Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey is supporting a unique postgraduate course at the University of Gloucestershire for Christian sports workers.
The Sport and Christian Outreach programme, which is the first to be developed in the UK, will help those working within churches and Christian organisations to use sport as a way of connecting with local communities. Lord Carey, also Chancellor of the university described the launch of the course as “an exciting and innovative move”.
Building on applied theology, sport and community development principles, the course will offer students the opportunity to analyse and contribute to the expanding field of expertise as well participate in practical workshops and work placements.
A new professor will be appointed to lead the course and develop research in the area, funded by the Gloucester-based Allchurches Trust. An expert advisory group in youth, church and community work will also be established, chaired by Lord Carey.
The Church has a history of involvement in sport, founding one in three Premier League football clubs in Victorian times, including Spurs and Everton. Now there is a need for the Church to develop its sporting links again, say organisations like Christians in Sport and Youth for Christ.
Graham Daniels, a Director for Christians in Sport said: “There has been a need for a course like this for years. We are delighted to support and promote the university’s initiative. It is a major step forward in helping develop recognised professional skills.”
Redcliffe Theological College, based in Gloucester will provide additional theological input alongside the experts in sports development from the university.
The course will offer three levels of qualification; a postgraduate certificate for those working as volunteers and a diploma and Masters (MA) degree for professional outreach and youth workers.
Bursaries from the Joseph Rank Trust will enable some graduates of the course to secure full-time employment in new sports ministry settings.
As experience in the field develops, the University’s faculty of sport, health and social care will look to develop similar courses in other faith communities.
More information about the course can be found at www.glos.ac.uk