Last month’s Hallam News explored the options for ongoing adult formation in the diocese. One programme which has been running for many years, but which has been reviewed, updated and relaunched this year, is the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies or CCRS.

  If you are a teacher in a Catholic School, involved in lay ministry (particularly catechesis or lay leadership) or feel that your personal faith would benefit from structured study of the scripture and theology, now is the time to find out more and apply.  The 2015-2016 course starts in September and registration is now open.  No previous experience in theology is needed.

  On completing the course, one student told us, “I learnt more than I could have imagined.  The course has enabled me to ask the questions I have always wanted to ask – this opportunity rarely presents itself in everyday life.”

What is it?

  The CCRS course introduces the basics of Christian theology and faith from a Catholic perspective, and also provides a basis for further study.  It is validated by the Board of Religious Studies of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which awards the certificate to those who successfully complete the course.

  Six core modules cover the Old and New Testaments, Jesus Christ, The Church, Sacraments and Morality.  Two specialist modules are chosen including an option for professional development modules in Catholic religious education.  In previous years we have run modules on liturgy, ecumenism, spirituality and Catholic Social Teaching.  This year a new module on Celtic Christianity was added, looking at the early evangelisation of these islands and what we might learn for today’s Church and our own faith.

  The course runs over 2 years with 8 sessions on Saturday mornings across each year.  These include a mix of teaching, discussion, exercises and reflection.  Modules can be deferred and spread over up to 5 years.  It’s serious study, but fun and rewarding.  “I’ve really enjoyed the course so far,” said Peter, who has just completed the programme.  “It really helps affirm your faith when you understand what you believe and why.”

Who is it for?

CCRS students 2 (Copy)

CCRS students involved in a group exercise

  The CCRS programme is open to everyone.  For teachers and those involved in religious education in schools, it gives a nationally recognised qualification and is recommended for anyone teaching in a Catholic school.  Catechists, readers and those involved in various parish ministries have the opportunity not only to discover more about the theology behind church teaching, but to reflect on how it relates with their ministry, on their own and with other participants.

  Of course, many adults simply take the course to deepen their own faith understanding.  Some, like Margaret, have found it addresses long-held needs: “I’m thoroughly enjoying doing the course … it is making me think about my faith and is providing some long overdue answers to questions and uncertainties that I have had for too many years.  It’s also challenging me to think about being more active as a Church member rather than waiting for others to take the lead.”

  For others it is a way to explore the riches of the Catholic tradition. Lindsay was received into the Catholic Church three years ago and says that the course is challenging but very stimulating: “I am finding it is enriching my faith as well as giving me insight into the history and tradition of Catholicism.  The teaching we receive each month is excellent.  Hard work – but very rewarding.”

Costs and Enrolment

  From September 2016, each Module costs £50 (£25 concessions) which includes all tuition, worksheets and assignments.  There is also a £20 national CCRS registration fee.  Sessions take place at the Hallam Pastoral Centre in Sheffield, which is easily accessible and has ample parking, good teaching rooms and a well-stocked library for students.

  You can enrol for the CCRS and find our more on the diocesan website: http://hallam-diocese.com/departments/adult-formation.  Or by email: adulteducation@hallam-diocese.com.  Or you can contact us here: Adult Education Office, Hallam Pastoral Centre, St Charles Street, Sheffield, S9 3WU, Tel 0114 2566410.

“I would recommend it to all, whether it be for professional development

within education or for spiritual and personal development.”

Catherine (teacher)