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Theological training: college or course?

29 June 2011


From the Revd Robert W. Nichols

Sir, — I must take issue with Canon Mike Parsons (News, 10 June) that “There is very little evidence to suggest that either college or course training is superior to the other.”

From my experience as a former student of both, I would say that a college course is manifestly superior.

The outcomes to which Canon Parsons appeals do not support his claim. For example, that a large percentage of part-time course trainees went into stipendiary ministry does not necessarily reflect equal achievement in training. More probably, it reflects a lowering of expectations for the training of stipendiary priests.

A typical part-time course, over two or three years, meets one even­ing a week, plus one or two week­ends over each term, and several days in the summers, to train some­one who is still working full-time on his or her current career. Can such a course provide the same range and depth of training that a full-time residential college does over the same number of years? The question almost answers itself.

The Rectory, 4 Hunters Ride
Norfolk NR17 1DE

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