Bishop's Certificate Courses 2021 – 2022
We are planning for the Bishop's Certificate course to begin again in the 2021 Autumn term, when, following government advice, it will take place either online or in a particular physical location or a combination of both. We are hoping that it will run in each of our six deaneries (areas). Local groups will be making their own decisions about the time of day, and the combination of online or onsite, and we will co-ordinate that and make sure you are put in touch with the right group if you don't hear about it locally. If you want to know more, then please read on. If you decide you want to join a group submit your application form to the training team.
As dates and locations are confirmed we will post them here. So far we know the times for
Wednesday evenings, 7.30pm - 9.00pm, at The Community Link, High Street, Cradley Heath, starting on November 3rd.
Tuesday evenings, 7.00pm - 8.30pm, at the Church of the Ascension, WR14 1XA, starting on September 28th
Pershore and Evesham Deanery
Bishop's Certificate 2021 in this Deanery has been cancelled. Please register your interest with the training team for 2022/2023
Redditch and Bromsgrove Deanery
Monday evenings 7.30pm - 9.00pm, at St John te Baptist, Feckenham, B96 6HR, starting October 11th
Monday mornings, 10.30am - 12.00 noon, at St Martin's London Road, starting in November
Wednesday evenings 7.30pm - 9.00pm, at St Stephen's Barbourne, starting October 20th
(this Wednesday group will be a mix of in person and online in a mix of dates agreed by those who join it)
For both Worcester groups, please book through Worcester South East Team Parish Office
Email: email@example.com or Tel: (01905) 358 083
Further details and locations will be added over the summer, as each group agrees its dates..
- Download a poster for your parish.
- Download a flyer outlining the course content for screen viewing.
- Download the same flyer set out for printing
What is the Bishop's Certificate?
This is a diocesan study course which is offered in different places each year and run by volunteer tutors.It’s designed to help you learn more about the bible and the great themes of Christian faith and life, and to relate these to your own experience and locality. It will encourage you to explore and reflect as you learn with, and from, the other people on your course. It’s a great way to get to know people from neighbouring churches and different Christian traditions.
What qualifications do I need?
No academic ones, just enthusiasm, interest, an open mind and the willingness to commit yourself to attending the whole course, as well as to learning in a group.
What about essays?
There are no formal assessments at all. You may be encouraged to keep a private journal or diary as you go through the course and towards the end of the course you might work on a project, either by yourself or with other people. But this needn’t necessarily be a written project, it could be something practical.
How long does the course last?
There are 30 sessions, and each one lasts about 1½ to 2 hours. Most courses run on a weekly basis over three terms, with the usual breaks for holidays, but each group can plan its own timetable.
What will I learn?
The course includes a mix of input from the course materials and from the tutor (everyone has their own copy of the full notes for every session), as well as discussion, personal reflection and looking at passages from the bible together. This is a course that invites everyone to get involved in sharing their ideas and experiences, but only as much as they wish to. Listening to, and learning from, each other is a significant ingredient of the whole experience.
The main subjects covered are:
- Christian faith and creeds
- an introduction to the Old Testament and its central themes
- the person, life and teaching of Jesus
- baptism, prayer and the Eucharist
- a special study of the letter to the Ephesians
- Pentecost and the Holy Spirit
- the Holy Trinity
- living as Christians with people of other faiths
As you explore these topics you will be learning about yourself and other people, as well as exploring your own faith.
How much reading will I have to do?
There is suggested preparation material for each session which includes some reading, usually from the bible, and making notes to help introduce you to the topic. Sometimes some ‘homework’ might be recommended and if you want to find out more about a topic, there will be ideas for further reading.
How big is a group?
The best size is between about six and twelve people. If groups are too big, they can inhibit shyer people, and if they’re too small, it may lessen your chances of interesting discussion.
How much does it cost?
It’s £30 per person, to cover materials and administration.
When and where will the course happen?
The course materials are provided by the diocese so everyone covers the same material, but it’s delivered in different places around the diocese by local tutors, and often in parish or deanery groups. The tutors will plan the location and timing of the sessions.
What happens at the end of the course?
You’ll receive your certificate from the Bishop at a special diocesan presentation evening with a reception for all the course ‘graduates’ that year, along with their families and friends.
Does it offer me anything else?
Many people find themselves enthused and energized to continue learning, whether formally or informally. The course can be a great stepping stone – it might be a helpful way to put a toe into the waters of regular learning, perhaps after a long break, or some people decide to explore particular roles and ministries as a result of the course. For anyone considering licensed lay ministry (Reader ministry) the Bishop’s Certificate counts as the year of necessary foundation studies. At the end of the course, if you wish, tutors could help you think about some ‘What next?’ questions.
I'd like to do the course - what do I do now?
Courses usually begin in the autumn of each year and details of dates and venues are typically planned during the early summer. Contact the Ministry and Discipleship team (details below) for a registration form or download the one below. The form will show you the courses available in the coming autumn. You can then select the day(s) and location(s) you prefer. All the information you need about applying for the course is on the form.
If courses for the coming autumn have not been finalised when you enquire, your name will go on a list to register your interest and an application form will be sent to you as soon as it is available.
If you have any queries not covered here, please don't hesitate to ask.
Contact the Ministry and Discipleship team.
Anyone who wishes to advertise the Bishop's Certificate in their churches or advertise a course taking place locally might find this material of interest. You can download an invitation template and a '2-up' A5 advertising flier which can be customised with the details of a local course and contact person, and/or direct enquirers to the Diocesan Ministry and Discipleship team for more information.
Find out more from those who have completed the course
The video below features three course participants as they reflect on their experiences of the Bishop's Certificate course, why they joined up and the journey it has taken them on.
Bishop's Certificate Application
For all prospective tutors, please find your information and use the following starter materials: