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Methodist students who are training in ‘course-style’ are on the Queen’s Connexional Course (QCC). This runs in parallel with the Queen’s Regional Course (QRC). Together the two courses form our Track 2.
On the Queen’s Connexional Course you get access to the same top quality training as the college-style training programme, but organised to allow you to carry on with work or with home or family responsibilities. This training typically lasts three years. It is also possible to train on the Queen’s college-style weekday programme part-time, so your training is spread over three years instead of the normal two. Some student ministers who begin their training part-time may be able to join the Circuit-based Learning Pathway in their second year.
The Queen’s Connexional Course (QCC) is delivered through residential weekends, a residential week and supported online learning. The course is designed for those who are in paid employment or who have other significant responsibilities which mean that they need to remain based in their home context during training. However, it requires a significant weekly commitment (15-20 hours per week, including local church involvement) over three years.
Most QCC students are enrolled on credit-bearing programmes validated by Durham University as part of the Common Awards. All learning takes place in a diverse, enriching, usually ecumenical setting. One of the residential weekends is Methodist only, which gives a chance to learn in a slightly different community.
- Residential weekends
There are seven residential weekends for each year group on QCC, held at Queen’s. They begin on Friday evening and end at Sunday lunch. These weekends focus formational learning in the context of prayer and corporate life.
These relatively brief periods of residence provide deep opportunities for the integration of heart, mind and hands, or being, knowing and doing. Six weekends are shared ecumenical weekends.
Each weekend includes teaching which relates to one or more academic modules. Each weekend contains three additional components that focus the programme as training for ministry:
- A community meeting and small groups for sharing and prayer.
- Shared worship. Students lead most of the worship at each weekend on a rota basis. Each weekend also includes a staff-led service which is usually a service of Holy Communion.
- Meals and time for relaxation.
One weekend is an additional opportunity for Methodist students to gather and is designed to compliment online module teaching
- Easter School
Each year there is also a residential Easter School.
- The Easter school in your first year usually takes place in Holy Week, and includes an intensive experience of the worship associated with the period from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday.
- The second and third year Easter Schools normally take place in Easter Week (the week after Easter) or the week after.
The exact dates (and lengths) of these varies from year to year depending on when Easter falls. Each year the Easter School forms the input for a different academic module. There is a different focus each year: Christian spirituality; inter-faith engagement; and further biblical studies.
- Online learning
Each year, up to three modules are delivered on-line, using written and audio-visual material, and a range of tasks and activities, such as discussion forums. Regular Skype seminars with the module tutor offer support and further opportunity to learn together as part of a small seminar group.
Further ministerial experience is gained through a placement during the early summer of the first year. This involves working alongside an experienced minister. This takes place in a different context from your previous experience, to develop further your appreciation of the Methodist Church’s ministry. It is arranged in such a way that it is possible for you to fit the placement alongside your work, home or family responsibilities.
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. If this placement attachment happens for you, it would be arranged according to what was practical and fitted with your other responsibilities.
- Local church activity (mid-week and Sundays)
As a part-time student minister you are required to give one session per week for work in a local (link) church. This will not normally be your home church but may be in your home Circuit. 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
Each student has a personal tutor with whom they meet four 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, depending on students’ own availability. 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.