Ruth and myself are currently undertaking the 'Foundations in Christian Ministry' course by the Diocese of Exeter. This is a foundation course which can lead on to Lay Ministry or Ordination training. As part of our course we had to write reflections on our experience on the course. Here are our reflections
I learned of the FICM course from Karen who very enthusiastically encouraged me to apply in 2019. I had been thinking and praying for an opportunity to explore my faith and future Christian service having retired in 2018, so this course appeared as an answer to prayer. I have attended church all my life but had been asking myself how was faith influencing me now.
I attended an Alpha course in 2015 at a Pentecostal church. By doing this Alpha course I gained a greater understanding of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it further opened my eyes to the fullness of redemption only Christ can give us through faith in Him.
On the FICM course there are a diverse group of people ranging from Theologians and scientists to people like myself (retired midwife). We all have a common purpose to grow in faith and explore our Christian ministry further. Some are looking to become readers others for Ordination, I am seeking to grow in the love, knowledge and service of God
My bible knowledge continues to be a work in progress as I now see this as an essential part of growing closer to God.
To date I have attended 2 study days. I have found the teaching to be of a high standard whilst challenging and thought provoking holding my interest throughout. I leave wanting more, looking forward to the next study day.
During the day we have time within our tutor group for group discussion and one to one time with the tutor if required. Whilst it’s still early in the course I am certain it’s the right course for me and I’m looking forward to what is to come.
Proverbs Ch1 v5 “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtains guidance”.
Please pray for me to grow in the love and knowledge of God
As you may be aware, Ruth and I commenced the year long Foundation in Christian Ministry course in September through the Diocese of Exeter. This is my reflection on the course so far.
For me it was my first experience of Christians on a large scale. On the first day we arrived at the Chapel to find noise. Lots of noise - Christian noise - and whilst it was somewhat loud it was a happy, friendly, excited noise. A noise of people who belonged - joyful at being amongst each other. And that was wonderful!
However it wasn’t long before the feeling of self doubt reared its head - I was with Christians who had been Christians all their lives - or at least for many years, and many it seemed held positions in Churches. And me? Well at the time I had been a Christian for less than a year...
But it has in fact been ok. I am learning so much. My previous learning has been quite undirected and I have been reading what I want to read - rather than what I need to read. We are given suggestions of books to read and this has helped so much. We were given a book list prior to the course and I managed to read 8 of them. This opened my mind to different aspects and perspectives of Christianity. And on each study day we are given suggestions of books to read which relate to that day’s study topics. I am sure even after the course has finished I will still be reading the books as there are so many. But there is no pressure… it is suggested reading, not compulsory.
During the study days there are different sessions for Bible Study, Theology, Pastoral Care, Ministry Skills, Spirituality and Vocations - so the content is very wide reaching. However despite my initial fears, it is imparted in a very accessible way so that all can understand - and with the further reading suggestions you can expand your knowledge of each topic as far as you would like to.
I would certainly recommend this course to anyone who wants to expand their knowledge. Everyone on the course seems lovely and the organisers and lecturers do everything they can to put everyone at their ease. The course is for everyone of any age - not just those who want to progress to lay or ordained ministry - and there is a mix of ages - young and not so young. I was a bit worried about my age but needn’t have been. And I can’t emphasise enough how enjoyable the study days are!
I would like to thank you all for allowing me to undertake this course. Without your acceptance into the Church and support as a new Christian I would never have progressed on my Christian journey and been in a position to apply. And I would like to thank Father Simon for his encouragement and help in applying - and importantly his faith in me that despite my short time as a Christian, this was something I could do.