Come on and celebrate!
On 14th June 2010, more than fifty people gathered at Westminster College, Cambridge, on a gorgeous summer day, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Integrated Training Course. These were just a proportion of those who had been involved over the years that we had been serving the Federation and its churches through our training programmes.
Several people have suggested recently that we should form an ‘Alumni Association’ (or whatever we choose to call it!). I have agreed to take on the task of gathering and organising the Association, and I would like to invite you to get in touch if you are interested.
You will find us throughout CF, in its churches and areas, among its national leadership, and representing us on ecumenical and outside bodies.
We include the General Secretary, President (me!) and President Elect, all current chairs of committees or groups, fifteen current council members, twenty three area officers or workers, twenty-six area representatives on committees, eighteen representatives on outside bodies, and the editors of both The Congregationalist and The International Congregational Journal.
Over the years, three of the four General Secretaries, twenty-one Presidents and five chairs of Council have been involved in the course as tutors or students.
But our main sphere of service is in the local churches. You will find us among the ministers, preachers, mission enablers, children’s workers, chaplains, administrators, visionaries, teachers – working faithfully and equipped for service.
My own experience is that I joined the ITC with some foundational training as a distance learner with Spurgeons College which meant that I did not need to undertake the Foundation Course (now the GIFT Programme). I saw my grades improve steadily as I progressed through the Modules (except, of course for that Greek and Hebrew module!) I succeeded in passing my training for ministry.
I had the opportunity to enter the BA (Hons) programme as one of the first students to accept this challenge. Graduating with a 2.1 was a very proud moment. This is but one person’s story of his journey through the ICT with all its high and low points. I have no doubt that every one of you has your own story to tell of your journey.
But our stories do not end there. I was received onto the Roll of Ministries in 2013 in the role of Minister. I went on to study to be a Tutor and return something of my learning, progress and experience into the course, and was received onto the Roll as such in 2015. I now tutor in Christian Ethics and I am also a Personal Tutor and look after students with extra needs. In November 2013 I joined the Pastoral Care Board, and was elected chair in February 2014. And I am busy visiting local churches and being involved in CF at all levels as President.
We have all got more to tell. We alumni have made huge contributions to the life and activities of the Federation. We need to share our stories and our experiences, both because they are incredibly interesting and varied and because we still have so much to give to the Federation, our Areas and our churches. The possibility for crossfertilisation to the benefit of all concerned is invaluable.
We will be better able to offer this support if we have the infrastructure of an Alumni Association (or call it what you will) around us.
We know that events such as the Cambridge day are successful and popular; and we also know that there is enormous good will towards continuing to offer high quality accessible learning opportunities to CF churches and leaders.
If you would like to join me in this initiative, or express an interest, please let me know. I can be contacted by email or 07802 410 258. Please get in touch. We might be able to arrange some sort of initial gathering at the June Assembly or the Congregational Conference.