AN ONLINE theological training course solely for women is being run by the conservative Evangelical Church Society and the Union School of Theology.
The Priscilla Programme has been set up to provide a theological education for women who are serving in volunteer ministry positions, such as children’s ministry and leading Bible study groups, in Evangelical churches.
The associate director of the Church Society and the course’s leader, Dr Ros Clarke, said that it was designed for women who were leading groups in church and felt that they wanted more theological training to underpin their ministry.
“My research shows that men find it easier to access training for ministry than women. This course is accessible and flexible. The content of the course is not obviously different from what you would offer to men, but we will also look at some issues such as infertility and sex abuse. The church history of women is often missing, and, though that may be something men would also find interesting, this course will give it more focus.”
Current training opportunities, she said, were not offering the same kind of training for women, who wanted to continue serving in a voluntary capacity. Any women who came out of the course wanting to explore a call to ordination would be helped to find the right next step for them.
She said that in her own theological training — in which she had been taught by largely men — she felt that she had missed out on the opportunity to learn from women’s experiences and perspectives.