Belfast Bible College
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Pastoral Care


The Pastoral Care Course

Monday mornings from September - December onsite. 

Pastoral care is an aspect of the church which is as dependent on good theology as it is on good practice. Through this course you will learn the skills of reflection and consideration which are required for honest, well-developed pastoral care. Through engaging with the literature, practitioners and the situations in which we find ourselves daily we will seek to care better and love more completely the children of God who are placed before us.

This course will cover a broader outline of the study of pastoral care, and a focus on the specific consideration of care for and with specific people groups, such as families, those with disabilities, pastoral care of those suffering with eating disorders, to  those with suffering with mental illness, bereavement, and pastoral care for those at end of life. 

There is no assessment in this Course. A Belfast Bible College Certificate of Attendance will be issued to those who participate fully in classes, missing no more than 3 of the 12 weeks.

The purpose of this 12-week course is to explore the theological and Biblical foundations of pastoral care in contemporary Christian contexts.  Considering the role of both the pastoral practitioner and the pastoral community in providing pastoral care.  This course will consider a variety of pastoral care issues including families/young people and children, the care of those grieving, caring for those with life controlling behaviours and their families, how we care for those with life limiting conditions and looking at the role of chaplaincy in end-of-life care.  This course will develop participants own self-awareness, listening skills and empathy in how we care for others.  


Course synopsis: 

Week 1 - 6 Setting context and laying foundations – what is meant by the term pastoral care and how do we locate it within practical theology. 

Who is the pastor? And who is listening? 

What does it mean to be human? And learning to embrace the pastoral community. 

During these weeks, together we will continuously be stretched to examine ourselves, learning how listening to God is primary in learning to listen to others. 


Week 7 - 12 The course will have a variety of practitioners who will come teach and share their insights on various issues: 

Mental Health: equipping and stretching us as pastoral practitioners to care for those struggling with mental health in our churches and communities. 

Disabilities: How do we move from ‘caring for’ those with disabilities to learning something fundamental about our own faith in God and others? How can our churches become places which accommodate this well? 

Grief: Considering ways in which our congregations and homes can become safe and nurturing places for those suffering both bereavement and loss.  How do we express loss and sadness? And the finding a place for lament. 

Life-controlling Behaviours: What do we do when life becomes controlling?  How do we pastor families and individuals immersed in realities such as eating disorders? 

Pastoral Taboos - Pastoral practice faces many ethical dilemmas. Not everything is simple as it first appears.  Through conversation and case studies together we will create space to facilitate discussion around these ethical dilemmas. 

End of life Care – we are delighted that part of the course will include visiting NI Hospice where we will learn from the Chaplain on site. 

Lecturer Bio

Sharon Parker BSSc, MA, ALCM (TD) 

Associate Lecturer, Pastoral Care 

Sharon has been at BBC since 2019, where she sits on the management team, and her role includes the co-ordination of Pastoral Care for the Student body. She holds a bachelor’s degrees in Economic & Social History of Ireland, and Social Policy from Queen’s. She has over 15 years’ teaching experience, teaching public speaking with London College of Music and the University of West London.  She completed her MA in Theology with the University of Chester, and is currently completing her Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology with Cambridge Theological Federation. Sharon’s research interests are Pastoral Theology, women within church with particular interest in Pauline teachings and Spiritual Formation. 

Sharon pioneered and co-leads now with others a missional church community.  She is married to Keith, and they have two sons.