The upward trend in applications to Plater College, Oxford, the Catholic Workers' College continued last year with a significant increase in the number of older people following the college courses.
Forty-eight students, nine of them from overseas, started courses last year. Eleven of these were 46 years of age or older, and according to the college's annual report the increase in the number of older students may well be due to a desire among the middleaged to take a "sabbatical".
More laywomen are also now applying for the college's Parish Visitors' Course, which was originally designed for nuns. The student body now shows a more even balance between the sexes.
Last year, out of a total of 85 students, 51 were men and 34 women. In the first year the balance was almost exact, with 25 men and 23 women.
Plater College offers courses leading to the Oxford University Special Diploma in Social Studies, the Oxford University Diploma in Public and Social Administration as well as college diplomas in Theology and Social Studies and in Social Studies for Parish Visitors.
Patriarch Shenouda Ill, the head of the Coptic Church will arrive in London this weekend. He will consecrate a Coptic Church in London and will visit Archbishop Bruno Heim, the Apostolic Delegate and Dr Coggan the Archbishop of Canterbury.
There are about 1,300,000 Coptic Christians in the world. They are the descendents of the 1st century Egyptians who were converted to Christianity. They broke away from the Church after the Council of Chalcedon condemned the monophysite heresy in 45 IAD.