About the Bishop's Certificate Thu 18th of Dec.

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The Bishop's Certificate, a partnership between Trinity College Theological School and the Diocese, will launch in 2015 and begin its first studies after Easter.

It is designed to allow participants to learn more about the Scriptures and Christian tradition, and to reflect on and expand their own experience of being a Christian in response. As groups work through the material together, they will gain a deeper awareness of how their story is woven into God's story of the whole Church through time, grow in the skills needed to articulate their own faith and in an awareness of the gifts God has given them for ministering in today's Church.

The Certificate is structured around small workshop groups that will study the material together along with an accredited mentor. Mostly likely, but not necessarily, this groups will be parish- or deanery-based.

The first four units of the Certificate introduce the group to critical thinking and reflection on the experience of living the Christian life, the Old and New Testaments and the history of the Anglican Church:

UNIT ONE: Experiencing Christian Faith: Examines eight Christian faith experiences, including singing, praying, using the Bible and discipleship

UNIT TWO: User's Guide to the Old Testament: Explores the ways in which stories from the past can help us to understand more about living in the contemporary world

UNIT THREE: User's Guide to the New Testament: Overviews New Testament writings, including their background in history and geography

UNIT FOUR: The Anglican Church - Our Story: Explores the story of the Anglican Church from its beginnings in the British Isles, to the Church of England and to present-day Australia

Depending on the speed at which the group agrees to go, each unit might take between five and eight weeks to complete.

The final two units of the Certificate have a more practical slant. They are designed to take the material of the first four units and the skills that participants have developed in reflecting on their own experience of being a Christian, and to turn those to the particular challenges of responding to God's call to ministry in the churches where we are, right here, right now.

A number of units will be offered in this part of the Certificate, from which participants will need to select two to complete the Certificate.

Of particular interest to Licensed Lay Ministers, but also to others, will be a unit on leading worship, the theology of worship, and basic principles of liturgical theology, and another on preparing and preaching sermons, leading bible study and working with small groups.

In addition, units will be offered on parish leadership and administration, targeted especially at parish councillors and church wardens, although this too may be of interest more broadly. Another will be offered in principles of pastoral care and visiting. It is possible that further units will be developed in response to the needs of participants as they emerge.



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