Montreal Diocesan Theological College is redesigning one of its long-standing and most effective distance-education programs.

For over 40 years, the college’s Reading and Tutorial program has made theological education available to people who are unable to access a residential program. Students are sent preparatory material and a list of books to study. They then meet with a tutor who is an experienced priest nearby to reflect on the material, ask questions, and deepen their understanding. Over the course of twelve units, they are introduced to church history, Bible, theology, ethics, and other foundational theological subjects.

Now, thanks to a grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada, the college is updating the material. “The Reading and Tutorial program has served students across the country,” said Dio principal Jesse Zink. “But the ministry needs of the church are changing and we want to make sure our program reflects that.” The redesigned program will place greater emphasis on the importance of how context shapes ministry, take account of the increasingly secularist and pluralist world in which students minister, and be mindful of the Competencies for Ordination to the Priesthood agreed in recent years by the Anglican Church of Canada.

“Theological education is vital for the future of the church,” said Dr. Zink. “In learning more about our history, our Scriptures, and our tradition, we are led deeper into the love of God and come to see more clearly how we are to proclaim that love in our world. Our redesigned Reading and Tutorial program—along with our residential Master of Divinity and our online courses—is one way that the college wants to help all Christians follow Christ more deeply and make his good news known.”

The first half of the new Reading and Tutorial program will be launched in September 2018 with the rest of the program following in early 2019. Students who complete the program are granted a Certificate in Theology from the college. The program can also serve as the basis for the college’s Licentiate in Theology.

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