We offer two streams of courses - validated 10 week courses (each carries 20 credits), and short 6 week courses. Taught exclusively online, you can work through course material at your own pace and at times convenient for you. Discussion boards and scheduled live discussion times provide important opportunities for conversation with other students and course tutors. We use a participatory educational model that recognises course tutors and students as co-learners. For the dates of upcoming courses please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or see below.
Course Dates - Coming Soon
|11 September - 30 October||Guardians of Faith: Women and the History of the Christian Church (Short Course)|
|25 September - 15 December||Gender and Feminisms - Theological Perspectives (Module)|
|9 October - 27 November||Gender in Church Community Development Practice - An International Case Study Approach (Short Course)|
|11 January - 21 February||Gender in Church Community Development Practice - An International Case Study Approach (Short Course)|
|17 January - 28 February||Understanding Gender (Short Course)|
|5 February - 23 March||
Women, Ministry and Leadership (Short Course)
|5 March - 23 April||
Promoting Wellbeing and Health - Church-Based Practices (Short Course)
|7 May - 18 June||
Changing Church: Understanding Change Processes in Church Contexts (Short Course)
We offer a range of 10-week undergraduate modules. Successful completion of a module results in an award of 20 credits from the University of Roehampton, and each module costs £343. We welcome applications to the Sacred Heart Bursary fund.
Gender and Feminisms - Biblical Perspectives
Course Creator: Diandra Chretain
This module introduces students to questions, ideas, and debates within the study of gender and feminisms in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Feminist biblical interpretation provides alternative perspectives that counter male-centred readings of the texts that result in the oppression and marginalization of women. Key topics of interest in this course include: utilizing various feminist methodologies in order to critically evaluate patriarchy within biblical texts, performing literary analyses of biblical women through perspectives of power/powerlessness and femininity/masculinity, and examining biblical women through various perspectives across the globe that emphasize the intersections between racial, ethnic, and gender identity. In addition, this course will address how biblical texts can be used as a source of liberation for women, men, and communities of faith that are dealing with issues of gender violence and gender disparities.
Gender and Feminisms - Theological Perspectives
Course Creator and Tutor: Dr Emily Pennington
This module will introduce students to key experiences, themes and voices in feminist and gender-based theologies. Feminist theologies represent a response to the oppression and marginalization of women, and have emerged and continue to develop within particular geographic, cultural, religious and social contexts. During this course, participants will explore a range of theological texts and practices from across the globe and will be invited to critically assess their relevance to lived realities of poverty, violence, sexuality, family life, relationships, politics and work. They will also analyze the relationship of theologies to contemporary feminist and gender theories.
Theology and Ethics of Migration
Course Creator: Dr Susanna Snyder
International migration is having a significant impact on the life and practices of nations, faith communities and individuals in every corner of the globe. This module encourages students to engage with the dynamics of international migration and to consider varied theological and ethical approaches to movements of refugees and other migrants.
We will explore migrant stories, key types and causes of migration, political and policy approaches, and challenges for sending and receiving countries. We will critically analyse biblical narratives and theo-ethical themes relating to migration, including cosmopolitanism, nationalism, compassion, hospitality, and otherness. There will also be opportunities to learn from local projects working with migrants and for students to develop their own theologies and practical ideas for responding. Sessions will encourage students to make connections with their own experiences of migration and/or meeting migrants.
We offer a Certificate of Attendance to students who successfully complete a 6-week short course. This involves contributing fully to course discussion and completing the course assignment.
Violence against Women: War, the Domestic Sphere, and Religion
Course Creator: Dr Stephanie Arel
In global society, religion and violence have become increasingly intertwined. Frequently, such violence takes place on the bodies of women. In this short course, we critically examine how religion intersects with issues of sex and violence, probing why some issues of gendered violence - such as violence as a part of armed conflict - attract global attention, while others - such as intimate partner violence - go relatively unnoticed. Through readings, discussions, and projects, we consider women's experiences with different forms of violence. We also explore show structural factors such as cultural norms and religious beliefs sanctify various forms of gendered violence. The approach provides a theoretical framework within which to analyse the current and changing knowledge related to religion, women and violence.
Spirituality and Social Action
In this course, we explore the links between spirituality and social justice. While often seen as distinct aspects of Christian life, action for social justice and spirituality - prayer, contemplation, the life of the soul - are intimately intertwined. Engaging with the work of writers such as Thomas Merton, Dorothee Soelle, Catherine of Siena and Howard Thurman, we seek to understand how Christians have integrated “horizontal” love of neighbor and “vertical” love of God in the past. This is also a practical course; each week, there are opportunities to explore different contemplative and other spiritual practices that can resource us in the struggle for social justice, community and the flourishing of the earth.
Course Creator: Professor Tina Beattie
The language of gender is the focus of heated debate in theology, ethics and human rights theory and practice. Conservative religious and political leaders condemn gender theory and feminism for destroying marriage and the family, while Catholic teaching repeatedly cautions against what it calls “gender ideology”. Gender theorists such as Judith Butler have shaped much theological and philosophical discourse, leading to the emergence of “queer theory” and the dissolution of the male/female binary in favour of a more fluid and multi-facetted understanding of the ways in which gender, sex, body and desire interact in the formation of the self. These issues have vast social and ethical implications. This short course introduces students to a range of theories and theological debates around questions of gender, enabling them to explore complex and contested issues of self, embodiment and God.
Guardians of Faith: Women and the History of the Christian Church
Course Creator: Rev’d Dr Georgina Byrne
The history of the Church and the development of Christianity has largely been told by men, about men. Yet, over the course of two thousand years, women have been followers of Jesus Christ and members of the world-wide Church. This module seeks to help students uncover the rich story of women’s participation in the spread of Christianity. Women were, from the beginning, teachers of the faith, hosts of Eucharistic celebrations, at the forefront of social action and preachers of the Gospel. This short course encourages students to look behind the traditionally-presented mostly male history and discover the women who have, all along, shaped the Christian faith as we have it.
Women, Faith and Community Development
Course Creator: Dr Irene Ayallo
Recent events and research shows that while the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women's empowerment, women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world. Addressing issues affecting women in communities is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Designed for practitioners working with faith-based communities at all level, this 6-weeks course helps participants to develop a greater understanding of types of communities where women exist, be equipped with tools to critically identify and analyse issues affecting women, and develop the ability to apply appropriate community development theories and approaches for social change and transformation. We explore understandings of community, development theories, and approaches to social change, with an emphasis on their relevance to issues affecting women in communities.
Gender in Church Community Development Practice - An International Case Study Approach
Course Creator: Rev’d Dr Marjorie Lewis
Meera Sharma and Kiran Bala, women organisers from the
Mahila Panchayat Women’s Empowerment Centre, on
motorbike, Seemapuri, Delhi, North India.
© USPG/Leah Gordon
Gender, poverty and injustice continue to affect people across the world, and the church in its local, regional and international bodies recognizes that there is a Christian duty to respond. In this course, we explore church-based approaches to community development. We review the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and evaluate their relevance for local communities. Drawing insights from current human development theories and case studies from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe, we analyse the intersecting systems of poverty and inequality; consider how to collect relevant information and to evaluate it in relation to our own specific local context; assess existing practice; and design new models of sustainable development for local communities. Participants are invited to share their knowledge and experience.
Promoting Wellbeing and Health - Church-Based Practices
Course Creator: Rev’d Dr Marjorie Lewis
Maria Thomas HIV+, client of the Home Based Care Project
with comrades of the 'Living Positively' group, who talk
about HIV in local schools wearing their t-shirts, Namibia.
© USPG/Leah Gordon
One of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals is to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.’ This course adopts a case study approach to reflect on the church’s role in promoting the ideal of good health and well-being for all. Students explore church-based strategies to confront communicable and non-communicable diseases and analyse the effects of intersecting systems of gender, poverty and life-style choices. We discuss the importance of access to early screening, good nutrition, immunization and education in developing relevant church-based health care models and also evaluate the impact of cultural influences on patients’ attitudes regarding stigma and discrimination. There are also opportunities for students to reflect on choices patients make with respect to health care providers and remedies, and to start formulating ways to assess and integrate Christian understandings of healing, cure, health and well-being into sustainable community approaches.
Women, Leadership, and Ministry
This course examines the role of women in Christian leadership with a particular focus on recent developments in women's formal and informal church leadership roles. Drawing from a variety of Wesleyan and other Christian sources, students will engage with texts, contexts and practices from their own denominational heritage and examine them comparatively with those of other traditions. The course provides an opportunity to study leadership theories and feminist theologies to help identify the concepts of power and influence that operate in particular cultural and ecclesial contexts. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to reflect on their own experience and practice of ministry, interrogating their assumptions and perspectives, and to integrate learning into their future approaches to leadership. At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to clearly articulate the challenges faced by women in leadership in their own denomination and cultural context and identify specific interventions that could improve women's access to leadership roles in their community.
Course Creator: Dr Susanna Snyder
With an estimated 244 million international migrants in the world today, including nearly 20 million refugees, migration is having a significant impact on the life and practices of nations and faith communities across the globe. In this introductory course, we will explore migrant stories (particularly those of women), key types and causes of migration and policy approaches, and analyse pertinent biblical narratives and theological themes. There are also opportunities to discuss ways in which migration is transforming churches, as well as ideas for practical responses and ministry. Sessions will encourage students to make connections with their own contexts and experiences of migration.
Changing Church: Understanding Change Processes in Church Contexts
© Janice Price
Handling and effecting change has become an issue of increasing significance for most organisations, including the Church(es), whose overriding purpose is transformation. This course looks at various models and approaches to change, uncovering their key ideas and underlying assumptions, and their practical implications, while acknowledging that the churches are a particular type of organization, with theological and ecclesiological imperatives and influences which complicate any attempt to apply models from other contexts. Students will consider what change might mean in the context of the Church, the forces and triggers for change, both internal and external, the reasons for resistance to it and possible means of overcoming these, and the different models and approaches which might have relevance and utility. They will consider factors such as organisational culture, organisational structure, patterns of power and politics, and leadership behaviours and their implications for the change process. Students will have opportunities to consider the impetus and requirement for change within their own contexts and the inhibiting and facilitating factors, and will reflect theologically on their experience of being involved in change within different contexts. They will consider what styles and skills of leadership will be helpful, assessing their own capabilities and capacities. A range of case studies will help to illustrate the application of different models and approaches.
Short course Fee: £150. If you book more than one course at the same time, we will offer 30% discount on the second and subsequent courses. Bursaries are also available through the Sacred Heart Bursary Fund. Please email email@example.com for more information. You can download a bursary application form here.