FAQ on Preachers Training Course - DOC by dfhrf555fcg


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									            Faith & Worship – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the academic level of Faith & Worship? I have heard that it is degree level
and I am worried whether I will be able to cope.

The best advice that the Local Preachers’ Studies Board has received is that the course
could be validated as being worth 60 credits – for comparison, a first year
undergraduate course is rated at 120 credits. This means that Faith & Worship is rated
at a lower academic level than the first year of an undergraduate degree course.

Note that Faith & Worship normally takes a person ‘on trial’ three or four years, which is
therefore considerably longer than an undergraduate course would allow for this amount
of material.

The Studies Board regards Faith & Worship as being roughly equivalent to an Access-
level course.

Not A-level?
Faith & Worship does not really bear comparison with the style of A-level (or even
GCSE). It is much more like a GNVQ course in its structure. Assignment marking is
much more open and there are no grades – only pass and fail. Also, individual ‘failing’
pieces can be modified and resubmitted with no deadlines.

In what ways does Faith & Worship fall short of degree level study, apart from the
The assignments are much shorter and are broken down into short questions. Faith &
Worship is complete in itself and no further reading is required.

If the Studies Board was to seek accreditation by a university, then there may be other
issues to be studied – for example, preaching would have to be supported by the study
of homiletics.

So what qualifications do I need to study Faith and Worship?
There are no requirements.        People with few or no qualifications as well as
postgraduates successfully study the course.

How can Faith & Worship be accessible to such a wide range of academic ability?
It could be argued that in its attempt to be open access, Faith & Worship falls between
two schools: being not challenging enough for some and too hard for others. One of the
militating factors is the pass mark of 40%. The more academically minded may seek a
mark of 70 or more, but to pass the course this is not necessary. Marks in the 40s and
50s are perfectly acceptable.

Persons ‘on trial’ are expected to engage with the material at their own level. Some
sections are hard and the person ‘on trial’ is not expected to necessarily understand
everything. Learning and training continue after accreditation!

Does Faith & Worship require a certain standard of English?
There are no literacy requirements. Spelling is not an issue. Connexional Assessors
are much more interested in content than essay style and will not try to force a particular
tone of voice. There are no marks added or taken away on either of these issues.
Many people who have English as a second or even third language successfully
complete Faith & Worship.

Note also that only half of the assignments are essays – the worship material
assignments highly prize creativity and application.

I am dyslexic and find reading and writing long sections of text difficult.
The Studies Board attempts to be sympathetic in its assessment procedures and
currently is looking at ways of supporting dyslexic, as well as blind, persons ‘on trial’.
More news on this as it becomes available!

Can I study Faith & Worship in another language?
A small number of persons ‘on trial’ are currently studying Faith & Worship in Welsh.
The Studies Board currently is looking at ways of supporting other persons ‘on trial’
whose first language is not English.

Can I study Faith & Worship at a 'fast-track’ rate, if I am able?
The course is designed to be formational, which takes time, and so the Studies Board
does not recommend a fast-track approach. Reflection time is very important. Faith &
Worship is much more than academic learning.

That makes it sound like hard work!
Faith & Worship is intended to demand something of persons ‘on trial’. That is part of
the way the Methodist Church tests the call of local preachers.

How does Faith & Worship compare with the Church of England's Reader Training
The Church of England has no one programme. Some dioceses have a programme
that is at a significantly higher level academically, for example, Truro, which is run by
Exeter University's theology department. Other dioceses have a course that is about
the same level as Faith & Worship; particularly notable is Bristol, which uses Faith &
Worship as the basis of its Reader Training. Typically, Reader training is scheduled to
last three or four years. No dioceses to the knowledge of the Studies Board have a
course with less content than Faith & Worship; the recent ‘minimum specifications’
published by the Church of England endorses this.

I don't think I can cope with exams.
There are no exams. Persons ‘on trial’ submit portfolios as they are ready to do so,
which are then marked by Connexional Assessors twice a year. Assignments will
already have been marked by a local tutor before this. The local tutor is available to
give as much advice and assistance with the writing of assignments as a person ‘on trial’
may need.

Why do the assignments keep changing?
Faith & Worship – content and assessment – is continually under review. The Studies
Board tries not to make too many changes too often, but is concerned that where the
material is weak or starts to get out of date it should be updated. New assignments also
help to reduce the temptation to produce ‘model answers’. The Studies Board would
rather see fresh, imperfect work then old, ‘polished’ work.

Why the emphasis on exegesis in assignments and portfolios?
The Studies Board regards this as an important skill in sermon preparation (not
construction) so that preaching comes from the Word.

But with all the commentaries available, surely there is not much left for the
preacher to do?
Whereas matters of fact like context and background do not change (although there are
often several conflicting views), the relevance of a passage to today's congregation is
never static. As our culture changes, new features resonate.

Can't I just submit what my commentary says?
Absolutely not. While all preachers inevitably draw on earlier traditions and insights, the
way they are connected is open to new perceptions. The preacher must attempt to take
a fresh look, developing some ideas and downplaying others.

                                                                                 May 2006

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