Each year, groups of Union students have travelled to various international destinations as part of their programmes of study. These trips have been very popular and enormously beneficial.
For many years, Professor Patton Taylor has led a study trip to Israel where there is the opportunity to visit ancient biblical sites and to become more familiar with the language and culture of the Middle East. This trip normally takes place around Easter. Whether it is visiting Old Testament archaeological sites, walking in the footsteps of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee, exploring the city of Jerusalem (from the ancient City of David through New Testament times to the present day), or the fun of wading through Hezekiah’s tunnel and/or floating on the Dead Sea, participants find the trip academically enlightening, spiritually challenging, and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
A new Church History fieldwork module was launched in 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the commencement of the First World War. Eight final year students enrolled last year and 15 have enrolled for 2015. Students spend 4 days in Belgium, exploring numerous battlefields and memorials after which they write a 2,000 word reflective journal on their fieldtrip. The module is delivered by Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick who has regularly visited the battlefields for over 10 years and given numerous public lectures on aspects of the War. Student feedback has been very positive and this module has become a regular option for all final year students.
With over half the world’s population now living in cities, the challenge of ministry and mission in urban areas is considerable. In order to help students appreciate the various approaches to urban mission, Professor Stafford Carson took a group of students to London in June 2014 and 2015 to attend a summer school organised by London City Mission (LCM). As well as talks and lectures on urban mission and ministry, students had the opportunity to visit a number of ministries and projects sponsored by LCM across London, including the homeless day centre in Waterloo and Husk Community Cafe in Limehouse. These study trips have proven to be extremely useful and inspirational for those considering ministry.
In October 2014, a group of staff and students spent 5 days in Rome, under the leadership of Professor Drew Gibson. As well as visiting the ancient Roman sites such as the Coliseum, the group was taken on a guided tour of a number of significant church buildings including a visit to the Vatican and the famous Sistene Chapel.