europe, and different sorts of ministerial context.