Sunday, 22 June 2014

Wesley Study Centre - past, present and future

Last Wednesday evening (June 18th) I went to the leaving service for the final cohort of students for ordained ministry from the Wesley Study Centre in Durham. Afterwards we had a lovely meal in the undercroft in Durham Cathedral - a great setting! Please pray for all those going into circuit appointments in September as they move on from the community in which they have been trained and where formation for ordained ministry has begun.
Leavers - Helen, Steve, Suzie and Tim all candidated from the Darlington District
I have visited the Wesley Study Centre twice during my year as President. On March 12th, I spent a day in Durham which began with a conversation with the Director, Calvin Samuel and the other teaching staff - Jocelyn Bryan and Andrew Lunn.

The Wesley Study Centre has always worked in close partnership with Cranmer Hall, (the Anglican training institution), the University of Durham and the Cathedral. I met with representatives from all these places and we had a fascinating and stimulating cross-disciplinary conversation together around the relationships between academia and the church.

In the afternoon I met with the Cranmer Hall and Wesley Study Centre students to share reflections on women in leadership.
After the session with the students, I went with Calvin to meet the Vice-Chancellor of Durham University. He spoke of the importance and high value to the university of links with the church, this is a relationship that thrives in Durham.

My second visit took place on June 17th when I was invited to take part in one of the sessions of a conference with the theme 'Formation for the Future', arranged by the Wesley Study Centre and held in St John's College, Durham. This was the second day of what had clearly been an excellent conference with contributions from a wide range of scholars and practitioners. Unfortunately I was unable to attend most of the conference because of other commitments but I arrived towards the end to take part as one of a panel.

After lunch many of us went to Elvet Methodist Church where we were joined by others for a service of thanksgiving for the work of the Wesley Study Centre in which I had been invited to preach.
Music was provided by some of the very talented musicians among the students and the liturgy enabled us to give thanks, to acknowledge sadness at ending and to look forward to the future of the Wesley Study Centre as it moves into a new phase within St John's College.

Candles were lit to represent past, present and future. As we looked towards the future, the Chair of the Wesley Study Centre Committee, Professor Peter Howdle, commended the continuing work and witness of the Centre to St John's College.

This was a service which included sadness, thanksgiving and hope for the future, it was a privilege to be part of it as President and as Chair of the Darlington District.

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