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Dual-Track Training

This is a flexible pathway which is not easy to describe simply, because of that flexibility. It is a more intensive form of non-residential formation for ministry that lasts for two years rather than three. The ‘two tracks’ are: 1) a standard non-residential pathway (usually the OMC, possibly WEMTC or the Portsmouth Pathway) in which the student will engage fully; 2) the residential Cuddesdon learning community. Dual-track students will therefore need to be able both to attend Cuddesdon (or Portsmouth, Gloucester or Ludlow) once a week for evening teaching and for a number of weekends and full week each year, and also to attend Cuddesdon or Oxford for about one weekday each week during term. It is thus not normally suitable for anyone in full-time work; as a rough guide (not a hard and fast rule), dual-track students should be able to offer two days a week in term-time to their learning.

The most typical pattern of dual-track weekly learning on the OMC is to attend the regular weekly OMC Tuesday evening, stay over in Cuddesdon overnight, and attend classes with residential students on Wednesday. Usually, this will lead to completion of the Common Awards Diploma in Theology, Ministry and Mission in two years. For students with previous theological study and a good first degree, the Oxford University MTh in Applied Theology as a dual-track student is possible: this will involve Tuesday evenings and weekends at Cuddesdon, plus attendance at Friday morning seminars each week, in Oxford.

In addition to the compulsory elements of learning alongside residential students, many dual-trackers - depending on their circumstances - like to join other optional parts of the residential programme; for example, the College runs Themed Study Weeks during the year on such topics as Death, Dying and Bereavement; Interfaith Encounter (involving visits to different faith communities); Rural Ministry; and Conflict Transformation. Most dual-track students will not have to be local, but will usually be able to travel from a home base to Cuddesdon regularly for some of their residential learning. 

Both the residential and non-residential students tend to generate quite profound but different experiences of belonging in a community: residential students through living together, sharing food, worship and study daily; non-residential students through the shared challenge of fitting learning around other ongoing life commitments, focussed on the weekly and weekend meetings. Dual-track learning offers the opportunity to join both of these communities with their different advantages and sacrifices. For some it can be an exciting and practicable way of developing their ministry and preparing for ordination.



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