People in a CCS course People in a CCS course

Course in Christian Studies

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.

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 is currently undergoing some refresh and review processes. The new course will continue to be made up of two years of study, the first being a foundational first year in theology and the second year a foundational year in ministry, giving students the opportunity to explore a variety of vocations and ministries within the church. Completion of the course leads to the Bishop’s Certificate. The new course will commence in January 2024.

About CCS 

Since it began in 1987, over 3000 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: Licensed Lay Minister, Authorised Local Preacher, Pastoral Assistant, Lay Evangelist, or Priest. 

The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Chelmsford, speaks about the relaunch of our two year long Course in Christian Studies at the Diocese of Chelmsford.



CCS groups and CCS online 

There are now two ways you can take part in the CCS: in local face to face groups and via the Zoom platform with weekly online meetings. Please note that CCS online will not be running for new entrants in 2024.

Each January there will be centres in each of the three Episcopal Areas.

Groups usually meet weekly. All necessary reading and preparatory material is provided via the website 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 the course in a Cathedral service.

The assignments which are set, always give the option of interacting with the learning material at a greater depth and are in the form of either a short piece of writing, a recording of a talk, a portfolio, or designing a leaflet. You can choose not to complete any assignments at all and receive an ‘attendance’ certificate – but most students enjoy the opportunity of engaging further with the course through this enhanced study.

Both the Application Form and Data Collection Form, should be completed and returned to Diane Hardy by email.

The cost of the local course is £150 each year, or £50 a term.

Payment of the fees can be made by bank transfer, credit or debit card or cheque.  Our preference is for bank transfer and full details of payment options, including bank details, can be found on the application form by clicking the relevant button above.

There will be an Introductory morning on Saturday 18th November, in Chelmsford, from 10.00am to 1.30pm.  Where you will have the opportunity to meet your tutors and the other students on the course.  Whilst this is not compulsory, most students who attend find it a useful experience.   Full details will be provided once your application is received.


For more information or to report anything wrong with this page please contact Diane Hardy