Today delegates to the BETH Conference were able to visit the library at Regent’s Park College, a permanent private hall of the University of Oxford. The pictures below are of the theology and church history sections in the library.
Angus Library and Archive
Within Regent’s Park College is housed the Angus Library and Archive, which holds over 100,000 books and other items in its collection. These consist of the papers of leading Baptist figures from the 18h Century to today, the archive of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS), as well as historic Baptist church records and minute books. The librarian was kind enough to put out on display some of the more unusual items from the collection, including a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493), the diaries of the pioneering female medical missionary Dr Ellen Farrer, one of William Carey’s Journals, a Tyndale New Testament, a first edition of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and a necklace made from leopard’s teeth!
My name is Mark Galpin and I teach poverty and justice studies and also leadership here at All Nations. I also head up the Postgraduate Programme. I have served here for three years and prior to that served with my family in Nepal.
2) Tell us a little about All Nations.
Nations Christian College exists to train men and women for effective
participation in God’s mission to his multicultural world. Over the years we
have trained and sent out thousands of people to countries all over the world
who have worked in diverse ministries.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a
mixture of both?
4) How do All Nations students fund their studies,
and do you take students from overseas?
Nations students raise their own funds to come and study here. Others are
funded by their churches or mission agencies. UK citizens can also access
student loans for both the BA and MA courses.
We have students from all over the world. Currently we have students from about 25 countries,
and many come from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.
5) What type of ministry is All Nations intended
to prepare students for?
Nations focus is to prepare people for cross-cultural mission, either in their
own country (including the UK) or further afield. We are committed to a holistic understanding
of mission and students are equipped for a broad range of ministry including church-planting,
evangelism, Bible translation, community development and discipleship, among
6) What is distinctive about what All Nations offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
Nations is distinctive from other Bible colleges in the UK in its focus on
cross-cultural mission. Mission is not one topic among many but the focus of
everything we do. Our learning ethos is
focused on ‘head, hearts and hands’ so we have both an academic and a practical
emphasis to our training and want to see all our students transformed during
their time here at All Nations. All our courses have a strong Biblical and
theological foundation, and an emphasis on personal and spiritual formation and
cross-cultural and anthropological understanding. We also have a range of
modules including those focusing on the arts in mission, understanding other
religions, poverty and justice, and leadership.
7) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities
With 60,000 books, papers, maps and audio-visual
items and periodicals, the All Nations library is one of Europe’s largest
collections of Biblical, theological and missiological material, with
particular emphasis on intercultural and mission studies. The details of 45,000
journal articles are indexed on the library’s catalogue, searchable by subject
or key word.
Research is integrated into our undergraduate and
postgraduate courses. At postgraduate level we have a significant emphasis on
research, with a 15,000-word dissertation worth 60 credits from a total of 180
credits. Students have a dedicated supervisor and modules to equip them with
the tools and knowledge they need to carry out their research.
8) Does All Nations offer a distance or online learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.
Yes, we do. Our MA can be accessed both residentially and remotely. However, the mechanism for online students is quite different from many other institutions, as we use ‘Zoom’ technology and have a unified cohort of both residential and online students. Students from all across the world attend lectures in real time, and interact with each other face-to-face through the video conferencing facility. This leads to an incredibly rich learning experience as students come from very different cultural backgrounds and work in a huge diversity of contexts and ministries, but have in common a passion for mission. As one student put it: ‘I was expecting a distance learning course, but this is non-distance learning’! We also have a number of online short courses for people just starting their involvement in cross-cultural mission.
My wife brought my attention to a post of the Affinity website about the training of ministers. She noted that there was a very helpful comment by Helen Thorne or London City Mission and suggested that I contact Helen to interview her for my blog series. Helen has kindly agreed to take part.
1) Please introduce yourself and your role at London City Mission
London City Mission was founded in 1835 with the specific remit of taking the Good News of Jesus to the people of London, especially the poor. The Industrial Revolution created slums where many people lived in physical and spiritual poverty, London City Mission was established to bring them true and lasting hope. Today, our missionaries continue to work among the “least-reached” communities of our capital city – serving alongside local churches to share Jesus with those living on deprived estates, those from other cultures / faiths, those living or working on the streets and those caught up in gang or prison-life.
It’s an exciting ministry but not an easy one so we are committed to offering high-quality training to our staff and to local churches who share a passion for the lost. For newer Christians, we offer a 2-year, one day a week “Foundation Course” covering the basic biblical theology and practical evangelism needed for urban ministry. For more mature Christians, we offer our 2-year, one day a week “Urban Mission Course” which looks at biblical, historical, doctrinal and practical aspects of city mission in more depth. We work in partnership with Moorlands College and The Message Trust to offer a short course in “Christian Community Development and Evangelism” and are the London Hub for Union School of Theology’s Graduate Diploma in Theology. Each year we run a 5-day summer school in urban mission, a series of Practical Evangelism Training days and a range of Muslim Engagement Training courses too.
Our flagship course is our Pioneer Programme. Open to younger Christians from deprived backgrounds who may have few educational qualifications, we offer a 2-year, 3-day a week programme which enables people to access training while staying rooted in their local church. The programme includes lectures, mentoring, practical experience alongside one of our missionaries and a chance to spearhead a pioneering gospel-centred project in their local area.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
All our courses are part-time which means people can stay serving in their local church and work around their studies.
4) How do London City Mission students fund their studies?
We keep our courses low-cost – and there are reduced rates for the retired, unemployed and those working in self-supporting ministry roles so most people can pay fees from their earnings. The Pioneer Programme is unique in that we pay people to train with us! Places are limited to about 10 a year but we love to serve local churches in this way.
5) Does London City Mission take students from overseas?
Usually our students are already living within commuting distance of London. International students who are interested in courses – particularly the summer school – should contact the training department for more details.
6) What type of ministry is London City Mission intended to prepare students for?
All our courses are designed to equip people for mission within the least-reached communities of the city. Our students range from new Christians with no qualifications to pastors who want to supplement their degrees – it’s a wonderful mix of people who can sharpen each other well.
7) When students leave London what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?
Our aim is to equip people to serve where they are. We are passionate about training our own staff and volunteers – we are passionate about training people who want to serve better within their local church. A few of our students go off to serve in other mission agencies too and it’s a privilege to have equipped them.
8) What is distinctive about what London City Mission offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
Our focus on part-time courses that concentrate on reaching the least-reached communities in our urban setting, welcome people with no prior learning and leave people embedded in their local chur
ch is a pretty unique combination. We hope and pray that’s a great spur to the church’s call to “equip the saints for works of service”
9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.
We’re working on the establishment of an Urban Mission library … but we’re not quite there yet!
10) Does London City Mission offer a distance or on-line learning option?