Benedictine centre offers adult education with a difference

 Ealing Abbey's Benedictine Study and Arts Centre (BASC) celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year. A social evening was held at the Centre on Sunday to raise awareness of this hidden gem in leafy west London. Guests included the Mayor and Mayoress of Ealing, Mr and Mrs Kieran Gavan, Stephen Pound MP, local businesspeople, teachers and clergy. The centre is the only one of its kind in the country and offers open access to all adult learners regardless of age, creed or academic qualifications. Small classes ensure that each student receives individual attention as well as a warm welcome. Many students come to BSAC with no academic qualifications, and others find it an ideal environment in which to resume studies after a gap of many years (Study Skills courses are available to help those who feel rusty!). Fr Michael Bedford, an Anglican priest from Ruislip, described how he had come to BSAC as a retired teacher to start learning theology and had gone on to achieve an MA at Heythrop College, before being ordained last year. He applauded BSAC's friendly atmosphere (stressing that non-Catholics are welcomed just as warmly as Catholics) and the individual attention which is so important to new students. BSAC's wide range of courses include Church History, Christian Spirituality, Pastoral Skills, Interfaith ("Christians Understanding Islam"), Christian liturgy, as well as some language courses. Student may choose to enrol for a single non-accredited module or a two-year University Level 1 accredited Certificate Course. Distance learning courses are also offered, and an Art Gallery hosts faith-related exhibitions by local and National artists. People are invited to help by offering their services as volunteers, by making a donation in cash or kind, or by signing up for a course and experiencing at first-hand what this unusual Study Centre has to offer. For further details contact Jennie Burbury at (tel. 020 8998 1923) or write to The Benedictine Study and Arts Centre, 74 Castlebar Road, London W5 2DD (answerphone 020 8862 2156)

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