Our campus is centred on a nineteenth-century manor house set in beautiful grounds near the heritage coastline of South Wales. It’s the home of our full-time teaching programmes, offering all the benefits of traditional residential training, and it provides a base for intensive study weeks and a home for the wider Union Family.
The library, which is constantly updated with the latest publications, serves both the campus community and our Learning Communities. It houses a large range of books, journals and resource archives, as well as e-books, e-journals and e-resources which can be accessed seamlessly on or off campus through any digital device, keeping students at the forefront of academic theology.
The conference hall and chapel hosts our worship services as well as a variety of events throughout the year. Our modern lecture rooms include cutting-edge technology that enable us to deliver quality theological training to students on campus as well as those studying remotely on our BA Flex and GDip courses. There are a number of designated quiet study and group study rooms dotted around campus, which provide ample space to suit your study preferences.
The student common room, with its large TV and games table, provides a space for students to relax as well as hold prayer meetings and other activities. There’s plenty of outdoor space including beautiful gardens for a lunchtime stroll and fields for sports, and our barbecue/bonfire and picnic area is a popular space for gathering together throughout the year.
Residential students live in well-appointed single-occupancy study rooms, and the shared kitchen facilities are ideal for continuing discussions ‘after hours’. There is also family-friendly accommodation on campus.
As well as residential education, our campus is the base for the Union Family. Our annual conference is held here each year, along with regular events throughout the year. It’s also a place for retreats and short-term intensive study breaks. Students from our Learning Communities – and pastors on sabbatical – have the chance to come and benefit from this vibrant and refreshing community. More than a college campus, we see it as a seedbed of the gospel, embodying our values.
The Local Area
Bridgend has a healthy number of evangelical churches to choose from and there are a variety of local family and toddler groups. Events for women studying at or connected to Union are organised on a regular basis by the Tutor for Wellbeing and other members of the Union community.
The campus is set in a rural area on the outskirts of Bridgend. The town has leisure and shopping facilities and there are local attractions including open-air museums, famous beaches, castles and the Wales Coast Path. The rugged Brecon Beacons National Park is within easy reach and many students use their weekends to visit countryside towns like Hay-on-Wye (which holds the annual Hay Literature Festival and has a considerable number of bookshops that feature extensive theology collections!).
There are public transport links from the campus to Cardiff, the Welsh capital, and cities like Bristol and Bath which hold major sporting and cultural events. Cardiff and Bristol also have airports offering international connections, and London can be accessed in a 3-hour train journey or drive.
The semester kicks off with our Union Conference, an opportunity for students from across the Union family to come together for the week to build friendships, be refreshed by great teaching and be encouraged as they begin a new semester of study, whether on campus or in our Learning Communities. It’s always a great time of learning and fellowship, and what better way to round off a great week than with a commissioning service and our now traditional and much-anticipated hog roast in the grounds? In fact, they’re so looked forward to that we also host one after our end-of-year Thanksgiving service too!
Life on campus is enriched through daily worship and fellowship with faculty, students and the wider Union family. Time spent here is an opportunity to grow in Christ and establish friendships that will bear fruit for life.
All share in serving, and students put into practice the ministry skills they learn in class.
Tutor groups provide an opportunity for students to spend time together with their personal tutor in smaller groups to share, pray and discuss what they’ve been studying.
Joint coffee breaks and mealtimes all contribute to the community life of Union, as students, staff, volunteers and guests all chat together over a brew or a home-cooked meal.
Activities are regularly arranged for students and their families, including games and movie nights, meals out together and day trips to the beach or one of the many historical sites in the area.
Fostering Personal Growth
Here at Union we’re committed to making sure that students are getting a well-rounded and solid experience, both in their academic studies and their personal walk.
That’s why tutor groups and community are so central to how we do things. Your personal tutor will meet with your group once a week to discuss and share things you’ve been thinking through in classes, and you’ll also get one-to-one time with your tutor on a regular basis to check your academic progress, address any questions you have and discuss how you’re doing personally and spiritually. Outside of organised sessions, faculty are always happy to chat with students over a coffee.
Students are encouraged and supported by Paul Spear, our Pastoral Dean, who gives feedback on preaching practice and facilitates our Preaching & Pastoral workshops, where students discuss practical aspects of church ministry with experienced pastors who have a wealth of knowledge to share.
BA students undertake 2 ministry-based placements during their course, which enables them to gain experience in a variety of situations, developing skills for future ministry practice, and provides opportunities for reflection with the support of the Pastoral Dean.
Dr. Natalie Brand, our Tutor for Women, is available for tutoring sessions with all female students whether campus-based or studying in a Learning Community, offering personal academic and pastoral support.
Our Tutor for Wellbeing & Community, Sheila Stephen, offers support to all students and their families, promoting their spiritual and personal well-being.
What students say
I’ve been at Union for a year and I’ve absolutely loved every minute. The main reasons I chose Union were because it is a reputable theological college, it is local to me and the sense of community it encourages. It is small enough so you get to know students and faculty in a more relaxed environment, but its programmes reach communities around the globe so you meet Christians from all kinds of nations.
I think it’s such a great opportunity for students to be able to study from this year in a more blended approach, using Zoom to study by distance learning but also ensuring you’re not missing out on face-to-face study on campus for some modules, combining both methods of study to suit your circumstances.
I am so grateful that I have been able to travel to campus every day, interacting with students, staff and faculty, with the wonderful ability to use the well-stocked library and the knowledge the librarian has.
Samantha, part-time BA Campus student , Port Talbot
I have enjoyed Jesus more deeply and freshly in these last five years of studying at Union than I can ever remember previously. Some of the most influential moments of my time at Union were my first- and second-year lectures in Church History under Michael Reeves, Daniel Hames and Lee Gatiss. They set a foundation for my thinking, theology and practice from that point on, opening up avenues of thought which I had never considered previously, and gave me a stunning insight into new ways (or old ways!) to present and portray the loveliness of Christ. Thanks to these lectures, I have gained a greater respect and understanding of brothers and sisters in Christ who lived many hundreds of years before me. These believers of the past have refreshed my soul in Christ on many occasions.
Ben, part-time BA student and church planter, Camarthen
I perhaps shouldn’t have been surprised, but what’s continually struck me is the warmth of the community. Studying here isn’t simply an opportunity to study the scriptures and understand theology and ministry better, it’s also an opportunity to be refreshed personally and spiritually. I’m used to the American academic style where you address lecturers as professors (even in a seminary!) and where there’s often a clear distinction between faculty and students, but here I’ve found that you get to know lecturers as brothers and sisters in Christ on a first name basis. It’s been so encouraging to not only learn from them as scholars, but also as friends in their homes and through the daily worship and prayer meetings.
David S, MTh student, Macedonia
I was looking for somewhere to continue my studies while based abroad. Union gave me the flexibility to travel to campus for intensive teaching weeks whilst still studying from home. I've enjoyed the rigorous ‘meat’ of the academics along with the insights you get from studying alongside a mix of fellow students.
David C, MTh student, Hungary
Doing exams for the first time since 1984 was challenging to say the least! I have really enjoyed the fellowship of the learning community itself week by week in Cambridge and also in Wales when I came for the initial conference and also for the Christmas exams. I have learned much, but also my heart has been warmed as I’ve studied and pondered in detail things I thought I knew but discovered I didn’t - I’ll never think of the incarnation the same way again!
Richard, GDip student, Kings Lynn