Autumn School 2020

The Cliff College 2020 Autumn School comes to Plymouth, focusing on the theme of ‘Bible engagement’ over seven sessions in October and early November. The course is open to anyone wanting to understand better what it means to read the Bible in the 21st century, and how to read it creatively.

Plymouth lighthouse

This exciting and well-received Bible engagement course has been run at Cliff College and elsewhere in the UK in recent years, and covers subject areas including:

  • What sort of book is the Bible? Inspiration, revelation and how to read it.
  • Where does the Bible fit into our spiritual lives?
  • How do we read the Bible? Different strategies to help our reading.
  • How do we use it? The Bible and our personal discipleship.
  • The Bible and Christian living in the world – the Bible and making a difference in the world.

This Bible-focused course will encourage us to explore ways of engaging with scripture. You might be a group leader and want to further your biblical and theological knowledge. Maybe you are studying as a Methodist Local Preacher, want to grapple with some theological issues or want a refresher course for your worship and preaching. Are you a church member or an emerging leader, wanting to better read, study and understand the Bible story? You might even just want to come to reflect on your understanding of God, gear up for study or maybe further explore what Cliff College has to offer.

Welcomed into the region by Rev Graham Thompson, Chair of the Plymouth and Exeter Methodist District, the teaching will be delivered by: Ian White, Senior tutor, Cliff College; Rev Dr. Mike Parsons; Rev Dr. Steve Emery-Wright (Superintendent minister, Tavistock Methodist circuit); and Rev Gareth Higgs (Superintendent minister, Mission circuit, and Minister in charge at Plymouth Central Hall).

The lecturers brought the Bible alive, raised issues I had never considered, and left me wanting to know more.

Stimulating, exciting, sensitive and interesting… everything I had hoped for and more.

The course was very accessible to people of all abilities and knowledge.

Our Autumn School teaching theme is ‘Bible engagement’, and whilst you may be just enjoying the teaching for its own sake, Cliff College is also offering a Cliff College Certificate in Bible Engagement for those who wish to do some further study following the course. This will require both attendance throughout the course, and also the submission of a piece of assessment, which has a variety of options. All this will be described during the course by the Cliff College Senior tutor, Ian White. Successful students will be invited to the Cliff College graduation ceremony.

'At the invitation of the Plymouth and Exeter Methodist District through good friends of the college – Rev Dr Steve Emery-Wright and Rev Gareth Higgs – Cliff College is delighted to be on the road and in the South West of England. I know that this is going to be an exciting and supportive course, and so I encourage you to sign up! We very much look forward to being with you, and working alongside a short course colleague Rev Dr Mike Parsons, who as a biblical teacher and author brings a huge amount of wisdom and experience to Bible engagement.'
Ian White, Senior tutor, Cliff College


Our teaching venue is at the excellent resource of Plymouth Methodist Central Hall, Eastlake Street, Plymouth City Centre, PL1 1BA. Find out more about their ministry on Facebook: PMCH.


Introduced on a Friday evening in early October, the course then comprises two full Saturdays, with four mid-week evenings covering 11 sessions of teaching, assessment and tutorial support, as well as times for prayer and refreshments.

  • Friday 2 October 7.30 pm – 9.15 pm (Registration and refreshments from 7 pm)
  • Saturday 3 October 9.30 am – 4.30 pm (Refreshments from 9 am)
  • Thursday 8 October 7.30 pm – 9.15 pm (Refreshments from 7 pm)
  • Thursday 15 October 7.30 pm – 9.15 pm (Refreshments from 7 pm)
  • Thursday 22 October 7.30 pm – 9.15 pm (Refreshments from 7 pm)
  • Thursday 5 November 7.30 pm – 9.15 pm (Refreshments from 7 pm)
  • Saturday 7 November 9.30 am – 4.30 pm (Refreshments from 9 am)


Costs will be £200.00 for all teaching and materials, refreshments and lunch on Saturday teaching days. A non-refundable deposit of £75.00 payable to Cliff College secures your place. The balance of fees should be paid as the course starts. Please note that this course is non-residential, so participants need to travel locally or arrange their own accommodation in Plymouth.

Methodist Learning Network copy

The booking form is available to download below. For further information contact Cathi Thacker, the Autumn School administrator, on / 01246 584221.

Your Cliff College short course Certificate in Bible Engagement may also enable you to gain credit towards a University of Manchester certificate, diploma or degree at Cliff College. Usually, a short course certificate will gain you 10-20 credits towards a validated qualification. It would mean, for instance, that instead of studying 120 credits in the first year of a degree, you only study 100-110. The awarding of credit in this way is not automatic and must be applied for. If you would like further guidance on whether your Cliff College short course certificate may contribute towards a University of Manchester qualification at Cliff College, then contact the Academic Director.