Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Presbyterian and Reformed Christianity

Assignments and Grading

Here are some tips on Writing Essays you may find useful.

The final grade for the course is based on evidence of your meeting the learning outcomes for the course as evidenced by:

Contribution to weekly emails and discussions: 10%

Assignment 1: 15%

Assignment 2: 25%

Assignment 3: 50%

To finish the course the 3 essay assignments must be completed and responses to all the15 weekly emails.

Weekly emails

These should show evidence of consulting the readings for the week and of discussion with others. It may indicate how you personally react to the issues being raised.

The weekly emails a contribution to discussion not a formal essay and a bibliography is not required. The length is not critical, but three paragraphs or 600 words may be taken as a  guide.

It is important to keep up with these discussions. It is better to seek an extension for the essays than get behind on the weekly emails.

Essay assignments

There are 3 assignments in conventional essay format including footnotes and a bibliography of 15 to 25 items drawn from books, articles, websites, the Course Reader, or a textbook such as Glenn Sunshine, The Reformation for armchair theologians, and interviews with named people.

You are required to use a conversation with at least one other person as a source in all three assignments.

You can borrow books from the Hewitson Library at Knox College Dunedin and the Kinder Library at St John's Auckland, as well as from other theological libraries.

Don't forget to use material in the Reader. It is surprising how many forget!

Please be in touch with me if your forsee difficulties with the completion dates or your need help finding suitable resources.

The word limit does not include footnotes and bibliography. That said, the use of excessive footnoting to avoid keeping to the word limit will be commented on in the first assignement and penalised in subsequent assignments.

Assignment 1: 1500 words 15%

EITHER Discuss the life and legacy of a key figure in the history of Presbyterian Christianity.

This is a biographical study and it relates to the whole of the history period we are covering - from the Celtic Church to recent times. They could be someone who is not mentioned in our lessons, but they need to be Presbyterian or in the Reformed tradition.

For example:

  • Martin Bucer (Reformer in Strasbourg, mentor to Calvin)
  • John Laughton (missionary to Tuhoe)
  • Rutherford Waddell (NZ Presbyterian minister, social reformer, famous preacher, first editor of the church magazine, The Outlook)
  • John Williams (London Missionary Society missionary to the Pacific)

OR Using interviews and other resources discuss the experiences of a woman elder, deaconess, minister or missionary in Christian ministry.

We need more resources, and a number of our pioneer women ministers have died in recent years. There is not a lot of material in the Reader but note Reading 4. "Women and the Foreign Missionary Movement," in Leslie Orr Macdonald, A unique and glorious mission. Women and Presbyterianism in Scotland 1830 to 1930, John Donald, Edinburgh, 2000, 104-166 and especially Reading 9. Vivienne Adair, Women of the Burning Bush, Wellington, Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, 1991, 1-7.

Please email me with your choice and ask about resources if you are not sure.  

Assignment 2: 2000 words 25%

 Discuss the value to the Church of the Westminster Confession or one of the other statements of faith important to Presbyterians listed on

This builds on Week 5 Confessions and Covenants. You will need to consult readings 7, 8 and 9 in the Reader. Do not forget to talk to someone about this assignment to help understand the question and clarify your ideas.

Feel free to discuss your questions and problems with others in the group by email.

Assignment 3: 2500 words 50%

Discuss the theological and leadership issues surrounding a critical incident or issue in a congregation known to you.

(So that if the issue involved managing change, then you would set yourself the question: "Discuss the theological and leadership issues involved in the management of change in ... [type of congregation]." )

Please discuss your choice of incident or issue and suitable resources with me.

Some resources

  • Nancy Ammerman, ed. Studying Congregations, Abingdon Press (UBS Dunedin has copies for sale)
  • Roger Nicholson, ed. Temporary shepherds. A congregational handbook for interim ministry, Alban, 1998.
  • Peter Steinke, Congregational leadership in anxious times, Alban, 2006. 

Post and Email your Assignment

1. Please post a printed copy of each assignment together with a cover sheet (link below) and a stamped addressed envelope to John Roxborogh, PO Box 8124, Gardens, Dunedin 9041. Posting a copy enables me to mark the assignment and forward it for moderation before it is returned to you.

2. Please also submit an electronic copy of both the essay and the two-page cover sheet by email attachment to

Assignment Cover Sheet (two pages)