It was Christine Jones who first encouraged me to visit UTU and begin my journey of learning with them so it is with delight that I share her guest blog post this week. Don’t forget to send your memories, inspirations and stories to the office to be shared in future posts. Many thanks. Christine Dutton
My first encounter with UTU was when I was invited to teach Methodism to the current cohort of Methodist ministerial students. That was a great experience, challenging, fun and a privilege to work with this group. This was a short time before John retired and it was suggested that I apply for the vacant posts of Director and then Director of Studies. I spent the next 14 years working at UTU. I was already interested in feminist and liberation theology and UTU helped to consolidate those ideas and increase the passion for ‘God’s preferential option for the poor.’
It is impossible to explain the impact of being at UTU in such a few words. Apart from teaching Methodism and then ministerial skills, I also taught the Biblical modules and hermeneutics. I found it very true that as teacher I learned more than those I taught. I had mountains of reading to wade through to bring those topics more up to date, but I not only learned from the preparation but also from those in the classes. I learned so much from the discussions and debates that we had and one important lesson was about the challenges to my own presuppositions.
I was also challenged by the discussions and conversations with other staff and appreciated their clarity of thought and ability to consider the big picture without ignoring the minutiae. Here I owe a great deal to John and Ian.
The final challenge was I became aware I was not a trained teacher and so decided to read for a PhD in adult education. That helped change some of the teaching methods I had used, challenged my leading of worship and opened up the opportunity for my next job when I needed to move on from UTU.
Revd Dr Christine Jones (Former Director of Studies and then Director at UTU)