Being Challenged and Inspired by Theology
Studying theology enriches our relationship with God. With Church in Wales members eligible for a 20% discount on course fees, Revd Canon Dr Trystan Hughes tells us why studying at St Padarn's Institute is the next best step in our faith journey.
Two years ago I became Tutor in Applied Theology at St Padarn’s, a role I undertake alongside my ministry as vicar of Christ Church, Roath Park. My principal responsibility at the college is as the programme lead for the Masters in Theology course. Sometimes people have a rather rigid picture of the kind of students they think undertake a MA in Theology with us – scholarly clerics who, as my dad would put it, “are of so much heavenly use they are of no earthly value”!
In fact, what I love most of all about my role is the breadth of students who undertake my course. They are from all sorts of backgrounds, from all sorts of ministries (lay and ordained), and bring all kinds of experiences to their studies.
Let me introduce you to some of them.
- There’s Jamie, a lay person with a heart for asylum seekers, who is set to explore what the Bible has to say about welcoming “outsiders”.
- There’s Alex, a vicar who is a radio DJ on the side, who is researching how pop music might inspire the spirituality of today’s young people.
- There’s Jo, a curate who has theologically reflected on her experience of seeing Jesus in those with learning disabilities.
- There’s Rachel, a former youth worker who is considering whether fasting has any place in a world where so many are struggling with body image.
- There’s Janet, a retired cleric who just wanted to return to the joy of reading and writing after a long ministry.
- Then there’s Will, a young lay person who has explored the challenge of violence and masculinity in biblical texts.
- There’s Martine, who nervously returned to learning and is now enjoying relating her faith to her desire to reach out to young people struggling with their mental health.
- There’s Tim, a non-Anglican lay person with an infectious enthusiasm for how theology can assist mission in the valleys.
- There’s Ben, a marathon-running curate who is working on the relationship between spirituality and physical health.
- There’s Alyson, who is training for ministry and is considering online worship in the light of Covid 19.
- And there’s Simon, a lay church member who has explored what God’s grace offers to those struggling with alcohol dependence.
All the students, and many, many more, have been inspiration to me and other tutors as we have walked with them in their journeys of study of such wide and varied subjects. And this year we have moved the Masters course to Durham University, one of the top five theological education institutions in the world.
The new course structure has given students all the more freedom to tailor the course to specific needs and interests, allowing them to find their own niche – whether that is within practical theology, doctrine, Old Testament, New Testament, spirituality, mission, or church history.
And so this Masters course is not a dry, detached way of studying dusty old books.
Instead, our aim is for our students’ daily discipleship and ministerial practice to develop and thrive through study and reflection.
Our faith comes alive when it is applied to our everyday lives - when we engage with contemporary thinking, culture and scholarship.
Furthermore, the delivery of the new Durham MA in Theolgy, Ministry, and Mission is flexible for those undertaking it. In the past, our Masters course has had a rather rigid timetable which has not been ideal for those with busy lives or those living away from Cardiff. This newly updated course, though, has been designed to be convenient for working students, with the delivery split between three-day residentials, online provision, and day courses.
The cost of the Masters is also very competitive in comparison with other institutions.
Church in Wales members receive a 20% discount of the fees.
How to start your journey
Perhaps you yourself have always wanted to undertake the challenge of a Masters? Or maybe you simply have an area of theological or ministerial interest that you want to explore further? Or perhaps you can see that further study could inspire and challenge your faith or ministry? It’s certainly worth contacting me to talk.
Just email me on email@example.com and we can arrange an informal phone call to chat through possibilities.
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