Courses and Training


Stepwise: for all of life

Stepwise: for all of life - Introduction

stepwise-2018Welcome to Stepwise, the United Reformed Church’s intergenerational discipleship programme. From here you can read our leaflet to get an overview of what’s involved, and watch an introductory video.

Stepwise will become available on a phased basis from September 2018, providing participants with a combination of learning opportunities through: a local group, one-to-one sessions with a mentor, project-based activities, and online materials.The programme is offered on a modular basis across five streams. The first, Faith-filled Life, is recommended as the starting point for everyone who signs up, whatever their background, and will take about three months to complete, each stream contains stepping stones or modules. The streams are being designed ecumenically where possible, to include new and existing resources. The five streams are: Find out more about the five streams here

Faith-filled life      Faith-fuelled leadership    Faith-filled confidence      Faith-filled community      Faith-filled worship

Stepwise is a programme of learning and discipleship development for everyone – including you! – whether you are exploring and enriching your personal faith life, discerning where God’s call on your life may be leading, preparing for a new direction, or developing a specific role within your community or church.

Each stream will include optional assignments for participants who are taking the programme for recognition purposes by their congregation, Synod or the URC General Assembly. An internal validation system is currently being developed, with the intention that credit can be accumulated across the streams. It is for people of all ages and backgrounds. Stepwise is an integral part of Walking the Way , the United Reformed Church’s focus on whole-life discipleship and mission. 

How Does Stepwise Work?

Stepwise works by combining different kinds of activities. In order to complete any Stepwise stream you will do all of the following:

  • Be a member of a local Stepwise group; 
  • follow guided material online via the Stepwise Hub; as well as
  • have meetings with a Stepwise mentor.

Faith-filled Life, the opening Stepwise stream, will take you about three months to complete. The other streams contain more material and may take up to 12 months each.   View:  How Does Stepwise Work  for more information.

Westminster College


Welcome to Westminster, where imagination inspires faith and living

Imagine a worshipping community open to all… Imagine a place of learning where ancient Christian traditions and wisdom meet contemporary questions to inspire faithfulness today and tomorrow. Imagine a home for the training of our ministers that is as much a home for anyone in the United Reformed Church wanting refreshment, retreat and space to reflect and grow. Imagine a beautiful and historic building in the heart of Cambridge refreshed and renewed with facilities for relaxation and learning fit for new decades of service. Imagine a campus of hospitality that is home to several exciting partners within the Cambridge Theological Federation sharing the opportunities for encounters this home gives us. Imagine visitors from across the world sharing a welcome together.


Website:    Westminster College Resource Centre for Learning 

Website:    Westminster College News and Training Events  

Website:    Westminster College Windows of opportunity 

    Westminster College Facebook

NFP Workshops Bid Writing

NFP Workshops Bid Writing : The Basics

NFP-WorkshopsAffordable training courses for charities, schools, associations and social enterprises

TOPICS COVERED  - Who are the winners and losers in grant funding. How to identify the weaknesses in your project. What questions will funders will ask themselves about your bid. Common reasons for applications being rejected. The key terms in bid writing explained with examples of each. Make your application short but effective.

Start telling funders the things they really want to hear. How to build greater credibility in the eyes of funders. Demonstrating that the beneficiaries of your project are involved. The importance of getting your numbers and totals right. What to do with all your supporting documents. Make your proofreading fool proof. Each attendee will receive a full set of notes and copies of eight real successful funding bids by e-mail after the workshop.

ATTENDEES - Staff members, volunteers, board members or trustees of charities, schools, associations or not for profit organisations who are about to submit grant funding applications to grant making trusts and foundations.

TRAINER - The workshop will be run by Ian Benson. COST - £95. Refreshments provided. No VAT. No booking fees.

PAYMENT - All places must be booked using a debit or credit card through the online booking system. We do not issue invoices or accept bank or cheque payments. If you do not have a debit card from your organisation please use a personal one and claim reimbursement using the booking confirmation e-mail as proof of purchase.

BOOKING TERMS - Workshop bookings are non cancellable, non refundable and non transferable between dates. If you are unable to attend on the date booked you may send someone else in your place.    If you have a question about the workshops please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   and you will usually receive a response within 24 hours.

Website: NFP Workshops 

Course in Spiritual Direction

Course in Spiritual Direction

Autumn 2017 – Spring 2019      The Chelmsford Diocesan House of Retreat, Pleshey, Essex.

course-in-spiritual-directiSpiritual Direction is a one-to-one ministry of prayer and listening. The Course in Spiritual Direction is an ecumenical one, sponsored by the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of the diocese, which has been offered for some twenty years. It is open to lay and ordained Christians of all traditions. It takes place at the Retreat House in Pleshey, a quiet place, offering space for prayerful reflection and spiritual renewal. The Aim of the Course is to provide an opportunity for course members to grow in spirituality and personal development. Through shared experience, participants will be challenged to a deeper awareness and effectiveness as they help others discover what God is doing in their lives.

The Course Programme runs from September 2017 to March 2019. It includes three residential periods and fourteen whole days. Residential periods will take place as follows: 12-14 Sept 2017; 17-18 Jan 2018; 18-20 Sept 2018Course Days are usually on the first Thursday of each month. The Day begins at 9.30am and ends at 4.00pm.

Application forms, which must be completed and returned by 15th March 2017, are obtainable from:
Course Administrator, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 25 Fairmead Avenue, Westcliff-on-Sea,  Essex, SS0 9RY

Prospective candidates will be invited for interview. The aim of the selection process is to discern whether the course is appropriate for the candidate at this time. Selection interviews will take place at the Diocesan House of Retreat at Pleshey on 2nd & 3rd May 2017.

Download: Course in Spiritual Direction Programme and Booking Details

CWM Training Mission

CWM Training in Mission 

cwmAre you looking for a challenge? Would you like to engage in Mission around the globe? Are you ready to learn, grow and develop through a programme of work and education with young people from other parts of the world?

The Council for World Mission (CWM) has been investing in equipping the young people for the ministry and mission of its member churches since 1981, especially through its flagship ‘Training in Mission’ (TIM) Programme. 

Every year, 10-12 participants, aged 18-30, from member churches including the United Reformed Church, are brought together for about seven months of intensive mission training. Employing an action-reflection model of learning, over 350 young people have so far been changed for life by this magnificent programme, developing a new practical and radical understanding of what witnessing to Christ means. CWM is known for its commitment to mutual encounter, in which peoples and cultures form across the planet meet together to learn from one another. TIM participants are able to see, first-hand how this works on the ground and, in turn, to incorporate their findings into their own practice. In every member church, TIM participants are to be seen as living expressions of CWM's understanding of partnership in mission, making this programme crucial, not only for participants, but for their home denominations.   TIM aims to:


  • provide training for life. It is intended to act as a stage in one’s Christian formation to encourage a life–long involvement with the Mission of the Church. Training in Mission
  • offer training with a wide vision, deepened commitment and a strengthened sense of fellowship and partnership with other Christians around the world, particularly through CWM member-churches.
  • be an enabling experience, offering an adventure of faith, rooted in God and enacted in the world
  • be a journey of transformation, dialectic of self and society. Though initiated three decades ago, CWM is constantly re-defining the content and methodology of the programme, just as it hopes participants will do themselves.

Website: CWM Training in Mission 

Arthur Rank Centre

Rural Ministry Course details     Arthur Rank Centre banner

The Arthur Rank Centre - Creative Leadership in the Rural Church Since 1972 Germinate: The Arthur Rank Centre, an ecumenical Christian charity, has served both the spiritual and practical needs of the rural community through a programme of community, social projects, resourcing and training. We provide hundreds of resources for rural churches, a comprehensive range of worship resources and rural stories, ideas and inspiration though our magazine, Country Way Our highly popular Rural Ministry Course has been running for over 30 years.germinate-1

Newer projects include Germinate Enterprise, a rural business start-up programme,Germinate Groups learning communities for multi-church groups, and Germinate Leadership, a training programme developing the creative and entrepreneurial skills of rural church leaders. We also run a biennial Germinate Conference, a major national day conference for all those involved in rural mission and ministry. We have also developed Rural Mission Sunday, an annual celebration of the life and work of rural churches, an opportunity to remember all the things they do well, and challenge themselves to do one new thing.

We are the home of the National Rural Officers for the Church of England Methodist and United Reformed Church; and also the hub for the church network of Rural Officers and Agricultural Chaplains. Our focus is to support and strengthen the UK’s 15,000 rural churches, so they can respond positively to change and impact the communities they serve. The Arthur Rank Centre (ARC) is the recognised centre by the churches in England for Rural Issues. Based at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. The vast majority of the resources from the ARC are delivered through our website, and most of these are regularly added to or adapted. Virtually all are freely downloadable, except items in the bookstall and our magazine, Country Way. 

Website: Creative Leadership in the Rural Church                 Website: The Arthur Rank Centre Germinate    

Fresh Expressions Mission Shaped Ministry Course

Fresh Expressions Mission Shaped Ministry Courses 

mission-shaped-ministry1You are invited to share a one year part-time learning journey in a supportive community. Equipping you to plant and sustain fresh expressions of church and apply mission shaped values to traditional church settings. For a lifetime of good practice and learning in growing fresh expressions of church.

msm rucksack 2015jpgThe one year course begins in September 2018 for more details see the attached flyer. Courses are held on Saturdays from 9.30 to 3.30 and week nights from 7.30 until 9.30 at Plume Avenue United Reformed Church, Colchester, C03 4PQ. The residential weekend will take place at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre.

Your local course Plume Avenue United Reformed Church, Chelmsford Diocese, Stanway Evangelical Church and the Colchester Pioneer Hub, are delighted to make msm available in the Colchester Area. We believe it will be a significant resource for building the Kingdom of God in this area.

Individuals are most welcome, but we particularly hope that small groups from a church or fresh expression will come as this will deepen the impact of the course. Cost is £200 includes all materials and refreshments. 

View Website: Mission Shaped Ministry      Download:  msm Flyer and Booking Form       

York Courses 2017-2018

'Easy-to-use ecumenical courses, bringing famous voices and challenging opinions into your discussion group. ''Over the years, the York Courses have proved a huge success, and deservedly so. The format works brilliantly.''

So what are you waiting for?

A 4-session course written by Revd Lucy Winkett – ideal for Advent, or any time you need a 4-part course

“Simon Stanley brilliantly explores the whole business of time, waiting and rushing with Lucy Winkett. The course booklet is a so-what-are-you-waiting-for-2018must-read before engaging with the CD, which forms the icing on the course’s very substantial cake.” (Church Times review October 2017)  comprising course booklet, audio and transcript

The season of Advent bends time itself. And for us, time drags or speeds by, depending on our circumstances and stage of life. Our attitude to time gives us clues about our attitude towards God.It’s a cliche to say that we live our lives often waiting for life to start, but that’s what many people experience, until they realise that they were living their lives all along. Whether you’re always in a hurry or have too much time on your hands, this course is for you, as we explore a spiritual life that encourages us to be active in the chronological world, and rooted in Kairos, God’s time.

On the Third Day

A brand new 5-session ecumenical course for discussion groups written by Bishop John Pritchard – ideal for on-the-third-day-2018Lent, though not Lent-specific Comprising course booklet, audio  and transcript

Rationale: The resurrection is the Big Story that turned a little Jewish protest movement into a world-transforming religion. And yet by Easter Monday we’ve almost forgotten about it and are planning our summer holidays. How can we re-capture the explosive power of the resurrection that ricocheted around the world? How can we live in the glow of resurrection and be an Easter people? How can ‘there and then’ become ‘here and now’? The course booklet includes a good selection of questions at the end of each of the five sessions, designed to stimulate wide-ranging discussion.    Website: York Courses for booking details  

Springs Dance Company for Churches

SPRINGS Dance Company   -  Dance for Churches

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, springs of living water will flow from within him.  John 7 verses 37–38

SPRINGS DANCE COMPANY offers churches, cathedrals and Christian organisations an excitingSprings-dance-14 programme of performances and workshops to suit every occasion.  Springs Dance Company offers:

Springs Dance Company aims to make dance accessible for everyone and encourages the use of dance as a form of praise, worship and teaching. Dance can be used along-side speakers ‘saying’ what words sometimes cannot and giving opportunities for reflection. Dance is also an innovative and effective outreach within the community. To find out more about how to use Springs Dance Company effectively in your Church contact the SDC office. Dancers of all levels can apply for courses, each with a different focus.

To book or for more information on courses, call us or visit Springs Dance Website.       Website: Springs Dance Company for details  

Mission Tools


Vision Initiatives

Find out more about Vision4Life; Vision2020 and Fresh Expressions.

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The aim of the Newsletter is to improve communication across the Synod, which will require your input and feedback to help in offering worthwhile information.

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The Purpose and Mission of the Synod; the Synod Meeting; our Area Partnerships; each of our Committees and the calendar of meeting dates.

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Find out who's who on the Synod Office Team.  If you are unsure who to get in touch with, use the Contact Us form and your query will be routed to the right person!

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