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Reform Magazine | April 23, 2024

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‘Just one thing...’ - Reform Magazine

‘Just one thing…’

Intentional teaching can transform lives. Knowing this, Gill Nichol discovers the vision of theological educators from different Christian traditions

Almost all of us can remember that one teacher who, because of their passion, determination, or their sheer love for their subject, made a difference to our lives and our learning. For me, it was Mr Smith, my A-level English teacher, who just loved the power of words. Against quite high odds, he tamed a group of 17-year-olds, helping us all fall under poetry’s spell and deliberately setting out to ensure that we learned to appreciate Sylvia Plath and Edward Thomas. He wanted it to make a difference to our lives – and through him, it did.

With transformation through intentional teaching in mind, Reform asked educators working in theological colleges: ‘What is the one thing you want to teach students?’

‘All you need is love’. Love for God – don’t neglect your own spiritual life, for otherwise you will have no way of refreshing yourself or others. Love for the people with whom you are working – your ministry requires you to understand your folk deeply, to care for them and to respect them – even if they can annoy you. Love for the things for which you have a passion – others will learn most from what truly matters to you. Love for life – live it with energy, imagination and creativity.

Jack Dyce is Principal of the Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College

I want to excite students about the depths and possibilities of meaning in Scripture. I want to encourage them to keep wrestling with God’s word, to be inspired and challenged by it and, ultimately, to be equipped to excite others. For me, it’s about helping students to look at the text in new ways; to see different patterns emerging from the multicoloured threads of divine love, grace and redemption that are woven throughout Scripture so that they can hear God speaking afresh to them and the communities in which they live and serve.

Alison Gray is Tutor in Old Testament Language, Literature and Theology at Westminster College, Cambridge

I don’t know if it can be ‘taught’ exactly, but the most important thing I hope to pass on to our students (if they haven’t already got it) is a love of learning – including a readiness to listen to other viewpoints and the humility to recognise that no matter how much we study, we can never know it all. More specifically, as a tutor of the Hebrew Bible, I want to share my enthusiasm for the scriptures that Jesus and his disciples would have read, and help students to deepen their appreciation of these fascinating ancient texts.

Kathy White is Tutor for Old Testament/Hebrew Bible at Northern College, Manchester…

Gill Nichol is Head of Communications for the United Reformed Church 


This is an extract from the April 2017 edition of Reform

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