Source: Jesuits in Britain
On 5th February 2019 in the London Jesuit Centre at Mount Street a seven person assessment panel, comprising representatives from the University of Roehampton plus external advisors from Exeter University and the London School of Theology, convened to assess a proposed new University of Roehampton degree: the MA Theology, Ecology and Ethics, which had been co-created with the Jesuits in Britain.
The panel approved the programme and commended, amongst other things 'a Higher Education and faith institution working collaboratively with evidence of commitment and drive to make the programme a success.'
The idea of an MA programme formed and informed by Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si was very definitely an idea of the Jesuits in Britain first mooted in the summer of 2017. But to become a reality the Jesuits in Britain had to identify a degree awarding institution which would be willing to take ownership of the programme. In the University of Roehampton the Jesuits have found an educational institution willing not just to take ownership of the idea but actively to engage in a co-creative MA development process.
This co-creation both fulfils the Jesuits' vision of an MA designed to wrestle with the challenges laid before us by Pope Francis in Laudato Si'. The University of Roehampton has actively embraced the programme as an important element in their suite of post-graduate theology degrees.
Fr Damian Howard SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, said: "I am thrilled that the Jesuits in Britain have been able to take forward this new and exciting project in Higher Education. Helping young Christians to grasp the deep connections between their faith and the care of creation is one of the most urgent tasks of today's Church. The world does not just need more activists but thoughtful people of compassion and sound formation.
We have so much to learn if we are to find a way to live sustainably, sharing the planet's limited resources justly. In this MA programme students will explore the issues in depth and create a community of passionate people determined to live differently."
John Moxon, the Head of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Roehampton, has been an active supporter and promoter of this MA within Roehampton. The team of five academics who have designed the curriculum reflect the interconnectedness and co-creativity of this project: Professor Celia Deane-Drummond, recently appointed Director of the Jesuits' Laudato Si' Research Institute based in Campion Hall Oxford, Dr Martin Poulsom SDB and Dr Clare Watkins of the University of Roehampton, Dr Nick Austin SJ Master of Campion Hall, Oxford, and Dr Eddy Bermingham SJ who has led on the project.
The vision of the Jesuits in Britain is not limited simply to setting up and supporting the MA programme. The degree programme is one way of enabling the Jesuits to engage with a cohort of young people who believe that Laudato Si' and integral ecology are essential aspects of what it means to be Christian in the 21st Century.
The MA will be launched in September 2019 and delivered at the London Jesuit Centre at Mount St in central London. More information, including details of a bursary scheme funded by the Jesuits, can be found on the University of Roehampton website
Dr Martin Poulsom will be giving a talk at Farm St Church Hall, 114 Mount St W1K 3AH, on Thursday 4th April at 6.45pm on Caring for Our Common Home: Integrating Theology, Ecology and Ethics. All are welcome.
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