Are you looking to further develop your faith and understanding of pastoral ministry?

If so then either of these courses could be the answer!

The Certificate in Pastoral Ministry [2 year part-time on-line]


This course is offered in partnership with The institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago.

Recruitment for the next cohort of students is now open. The course will begin in January 2021 and will mark the fourth successive year of providing first class adult formation to over 130 students from all dioceses in the Northern Province and in Wrexham. The course provides a significant part of the 4 year formation programme for candidates for the permanent diaconate. For the first time this new cohort will include students from Clifton Diocese too.

The first cohort completed the pilot 2 year Certificate course last December. Invited to share their thoughts about how the course is serving the Local Church, participants’ responses included:

  • There is true collaboration in this project, crossing parish, diocesan and global boundaries, which is what it means to be Church.

  • Increase in confidence on the part of students as they work/volunteer alongside clergy. They feel more equipped to dialogue with clergy and to get more involved.

  • Great to see transformation of those participating in the course.

  • Good to see a prioritization of education for lay people.

  • Integral part of diaconate formation in some dioceses.

  • Strength of lay people and deacons getting their formation alongside each other.


The course is sufficiently flexible and accessible to enable people from all ages and family and work contexts to be successful. Here a young mother of two children, one born during the course, shares her experience.

Two students from Lancaster Diocese, currently completing their first year, offer these reflections on their experience so far:

The Loyola certificate course in Pastoral Ministry is:

Informative, challenging, thought-provoking, stimulating …. These are the words that come to mind. The Loyola course is for anyone who wants to explore what it means to be a disciple of Christ and to live that discipleship in a more focussed way within their faith community. As disciples we are all called to “ministry” of some kind. You don’t need any prior knowledge – but the tutors do assume that you are active in some way in your faith community. A certain time commitment is required – but this is spread over the days of each week.

The Initial reading and the on-line lecture usually require approximately 2.5 hours (although in Module 1 the reading assignment involved very long chapters!) Posting your substantive response up to 1 hour, reading the responses of the others in your group and responding to two people, approximately 1 hour. These approximate timings do not take account of time to ponder and assimilate what you have been taught or read, nor the thinking and pondering on what your response might be. The challenge of the course lies in applying the content to your own lived experience and questioning some of our preconceptions. The exchange of views and perspectives that takes place within the forums, as well as the support offered to each other, is for me one of the most valuable aspects of the course. If you are wondering: “Is it for me?” I would say “Give it a go!”. It is a great opportunity.

Elaine Brownwood St John the Evangelist Parish, Poulton-le-Fylde

When first hearing of this course I was very interested indeed. I felt I had wanted to gain an increased knowledge of my faith and this course has the built in motivation that I recognised I needed, as you are required to post some reflections and responses.

We have just completed a 6 week overview of the Old Testament and are currently exploring the New Testament and it is a real eye opener to read a passage that you thought you had understood but realise there is more to be gained from it. Once you hear a more background on the story or the writer or the setting in which it takes place, for me it creates a new richness of scripture that I was not expecting.

I’m very much looking forward to delving into many of the modules but in particular the one titled ‘Vatican II’. I often hear references to pre and post Vatican II but know that I am only aware of the very surface changes that took place, so if something as familiar as the New and Old Testaments hold much more meaning then how much is there to be gained from insightful tuition of something unfamiliar to me.

Undoubtedly what is so far the most rewarding and enriching part of this course for me is the feeling you get from being on the same journey as your peers. You are being carried along on this journey with your peers, their support and encouragement, questions etc. are so edifying that it inspires you to respond much more than the minimum expected of you and it is great to get into a commentary that makes you think outside the box.

Catherine Thompson St John the Evangelist Parish, Poulton-le-Fylde

The Diploma in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership [3 year part-time on-line and with additional workshops].


This course is offered in association with Liverpool Hope University and includes the Certificate in Pastoral Ministry course which serves as a foundation for a deeper reflection on Leadership through workshop experiences and through two projects undertaken in the third year.

Currently there are students from Liverpool, Salford, Lancaster and Wrexham participating in this three year course and the first graduates will receive their Diplomas in December.

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Certificate application form


Diploma application form