Pastoral theology seeks to integrate the theoretical and the practical, theology and experience, faith and action. The aims of the Programme are: -To foster critical examination of Christian life and ministry, both individual and corporate, recognizing differences between Christian traditions -To promote reflection on the relationships between faith, humanity, experience, practice, professional and working life, church, culture, social context and theology -To enable students to develop a capacity for systematic theological reflection on lived experience, pastoral ministry and the specific situations of their life and work.
It is designed particularly, though not exclusively, for those in, or preparing for, ministry in the Christian churches, whether ordained or not. It is also relevant for teachers, counsellors, therapists, health care professionals, in the legal profession, etc.
MA Pastoral Theology
Structure of the Programme
There are two pathways in the programme, and students chose which one to follow:
Pathway 1: Pastoral Theology, Church & Society
Pathway 2: Pastoral Theology for Ministry
Students with a general interest in pastoral theology will usually opt for Pathway 1, while those with a more focussed interest in ministry will find Pathway 2 suitable.
Fourth Module can be any module from the lists above not already taken or, by agreement, a module from another MA programme.
* normally available in alternate years
All modules are at M (Masters) level; credit tariff 30. Dissertation credit tariff is 60.
Assessment for modules is by (usually two) coursework tasks written during the term and an end of year essay (4,000 words). And a dissertation of 12,000-15,000 words.
Brief Description of the Modules
General Core Module - Foundations of Pastoral Theology
Provides the basis for the study of pastoral theology. Relying on students’ own personal, professional and religious experience, the module will equip them to reflect on the theory and practice of Christian pastoral action constructively and critically.
Core Module (Pathway - Pastoral Theology, Church & Society) – Ecclesiology in Context
Develops issues of Church life introduced in the Foundations module, and explores the theology of the Church as the context for a deeper understanding of pastoral issues in Church and society today.
Core Module (Pathway - Pastoral Theology for Ministry) – Theology of Ministry
This module takes up and develops issues of ministry introduced in the Foundations module. It deals with the theology of ministry, the forms of ministry in the different Christian churches, and practical/ethical issues of ministry today.
Political and Liberation Theology
Political theology reflects on the relationship between Christian faith and social justice. Liberation theology is one mode of political theology. The module explores the historical roots of these theologies, and analyses them in their 20th century expressions.
Fundamental Moral Theology
Studies basic issues in moral theology: the role of Scripture; natural law, conscience. Theory is applied to contemporary moral problems: authority, divorce & remarriage, homosexuality, truth-telling and lying, war, the punishment of criminals.
Spiritual Direction in Pastoral Contexts
Examines a range of models of spiritual direction/accompaniment and key issues that arise in different pastoral settings. It is not a training module for spiritual directors but a study of the contemporary scene.
Clinical Pastoral Education with Theological Reflection
An intensive full time module taken over six weeks. It will develop the personal and pastoral identity of the individual through a process of self-discovery leading to growth in professional competency for ministry.
This module explores the call to mission inherent in Christian life. It will examine both the theology of evangelisation and the practice of ecclesial groups engaged in different ways of ‘proclaiming Good News’.
Sociology of Religion (alternate years)
What kind if religion is re-emerging today and how it is related to Christianity and Christian theology? This module is situated within an overall theological concern with a bias towards emerging ‘plausibility structures’ which facilitate belief.
The Witness of Christian Marriage (alternate years)
Marriage poses a crucial challenge to Christian living today. Social forces are driving change, destabilizing received Christian values and giving new urgency to the witness of Christian married life. The module explores the fundamental theology of marriage.
Spirituality, Religion and Mental Health
This module (at the John Robinson Fellowship at the Maudsely Hospital) is an introduction to mental health issues and models of treatment and care, and its spiritual, religious and transpersonal dimensions.
Related External Courses:
Clinical Pastoral Education
A Professional Education for Ministry, accredited by CPE The Netherlands
Part of this course is offered to Heythrop students as a module within the MA Pastoral Theology.