Christian Rural & Environmental Studies
Christian Rural Concern and The John Ray Initiative offer an opportunity for integrated study.
Part time modular course by distance learning
A local personal tutor to guide you through
Flexibility to tailor coursework topics to your own particular concerns
Full website support with dedicated password protected area
Opportunities to meet with other participants
Core modules integrating Christian rural and environmental studies, with additional modules giving the opportunity to specialise in either rural or environmental concerns.
Usually taken over two years
This two year Certificate course in Christian Rural & Environmental Studies
provides an opportunity to study rural and environmental issues from a Christian viewpoint. It will be of interest to all with a personal or professional concern for the environment and countryside, rural communities and churches. There are no entry requirements.
Under the guidance of personal tutors, students work through 6 of the 8 study modules below. Modules 1-4 are obligatory. Students also select two out of Modules 5-8. Each module represents about 40 hours of activity and study. Students are examined on Study Papers, one 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 atmos- pheric 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.
Cost is £590 in total, which includes two residential weekends, payable in two annual instalments. We encourage students to seek support from their church or denomination or government provision. CRuC has a small bursary fund. Download a CRES Application Form
How the course can help you
The uniqueness of the course lies in its innovative approach combining the academic expertise of JRI with the practical experience of CruC.
Teachers in school, college or church - it provides background knowledge and materials on rural and environmental concerns.
Environmental practitioners - it enables the work situation to be related to Christian faith and commitment.
Any concerned person - it connects Christian thinking to the rural context and offers stimulation, resources, and the potential for renewed vision.
Dr. Martin J. Hodson is Principal Lecturer in Environmental Biology, Oxford Brookes University, and has been involved in the Christian environmental movement since 1990. (Principal Tutor)
Rev. Philip Wagstaff is a Methodist minister who has worked in three rural circuits in Norfolk, North East Essex and Devon over the past 19 years. (Senior Tutor of the Certificate)
Rev. Dr. John Reader is currently a parish priest in four rural parishes in the Diocese of Worcester. (Senior Tutor of the Diploma)
Christian Rural Concern (CRuC) has promoted rural courses since 1986. Membership is open to all who have a concern for the rural church, rural communities, and the environment - subscription £5.00. Countrywide Care published twice a year is sent free to all students, tutors and members.
The John Ray Initiative (JRI) founded in 1998, works to develop a Christian understanding of the environment, and to promote environmental stewardship, through research, education, conferences and publications.
CRES is now validated by Ripon College, Cuddesdon.