Daniel Pratt is a current Ministerial student studying for the Certificate for Theology Graduates (CTG) He matriculated onto the course in 2012 after hearing a call to Ministry whilst working with the Baptist Missionary Society in Africa from 2006 to 2012. Prior to this, Dan studied Theology as an undergraduate and postgrad, and then worked a number of short-term jobs including property development.
What aspects of your course do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy the lectures in the University, and the one-on-one tutorials. I know that the tutorial system is unique to Oxbridge so I was prepared for that aspect of study before I came to Regent’s.
Do you think doing your course at Regent’s has helped you in your ministry?
I think the course is really well thought through. The practical placements are also very useful. Students often share skills and tips that are learnt on placement and then brought back to the classroom.
Do you enjoy studying with undergraduate and postgraduate students doing other Humanities courses?
I shared a flat with undergrads at Regent’s and got to know them fairly well. We often did things together and they came and supported me at Chapel which was great.
What are your plans after Regent’s?
I still study at Regent’s part-time while I work as a newly accredited Baptist Minister. I work as a Baptist Minister in a church plant I started in Southend-on-Sea while I was training for ministry with Regent’s. I have built the church from nothing and have focused on catering to the needs of vulnerable people within the area, some of whom are homeless or have addictions. This is a new expression of church which has its service on Saturday followed by a community meal. We meet in a coffee shop we renovated. The church service is very participatory with people invited to tell their life stories. We stop half-way through for coffee or if people need a cigarette. During the week we run a drop-in – providing free hot drinks and toast, as well as pastoral care, workshops and creative events. We are there for everyone within that community. It officially became a church in June 2014 and has the backing of several other churches in the area.
What impact do you think you are making on your community?
It’s hard to quantify success, particularly at this early stage. It may be easier to talk about some of the things that we do. Although we run a church service, it is not just the spiritual that we focus on. Practical support is given through working with other service providers in the town to help some of the homeless get off the streets. So far we have succeeded in housing 6 people. As I said, many of them are battling drug or alcohol addictions. We offer support and advice, and are developing a mentoring scheme with volunteers being mentored. We also have a small team of people, some of whom have been homeless themselves, who are helping others who were in their situation. Sometimes it’s easier taking help or advice from someone with similar life experience. I would say there is a strong sense of community here which is very rewarding. People are encouraged to come to the community drop-in, and we offer tea and coffee which we hope will encourage people to see the church as somewhere welcoming. We also run creative events such as open-mic nights, craft workshops, discussion groups and men and women’s nights. We have also run skills development workshops relating to finding work. This community is really starting to thrive, and we find that the people who come want to help each other. This year we have had over 1,700 people through our doors – many of them multiple times.