The following four courses are embedded into the weekly rhythms of Act Five. Beyond the classroom, students learn together around dining room tables, at the edge of riverbeds, around the campfire, in coffee shops, church sanctuaries and on the farm. Each course is equivalent to a first-year university level 3-credit course and is accepted as transfer credit at participating academic institutions.
*A full year course
This course is taught by Act Five director, Jon Berends, and it explores the unfolding of the biblical story. The course begins with a study of creation at Russet House Farm with Bible Scholars, Sylvia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh and goes all the way through the end of the story, with our final hope of the New Creation. Over the course of the full year, students learn to see God’s character and mission of homemaking through the Big Story and come to wrestle with their own place in this Story. Students think through their own perspectives on scripture, learn to read well and chew on scripture, and hopefully encounter God in new ways, all in the midst of the many competing worldviews from the world around us.
*A first term course
Wendell Berry writes of “[going] to wilderness places to be restored, to be instructed in the natural economies of fertility and healing, to admire what we cannot make.” This course is highly experiential and invites a new way of learning, beginning in the wilderness of Temagami, followed by a month spent digging into life in Hamilton, and finally time spent learning from and alongside Indigenous communities in Canada, both locally and on Manitoulin Island. Students learn everything from practices of paying attention, gardening, canoeing, and First Nations beading, along with why it matters that we care about where we live as Christians.
*A full year course
Humans change their minds, repent and are inspired when their hearts are touched by stories. Throughout the year, students will hear many different stories of people working out their faith, wrestling with God and seeking to follow Jesus along the way. This course invites students to consider their rhythms of life and the possibilities for living their days faithfully in the future. This is a course that celebrates the diversity of the body of Christ and the role imagination plays in expanding our capacity for empathy and compassion.
*A second term course
In term two, after learning more of their core values, strengths and interests, students step into the community to work in local businesses, non-profits, the trades and other organizations. This experience is designed to give students an opportunity to further engage in the city, gain experience working alongside Christians committed to the work of restoration, and consider post-secondary career and education pathways. Students will apply to their placements during term one, honing their interview and resume-building skills for future endeavours.