The Course in Christian Studies is a two year course exploring the Christian Faith with others, delivered weekly in local centres around the diocese.
CCS has a foundational first year and a more flexible second year and leads to the Bishop’s Certificate.
Since it began in 1987, over 2500 lay people from Essex and East London have joined the Course in Christian Studies. What has it given them? What could it give you?
The excitement of discovery and learning together: members bring their own varied stories and experiences and share them, finding new truth in themselves and in each other through lively discussion. Knowledge of the Bible and of the huge riches of Christian tradition, nurtured by tutors and textbooks, and whetting members' appetite for more knowledge - but not providing all the answers.
Delight in that biblical and Christian tradition, finding in it a field for imaginative and practical exploration, for wonder and worship and decision. Constructive Reflection on the Bible and tradition and on the contemporary world: the Course does not shirk the hard questions posed by the Church's history or by believing in God and seeking peace and justice today. Spiritual Formation of both the local group and its individual members: the Course does not set out to convert or evangelise, but it is concerned with the whole life of prayer and activity and relationships - not just with the mind.
For those who desire it, the Course also provides a foundation for further education or training. This could be other local courses; it could be a degree or diploma. Or it could be training for a specific ministry in the Church including the ministry of: Reader, Pastoral Assistant, Lay Evangelist or Priest.
CCS groups and CCS online
There are now three ways you can take the CCS: in local face to face groups, via the Zoom platform with weekly online meetings or fully online in an interactive, password protected group forum.
Each September there will be centres in each of the three Episcopal Areas.
To register your interest in this event and receive an email with an easy "click on link" invitation to the meeting, email Diane Hardy or call her on 01245 294449. Depending on government guidelines, we hope to move back to face to face meetings in 2021, however, this cannot be guaranteed.
For an application form please contact Diane Hardy
Groups usually meet weekly, or in the online version, they communicate via a forum which is available for members to access when it is convenient for them. All necessary reading and preparatory material is provided and group members commit to spending a few hours each week in preparation for the group session. They are led by ordained and lay tutors and include people from all kinds of churches. The group learns from the tutors, the Bible and the reading material provided, and from each other. Certificates are presented at the end of two years in a Cathedral service.
Assignments are optional! The assignments which are set, always give the option of a short piece of writing or a recording of your talk. Other options include producing a portfolio, or designing a leaflet. You can choose not to do any assignments at all and receive an ‘attendance’ certificate – but they are there to assist your learning.
The cost of the local course is £150 each year, or £50 a term.