Sabbatical Week 2 – An urban conversation: meeting Stephen Kneale in Oldham

Friday 6th June meant a train and tram trip up to Oldham which, headlines as the most deprived town in the England, where Stephen Kneale is pastor of Oldham Bethel.

The area (Glodwick ward) was originally white working lass but has seen first of all afro-Caribbean immigration and then in the 1970s Bangladeshis and Pakistanis meaning that there is primarily a Muslim area. It’s typical of a lot of inner city areas, terrace houses and Mosques -are church buildings are also there but how full they are on Sunday and how much the reflect the local population is open to question. Continue reading


In Context Training part 2: Subversive Fulfilment and a mission shaped syllabus

The other day I said that in context training needs to be framed by a missiology. So, I began to think about what that type of syllabus might look like. What if we used the Subversive Fulfilment framework that I’m engaging with for my sabbatical.

So here’s my “What If?” Continue reading

Reforming Theological Education – further thoughts on the conversation

There’s been this little conversation going on about the best way to provide theological training for ministry.  Questions include:

–          Must theological training always happen in seminaries and on campus or is there a place for in context, local church-based training?

–          Is theological training too academic in nature and are there ways of equipping people through more ‘vocational’ methods?

Reading blogs and twitter feeds, I get the impression that some people are willing to concede that in context training may have a place but the general gist of it is that campus-based seminary training is better.

My position is that both seminary based and in context training have their place but that the in context and vocational training should and could be as effective at thoroughly equipping people for ministry.

I want to pick up on some of the reasons why by challenging some of the assumptions and arguments that I’ve heard.

Continue reading

Urban Ministry – Where to train

If you are serious about urban gospel ministry, then the best place to get trained for this is in the field, in an urban ministry context by urban ministry practitioners. There are currently three places in England where you can engage in this type of training whilst also working towards a Theological qualification with Union School of Theology Continue reading

Training Matters … if not ‘that’ much

My friend Stephen has written a typically robust blog headlined “People are not going to Hell because of a lack of training options.” Stephen argues that there’s a lot of talk about how we train in people for urban ministry but that’s pointless if we don’t have the people to train and if we don’t have the resources to support them. Continue reading