Scottish Baptist College – Adjusting and Adapting
By Graham Meiklejohn
When you begin to tell the story of 2020, where do you start? Much has happened already in the first half of the year. Along with many others, the Scottish Baptist College found itself quickly having to adjust and adapt to life in a pandemic. We moved all classes online and brought forward our already agreed investment in digital resources to complement our teaching. In many respects, we were able to continue as normal.
However, nothing was really “as normal”. Students had to balance study with home-schooling children. There was uncertainty over income since many students rely on the type of work most adversely affected by lockdown. We had to navigate suspected cases of Covid-19 and the impact that had on completing coursework. Throughout we learned afresh the value of the SBC community and the support network that provided. Through this time we saw in action one of our core values – that we are “a welcoming, encouraging, and supportive community for students.”
One of the most interesting perspectives to come from the lockdown was the way students connected their learning to the current situation. You might have heard that “college never taught me how to…” and it’s true, we can’t teach everything. There probably wasn’t a course in “how to minister during a pandemic” a year ago (though it is almost certain someone has created one now!) However, rather than narrowly teaching specific skills, theological training is about taking what you know and learning how to apply it in many different scenarios. So it was encouraging to see how insightfully our students reflected on issues such as preaching over the internet in the Creative Homiletics module or reflecting on the purpose of church and online gathering in our Christ and Church module.
As we move into a new academic year, we’re continuing all classes online meaning that modules can be completed at distance through blended learning. You can learn more about what that looks like on our website. Although shifting to this mode of teaching is due to the ongoing situation, it makes our courses more accessible to a wider geographical spread and easier to balance competing demands. And that means of any year, it’s worth considering studying with us – full-time, part-time, or even a single module. We’ve got introductory modules on Chaplaincy and school; ethics and theology; preaching; and encountering the New Testament – there’s is more information about these classes on our website.
We also ask for your prayers and support. This year in particular the student landscape is difficult as many organisations aren’t in a position to financially support students to the same extent as normal; less people are able to continue or commit to study for financial or circumstantial reasons; and the economic downturn makes it more difficult all round for Higher Education institutions. Although we’re in a good position to adapt, this is the most difficult year for Higher Education in at least a decade, if not longer. And so we ask that you continue to pray for us and, of course, if you or anyone you know feels called to theological study or training for ministry and mission then please get in contact.