Whilst some Westcott students are deep in exams, others, including some research students and those on the Common Awards Pathway, have been taking part in a programme of talks, workshops and other events during the past few weeks. Put together by tutors Alison Grey and Eeva John, this ‘Easter Term Programme’ has been organised in direct response to students’ requests to use the down time at the end of term for more exploratory learning. Similar to the January Intensives but much more varied, the Programme has included sessions on:
- A taster course in Biblical Hebrew with Heather Leppard
- An Introduction to Apologetics with Jeff Philips
- Exploring Rural Ministry with Alison Fulford
- A reading group on Henri Nouwen’s book The Return of the Prodigal Son
- Christian Ministry in the light of Hindu Spirituality with Ankhur Barua
- Lyric Poetry and the Life of Faith with Dom Thornton
- Liturgy & Public Theology and Liturgy & Evangelism workshops with Ed Foley
Feedback for the sessions has been widely positive, with students reflecting on the flavour that each of these sessions and topics had given their theological study. In the ‘Lyric poetry’ sessions, attendees were encouraged to pick a poem by the poet of the day (including R. S. Thomas & Gerard Manley Hopkins), to read up on it a bit, and then bring it to the group to be explored together. Literary background and form, the spirituality of the poets and their worldview were all topics of discussion. One student commented that she had come to the sessions as a complete novice to poetry but had left ‘with a much greater ability to appreciate lyric poetry’ thanks to ‘Dom bringing his love for poetry and generally sharing it with us’.
After hearing from a wealth of stories from Alison Fulford in the Exploring Rural Ministry session, students were split up into two groups. One was tasked with planning an agricultural service, the other with working out a term-rota of preachers and presiders. ‘It was great to start getting our heads round how complicated but exciting rural ministry can be, and to hear Alison’s stories was very encouraging,’ reflected one of the ordinands.
Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 of the Easter Programme posts!