Course of Christian Studies



The Course in Christian Studies is a two year course exploring the Christian Faith with others, delivered weekly in local centres around the diocese. CCS has a foundational first year and a more flexible second year and leads to the Bishop’s Certificate.

Course dates for 2018-19

CCS is also availble online. 




About CCS 

Since it began in 1987, over 2500 lay people from Essex and East London have joined the Course in Christian Studies. What has it given them? What could it give you?

The excitement of discovery and learning together: members bring their own varied stories and experiences and share them, finding new truth in themselves and in each other through lively discussion.

Knowledge of the Bible and of the huge riches of Christian tradition, nurtured by tutors and textbooks, and whetting members' appetite for more knowledge - but not providing all the answers.

Delight in that biblical and Christian tradition, finding in it a field for imaginative and practical exploration, for wonder and worship and decision.

Constructive Reflection on the Bible and tradition and on the contemporary world: the Course does not shirk the hard questions posed by the Church's history or by believing in God and seeking peace and justice today.

Spiritual Formation of both the local group and its individual members: the Course does not set out to convert or evangelise, but it is concerned with the whole life of prayer and activity and relationships - not just with the mind.

For those who desire it, the Course also provides a foundation for further education or training. This could be other local courses; it could be a degree or diploma. Or it could be training for a specific ministry in the Church including the ministry of: Reader, Pastoral Assistant, Lay Evangelist or Priest


CCS groups and CCS online 

There are two ways in which you can take the CCS: in local, face-to-face groups or online in an interactive, password-protected group.


The online CCS:

Would you like to take the Course in Christian Studies, but your job or your personal time-table makes a weekly meeting difficult? Or do you prefer to learn online, and want to be able to study at the times which suit you? The online CCS will take you through the same material as the face to face version – the Bible,  prayer and sacraments, church history, ethics and doctrine and our part in God’s mission, and the assessments – which are optional – are the same.  This will be available from September 2017.

The on-line version has elements such as teaching, discussion, thought-showering and worship happening on-line using tools such as forums, wikis, quizzes, questionnaires, and multimedia learning and worship materials. You will ‘journey’ through each week’s ideas with a facilitator and a group of a dozen or more learners, learning from teaching material, from each other, from the facilitator, from your own developing inner resources – and, we pray, the Holy Spirit.

As a guide, three to five hours a week would allow you to do justice to the material, and you will be encouraged to log on to the website every other day (to participate fully in ongoing forum discussions and other interactions with fellow learners). The great thing is that how and when you log on is down to you. The on-line material aims to be tablet- and smartphone-friendly, so if you commute, you can learn as you go.

CCS will follow the same unit order as the group version, i.e. A - F.  A certificate will be presented on completion of all the units.


The cost of the online CCS is £150 for 6 units, or £30 a unit.  To apply please complete the application form by ------- and also the Data Protection form by --------- and return them to Diane Hardy, Diocesan Office, 53 New Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1AT, with your payment. Or you can return the form online to  and make your payment via BACS - details are on the form.



Local face-to-face groups:

  • Each September there will be centres in each of the three Episcopal Areas. Click here for details of the proposed centres for this year (2017).  Please let us know if you would like to take the course, but there is no centre near you – you may be the beginning of a group!
  • For an application form please contact Diane Hardy or 
  • You must also complete the Diocese Data Protection Consent Form.
  • Groups usually meet weekly, though it is possible to complete the course by meeting monthly on Saturdays (available at certain venues). All necessary reading and preparatory material is provided and group members commit to spending a few hours each week in preparation for the group session. They are led by ordained and lay tutors and include people from all kinds of churches. The group learns from the tutors, the Bible and the reading material provided, and from each other.  Certificates are presented at the end of two years in a Cathedral service.
  • Assessment is optional! The assessments which are set always give the option of a short piece of writing or a recording of your talk. Other options include producing a portfolio, or designing a leaflet. You can choose not to do any assignments at all and receive an ‘attendance’ certificate – but they are there to assist your learning.
  • The cost of the local course is £150 each year, or £50 a term.


1st Year

Unit A

Unit B 

Unit C

Unit D

Unit E

Unit F

Baptismal Service video


2nd Year

Unit G

Unit H

Unit J

Unit K is a Lent module


Unit L

For more information please contact


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Page last updated: Friday January 5th 2018 12:15 PM