A number of churches around the country have established a programme of Saturday morning or weekday evening sessions open to anyone, where there is clear and inspiring teaching on theological matters, with time to discuss their application to daily life. Learning hubs have already been established at Liverpool Cathedral, St George’s in Leeds and St Thomas Crookes in Sheffield among other places. Good, well-qualified speakers are invited to lead sessions and this is sometimes complemented by facilitated sessions using carefully chosen DVDs from St Paul’s Theological Centre based at Holy Trinity Brompton in London, or elsewhere. The emphasis is on high quality input and lively discussion.
Following exploratory discussions between some of the clergy from Christ Church, St Mark’s and St Peter’s in Harrogate, these three churches took a lead in establishing a similar School of Theology & Mission in the Harrogate area. This has the advantage of involving churches from a range of traditions and which together have the resources to support such an initiative. A small working group, initially drawn from the three sponsoring churches, has focused on developing the project and the core team has been augmented by representatives from other denominations. As the School of Theology & Mission grows, others with experience, skills and enthusiasm will be encouraged to join the working group.
Around the UK, Schools of Theology are proving to be of significant value in the life of those churches running the programme. They are helping to build and deepen faith and understanding, equipping people for a life of discipleship, encouraging people to develop a Christian world view and forming leaders for every sphere of life. In future years the programme will be extended and diversified to meet the needs and aspirations of those who choose to join this exciting journey of exploration and discovery.