Under the guidance of personal tutors, students work through 6 of the 8 study modules below. Modules 1-3 are compulsory. Students also select three out of Modules 5-8. Each module represents about 40 hours of activity and study. The compulsory modules approach rural and environmental studies from a Christian viewpoint, whilst the optional modules giving the opportunity to specialise in either rural or environmental concerns.
Students are examined on Study Papers and a Work Diary, one each per Module, and a written Project presented at a Residential Consultation, the topic being chosen in consultation with the tutor and co-directors.
Module 1: The Living World
Starting with first-hand experiences of nature, this module looks at how the living world testifies to the glory of the Creator. It considers the Biblical relationships between God and the whole creation, a Christian understanding of humanity's role, and Jesus' 'earthing' of heaven in the life of the Church.
Module 2: Food and Farming
This module concerns the production, distribution and consumption of food. Students are required to compare different modes and contexts, including the contemporary global market, and to evaluate them in the light of a Christian ethic and practice.
Module 3: Christians as Salt and Light
This module explores Christians' callings across various traditions, influencing social, school, work and political contexts, where faith is related to ecological and environmental issues.
Module 4: Economics
This module considers rural communities from a Biblical viewpoint, from the 'grass roots', contrasting with the modern, secular money economy. IT goes on to examine work and income, and local lifestyles which are socially, economically and environmentally viable.
Module 5: The Physical Environment
This module describes the physical systems underpinning life on earth. Threats of atmospheric pollution and climate change lead to an assessment of adaptation and mitigation. Marine and freshwater systems and soil are considered in the contexts of pollution and erosion.
Module 6: The Biological Environment
This module describes the dynamics of ecological systems. An historic view that the natural world is infinitely bountiful is modified by the knowledge that some ecosystems may be approaching their limits. It outlines human and non-human factors that change or damage biological environments.
Module 7: Rural Communities
Rural communities have become more diverse. This module invites local research, and urges students to explore the values underlying their activities, the historical background and to consider some current initiatives.
Module 8: The Church in the Countryside
This module looks at Christian work and worship in the countryside, including Celtic spirituality, monastic communities, and church structures. It studies the function of holy places, rites of passage and the role of ministers - both ordained and lay volunteers, facing difficult challenges of finances and deployment.
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