Although we are properly more concerned to be Christian than to be denominational, understanding where our church came from is important. Knowing something about why it is the way it is can help you and the Church be more effective in making decisions about where we should be going in our life and Christian mission.
Presbyterian (Reformed) Studies was offered by the Ecumenical Institute for Distance Theological Studies for ten years and will now be available depending on demand through the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. Completing this paper has been of benefit to Presbyterian elders, youth leaders, Local Ordained Ministers and National Ordained Ministers transferring from overseas or from other denominations.
This website will help you see what the course involves. It also provides on-line resources for reference and self-study. You might like to read what an elder, Judith Parry, had to say in SPANZ about her experience doing this paper.
Part-time but not on your own
Presbyterian Studies is offered as on-line correspondence course. We work together sharing discussion on the weekly topic, comparing our ideas from readings, and questions from our own situation and experience. We use email and this website, and Skype conversations are also an option.
A comprehensive reader is provided in electronic form and there are one or two text books you may wish to borrow or purchase. There are introductions to each lesson on this website. For each lesson I email the class introducing each new topic.
There are three assignments and there is a short break between each module of five lessons and an assignment. There is no exam.
A weekly routine
- Monday : Expect to receive emails reviewing last week and introducing the next weekly lesson, including key reading and question for email discussion.
- Tuesday to Thursday : Reading, discussion with someone you know in your church or home, research and reflection. Email the group with your reflections on the lesson topic and question.
- Friday or Saturday : Engage in further email discussion on the topic and reflections of the week.
Doing it is the most important thing. There is a mark for your initial email of about 600 words and a bonus for every further email you send engaging in conversation with others in the group.
You need a reliable email connection and broadband if possible. Most of us need a computer buddy, but this course is not unduly complicated from a computer point of view.
As well as someone you can share your thoughts with, it is helpful if you have a local resource person willing to discuss the weekly questions and assignment topics and who may be able to lend books.