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Foundation Course

Foundation Course

The Foundation Course is designed for those who are testing God’s call and are enthusiastic to develop their own capacity for furthering God’s mission in the contemporary world.  For everyone it provides an extended opportunity to think through the implications of what a particular vocation may look like.  

Is it a call to ordination or to a particular expression of lay ministry?  In either case, will this be to full–time or part–time ministry, and even is this may be subjectively clear, will the wider Church be ready to recognise it?  For some, therefore, the Foundation Course will be a means towards the end of selection and training for ordination; for others it will be the opportunity to acquire new learning skills for a continuing and enhanced role in lay ministry.

Structure, Qualification and Access

The course is run over a period of fourteen months in partnership with St. John’s College, Nottingham and comprises three distance–learning modules: Biblical Studies, Christian Doctrine in Focus, and Theological Perspectives – Christian Ministry. CITI sponsors candidates to study on either the Graduate Certificate in Ministry through St John’s College Nottingham and validated by the University of Durham, or, for those who do not meet the Durham Admissions criteria, to a self–accredited version of the same programme for which the award is a Foundation Programme in Theology for Ministry. By virtue of the rising levels of assessment, and with appropriate qualifications, the Foundation Course serves as a key component of admission to the professional MTh (in partnership with Trinity College, Dublin) which forms the basis of ordination training within the Church of Ireland. Where this pathway is intended, it should be noted that satisfactory completion of the course is an essential requirement of the selection process.

Each of the three modules is introduced at either a weekend or a day conference held at the Theological Institute in Dublin.  The experience of distance–learning can be lonely and hence opportunities to meet up with others form an important network of support. The dates for this year are as follows:

21–23 February 2020
Introductory Weekend ‘Fit for the Purpose’

6 June 2020
Christian Doctrine in Focus

7 November 2020
Theological Perspectives: Christian Ministry

During these day conferences the necessary materials for each module will be available for collection. Attendance is essential.  

Support During the Foundation Course

St John’s assigns tutors for each module and they are the primary point of contact for all academic matters.  In addition, there should be continuing pastoral support from Diocesan Directors of Ordinands (DDOs). CITI convenes a series of telephone conference calls and participation is expected.  

Timing and Dates

Within each module dates will be allocated for the completion of various assignments. There is some degree of flexibility in regard to earlier assignments, and any change of personal circumstances should be notified to both the academic tutor and CITI without delay.  The final completion date for each module, however, is not negotiable. It should be borne in mind that local dioceses act as sponsors for participation in the Foundation Course and any possibility of being candidated for selection ultimately rests with the diocesan bishop.

Text Book Supply and Grants

A selection of the basic text books for each module is provided. Students on the Foundation Course enjoy borrowing rights at the RCB Library and can use this privilege at any time during its regular opening hours (here) of online.  Certain dioceses may be able to provide a modest level of grant assistance for the purchase of other textbook