Returning to the Church 2010 Conference: Valuing Theological Education

St Stephen’s House, Oxford and
the Centre of Theology and Philosophy, Nottingham

Returning to the Church 2010

Valuing Theological Education

4-6 January 2010
St Stephen’s House, Oxford

Speakers include: John Milbank, Graham Ward, Alister McGrath, Benedict Viviano OP, Michael Northcott, Graham James, Stephen Platten. Click here for a full list of speakers.

For full details see:

Conference poster may be downloaded here.

Click here to register for the conference.

From the conference description:

The conference will fall into three sections. The first will consider the theology of education from a number of perspectives. We do not want to assume that we know what education means separate from consideration of the theological tradition. Then come two more practically focused parts: ministerial education, and lay education and catechesis.

The Church of England stands at a crossroads over ministerial education. Costs are rising, not least because of the government’s recent decision over ‘equivalent level qualifications’. This forces universities to charge far higher fees for a degree course when the student already holds a degree at that level. This applies to many ordinands. Alongside this, the current financial situation means that the Church has less to spend. Some dioceses may opt out of residential training. Alongside this there are many additional considerations, such as the balance of ‘theoretical’ and ‘practical’ disciplines, and the relation of initial to on-going training. We will consider these in the middle section.

It is important, however, to conflate theological education with ministerial education. It is always as preparation for the wider work of encouraging theological literacy in the Church at large. This is all the more important as the cultural climate grows increasingly antagonistic to Christianity. On the front line in Christian apologetics are lay people who understand the Faith.

Lay Theological Education stands at the heart of the Returning to the Church project. In the third section of the conference this year we will begin to consider some of the necessary components of a renewal of catechesis, including the role of ‘liturgical formation’ and the lessons that can be learned from programmes of instruction both old and new, from the catechesis of Cyril of Alexandria, to the Oxford Movement and on to the Alpha Course.



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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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