First sports chaplaincy degree in UK launched

A unique postgraduate course focusing on the training and accreditation of sports chaplains is to be launched at the University of Gloucestershire.
The MA in Sports Chaplaincy, which is the first course of its kind to be developed in the UK, will help ordained clergy, church leaders and lay workers to explore in depth the many and varied aspects of sports chaplaincy.  Building on applied theology, sport, and pastoral care principles the course will offer students the opportunity to analyse and contribute to this expanding field of expertise as well as participating in practical workshops and work placements.
A variant of the MA in Sports Ministry, which was set up at the University by Lord Carey of Clifton in 2007, the new course is a joint venture between University of Gloucestershire and SCORE (the UK's leading sports chaplaincy agency), providing UK university accreditation for current and prospective practitioners in sports chaplaincy, a growing area of ministry. 
When Rev John Boyers, (the Founder and International Director of SCORE and chaplain to Manchester United FC) began his work at Watford FC in 1977, he knew of only one other sports chaplain, and had no courses or manuals to refer to. Nowadays SCORE seeks to support a network of around 180 sports chaplains across the UK via an array of training resources which it also promotes at theological colleges and conferences. This new course provides academic endorsement for these resources thereby meeting a significant need in the ministry training spectrum.
The partnership brings together the University of Gloucestershire's unique experience in the delivery of sports ministry studies, and SCORE's pioneering work in sports chaplaincy development, to provide a postgraduate programme in this specialist area of ministry. The Certificate, Diploma and MA options will enable potential students to find an accredited course which suits their own personal needs, be that via sabbatical study, in-service training, or further academic development, to enhance future ministry potential. The course will comprise in depth studies of chaplaincy in a range of sports, at both club and world event level, and will include tuition on the historical, international, theological, cultural, contextual, ethical, and practical aspects of sports chaplaincy, as well as space for applied research.
The academic programme will be overseen by the University's Professor of Sport and Christian Outreach, Andrew Parker, and will be delivered in association with SCORE.
"I am delighted to be involved in these unique developments and look forward to working closely with SCORE in the training of sports chaplains," said Professor Parker.
Rev John Boyers said: "We at SCORE, have always sought to professionalise the work of chaplains in sport, and to provide excellence in both training and delivery of chaplaincy services. We are very thrilled at this partnership with the University of Gloucestershire and feel this course will provide important accredited training. It will be theoretical yet embedded with practical advice, shared experience and personal investigation, and will help current and future sports chaplains significantly."
Redcliffe Theological College, based in Gloucester, will provide additional theological input alongside specialist staff from the University.  The course will offer three levels of qualification; a postgraduate certificate, postgraduate diploma and/or full Masters (MA) degree.
Prof Andrew Parker and Rev John Boyers will be hosting four 'Taster Roadshows' to publicise and explain the course to potential students - these will run from 12.30pm till 3.30pm on the following dates:
Tuesday 15 June at York St John University
Thursday 17 June at the University of Gloucestershire
Tuesday 22 June at the London School of Theology
Thursday 24 June at the Kilsyth Community Church, Kilsyth.
More information about these events can be obtained from the SCORE administrative office, 0161 962 6068, or by email
More information about the course can be found at: /

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