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Reform Magazine | October 21, 2017

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Learning in practice

Learning in practice

Northern College moved to its present site in Luther King House, Manchester, with ecumenical partners, in 1985. Reform joined the 30-year celebrations in September to hear the stories of students and former students

Kirsty Mabbott – former student

I finished training as a church-related community worker (CRCW) this summer and took up my first post in Bettws. I’ll be doing the MA here part-time as well. It feels overwhelming and exciting, but this place has given me a great foundation. I didn’t expect in the first two months to use as many of the skills I learnt as I have done already. We learn how to research statistical data for the place we’re in, so we can make a real analysis of the needs of the community and where the church can fit in to its development. I’ve used that straightaway, to get my head round how things work, with the Welsh Assembly, for example. Also, developing good support structures and establishing pastoral boundaries. I preached to my new congregation for the first time last Sunday and used skills that I’d learned here about how you open the text up, with social/political aspects. They really valued having that sort of preaching.

Paul O’Connor – student

I’m about to enter the third year of stipendiary ministry training. I did one placement in a non-denominational church, then a chaplaincy in a hospital. Next, I’ll be in a United Reformed Church near me, where I’ll get involved wherever there might be gaps in my training.

What appealed to me about the course is that you immediately go on a placement – it’s very hands-on. You go and do ministry and then you reflect on it. It felt as if it was going to enable me for ministry, so that was the deciding factor for me.

Last year was really quite tough. There were changes in the timetable, the word count and when essays were due. I commute up from Portsmouth. I’ve got four kids and things happened at home that made it a challenge. Hopefully this year things will be different. The practicalities of training have impacted me, but the advantages outweigh the difficulties…

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This is an extract from the November 2015 edition of Reform.

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