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Welcome to the 2018 College Record. The coming pages tell of the many exciting things that have taken place at St John’s in 2018. In addition to the usual cycle of the academic year and College traditions that many of our alumni remember so well, we have enjoyed a royal visit and celebrations for Cranmer Hall’s Diamond Jubilee. In January we travelled to London for an alumni gathering and look forward to hosting reunions in Durham in September 2019. If you’d like to update your contact details or change your preferences, please get in touch with the Alumni Office. Sally Hewett, Alumni & Development Officer



- johns.alumni@ durham.ac.uk - 0191 334 3119 - www.dur.ac.uk/stjohns.college


A Letter from the Principal Meet the Senior Tutor A Royal Visit A Year in College

4 5 6 8

Warden’s Reflections Meet Emma Diamond Jubilee CCR Report Jubilee Sermon Holy Land Germany Baptist Ministry Placement at Oxclose Cathrine’s Reflections Improving the Riverbanks Memories of Cranmer Hall

10 12 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

SJCR Report MCR Report SCR Report Sports & Societies Football Boat Club JMS Report Chapel Choir Student Sportswriter of the Year Goodbye from the Chaplain Student Achievements

26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36

The Cundy Christian Unity Lecture Borderlands Visiting Fellows Book Review Leech Fellowship Research Symposium Academic Activity

38 40 42 43 43 44 45

5 Year Reunion SJS Report Once a Johnian, Always a Johnian John’s Eagles CEO Sleepout Obituaries Marriages & Births Where are they now? Stay in Touch & Dates for 2019

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The Revd Prof David Wilkinson Principal

Having been away on study leave for virtually all of the summer, this is a difficult letter to write. I am slowly getting back into knowing just how many students got firsts in their summer exams, the excellent recruitment of Cranmer ordinands, the progress on the Learning Resource Centre and some of the staff changes. But there are a few things to say. First, what a gift study leave is. There are few professions which give the privilege of time way from the normal rhythm of work. I am grateful to the College for time to write, to think and to relax. I worked on a couple of books, wrote up a couple of papers and read for the fun of it. I did some teaching and visited institutions and churches in the US, Canada, Costa Rico and Singapore provoking lots of ideas and thoughts for the future. And I played golf which I have not done seriously since I was a teenager! Alongside this I continued some fund-raising for the LRC, which was fruitful for the both the short-term and for the longer term for the College. Second, I am impressed with our senior team of College Officers, many of whom have joined us recently. In fact, while I was away not only did they cover all my work, they did a number of things which I hadn’t planned to do! Angela Cook holds our finance and administration alongside many of the other details that make this place tick. Our newly appointed Senior Tutor, Dr Rebecca Bouveng has brought a wide experience of Durham colleges and an international vision which has already transformed work in support, resilience, leadership and exchanges. The Revd Dr Philip Plyming has navigated the choppy waters that theological colleges face when Wardens change and has enriched the spiritual life of the whole College. Dr Anne Allen, as Deputy Principal and for my time away Acting Principal, has led with enthusiasm, expertise and endless patience – not least in keeping the LRC on track despite trees and the Bailey being intermittently closed. Of course 4

A Letter from the Principal

their work is supported and enabled by dedicated and imaginative staff. Few other institutions could have hosted an extensive celebration of Cranmer Hall’s sixtieth anniversary and less than 24 hours later be ready to welcome over 150 new freshers. Third, being away is a reminder that this College is all about students and it was wonderful to arrive back in College at the same time as new postgrads, international students, undergrads and various types of Cranmer students. It is as if the College begins to breathe and live when students arrive, and we look forward to another exciting year. Fourth, on my travels over the summer it has been a joy to encounter alumni in lots of different places and contexts. The sense of thankfulness for their time at John’s has been the constant theme, coupled with a real interest in how the College is doing. This has been a reminder of being part of a large fellowship throughout the world which is making a difference in making the world a better place. In the pages of this year’s College Record you will see all the things that I have briefly mentioned developed in stories and visuals. Indeed, I am looking forward to reading it myself just to see what really did go on while I was absent!


Dr Rebecca Bouveng Senior Tutor

Hej! I’m Rebecca, and I’ve been in the Senior Tutor post since December 2017. I’ve been a Johnian for much, much longer though – I arrived to North Shields by ferry from Sweden as a rosy-cheeked Fresher a year when some of today’s Freshers may or may not have been born. Since then, I’ve experienced the College from various perspectives: as a PhD student living out, a postdoc researcher, and now, quite a few years later, as Senior Tutor. But I’ve also worked in many other places in between, both inside and outside Durham University, and I can say with some confidence that John’s is by far the friendliest and most welcoming workplace I’ve ever known. Apart from all the traditional ingredients of the Senior Tutor role, I enjoy working on media and communications – for example this summer’s redesign of our College website together with our Alumni & Development Officer Sally. This

coming year I look forward to supporting talented film-makers, writers and photographers among our students to create new stories and imageries of St John’s and what it means to be a Johnian. My research interests are quite broad – in my PhD I studied Russian identity politics and the idea of messianism; I’ve done postdoc research on the science vs. faith discourses in society and how Christian leaders negotiate these; I’ve taught international relations and a bit of Cold War history; and am now working on projects relating to the idea and practice of global citizenship. Generally, I’m interested in the politics of everyday life: from power dynamics in work meetings (e.g. why some people always get much more talk-time than others); to how and why some stories win over others when it comes to define a country, organisation or indeed a College. I’m passionate about creating spaces where people who think very differently from one another can meet for honest and humble dialogue instead of polarised debates. Universities, and indeed College, should be exactly this kind of space, and I look forward to working with students to make John’s a diverse, intellectually stimulating as well as fun and welcoming home away from home.

Matariki Global Citizenship Programme In addition to being Senior Tutor at St John’s, I’m the University’s Academic Liaison for Global Citizenship and the Matariki Global Citizenship Programme, with Durham together with Uppsala in Sweden, Tübingen in Germany, Queen’s in Canada, Dartmouth in the US, Otago in New Zealand, and University of Western Australia. The Programme is an umbrella for a variety of multi-institutional activities in education, research and engagement around global citizenship. • Exchange between Durham colleges and Uppsala University ‘nations’ • Funded opportunities for students to visit Matariki partner universities to explore and contribute to global citizenship • St John’s host of the 2nd Annual Matariki Global Citizenship Forum 8-11 July 2018, on Empowering Learners. Find out more at www.matarikiglobalcitizen.org

Meet the Senior Tutor


A ROYAL VISIT We were delighted to welcome His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to St John’s College on Thursday 15th February 2018. The Prince first visited the Chapel of St Mary the Less, where he met College representatives and saw the memorial stone of his ancestor, Dame Elizabeth Bowes.

Among the students who met HRH in the Chapel was Pouya Heidari. Pouya told the Prince of his experience in the underground church in Iran and his arriving in the UK in 2009. He said ‘I was delighted to meet Prince Charles. He was pleased to know that I could live and train in a safe place as a Christian.’

St John’s College occupies a range of historic buildings including the former home of the Bowes Family from whom the Royal Family is descended. Elizabeth Blakiston Bowes and her daughters Jane and Elizabeth lived here in the 17th and 18th centuries. They are buried in the College chapel of St Mary the Less.

Craig Bentley was serving in the RAF before training for ministry at Cranmer Hall. He said, ‘It was such a pleasure to meet His Royal Highness and get to discuss the training that I’m undertaking at Cranmer Hall. He asked about my military experience and was interested to know how my military experience compared to studying at Cranmer Hall.’

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was descended from Elizabeth’s third son George. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales had a close relationship with his grandmother and was delighted to accept an invitation to visit the College to unveil a commemorative plaque on Bowes House.


A Royal Visit

After visiting the Chapel, Prince Charles met many current students and staff members on the Bailey, stopping to talk to them before walking along to Durham Cathedral for a day of visits in County Durham.

HRH The Prince of Wales is pictured meeting Cranmer Hall ordinand Craig Bentley and Warden Philip Plyming in the Chapel, and then leaving with Dr Anne Allen and the Revd Prof David Wilkinson.

HRH spoke to many members of the crowd including Olav, the College mascot. He is also pictured here with students and Anita Walker, who has been on the housekeeping team at St John’s since 2004.

After greeting the crowd, Prince Charles unveils a blue plaque at Bowes House, which is where his seven times great grandmother lived. A Royal Visit


A YEAR IN COLLEGE Dr Anne Allen Deputy Principal

In ‘acting up’ while David was on research leave I’ve been reflecting on the reassuring rhythm to life on the Bailey. While much is changing in the wider University – the termly and annual cycle of College activities continues in much the same way that alumni will remember. We are in Open Day season at the moment – we have been welcoming hundreds of prospective students, giving tours of College and trying to


convey a snapshot of College life. It’s hard to understand until you’ve lived it. Which things should we highlight? The Bailey Ball? John’s Day? The Raft Race? Sunday morning brunch? Formals? Socials in the College Bar? Rowing on the river? The Borderlands Lecture? John’s Chad’s Day? Matriculation and Graduation ceremonies? These things are part of the College’s Cultural History and are handed on from one generation of students to the next.

University Matriculation

Bailey Ball

Brunch in Haughton

John’s Chad’s Day

Weekly Formal Dinners

John’s Day Raft Race

University Congregation

John’s Day

Durham Regatta

A Year in College

It is this cultural history which makes the place (and the memories) as much as the buildings. As College Officers we are custodians of both. Living and working within a World Heritage site brings challenges. After what seems like a long time in planning and preparation we have seen the new Learning Resource Centre come out of the ground this year. The steelwork is now in place and the building is taking shape. The foundations took a little longer than we expected to complete. The groundworks were complicated by the discovery of a medieval well in the middle of the site. That’s a bit like finding a mine shaft – but we are assured that the engineering solution won’t see us disappearing down a hole! At one point the lime tree was going to come down, but the Tree Officer insisted we keep it, so again we had to find a safe method of working around it. The third obstacle has been the poor state (absence) of wall on the gable of the Parsonage once we’d removed the earth. That’s all fixed now and we’re in the happy position to begin choosing final finishes and furniture. We will be commissioning the building during the Easter vacation. We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of both alumni and trusts and foundations in support of this project. We’ve now raised over £3.5 million including cornerstone gifts from the legacy of George Pole and the Sir William Leech Charity (after whom the library will be named). In the last year we have had major grants from AllChurches Trust, Kirkby Laing Foundation, the Maurice & Hilda Laing Foundation and the Vardy Foundation. We recently received £54,000 from the Catherine Cookson Foundation and a further £43,000 from AllChurches Trust. This means that we can now fit out the building to meet the new University lecture capture policy with wifi throughout, recording and live streaming. Staff and students continued to fundraise. This year also saw us open the new College gym – Alan Usher’s ‘grand design’ and a valuable addition to the College facilities. We are turning our attention next to the Chapel of St Mary the Less. If you live near Durham and have time to give we are looking for volunteer stewards. We will be opening the chapel to the public weekdays during term time. We also participated in Heritage Open Days in September. The quinquennial report has highlighted work needed to repair stained glass windows and stonework, so we are running an appeal at https://localgiving.org/charity/st-johnscollege/project/chapelrestoration/

A recent picture of the Learning Resource Centre construction.

Martin Gibson, Student Support & Admissions Administrator, led a team of cyclists from Lindisfarne to Durham to fundraise for the LRC.

The gym has been fully equipped with new gym equiptment.

Have a virtual tour on YouTube by searching ‘Chapel of St Mary the Less Tour’.

A Year in College



The Revd Dr Philip Plyming Warden

I am generally someone who likes looking forward, but there have been a number of good reasons over the last few months to reflect and look back. First, there have been the preparations for Cranmer Hall’s Diamond Jubilee which have involved telling the story of the last 60 years -1300 ordinands not to mention many students from other churches and traditions. Second, I have come to the end of my first full year here as Warden which is a natural time to take stock and capture what I have learned over the past 12 months. Third, we have been working at the recommendations from the Periodic External Review which was undertaken by Ministry Division and Durham University in February/March this year. I realise inspections (as they used to be called) were sometimes very draining experiences, but this year we really valued the PER feedback, giving us much to be encouraged by as well as areas to continue to work on. In all this reflection, there are a number of enduring areas of Cranmer Hall’s life which gives me cause for great thanksgiving to God. First, the location of Cranmer Hall within Durham University and our strong links to the world-class Department of Theology and Religion are such a great blessing. The DThM programme, which we run jointly with the Department, goes from strength to strength, and the exchange of students across courses and modules (at BA and MA level) is something which I don’t see replicated elsewhere. All this means that as well as getting excellent teaching within Cranmer Hall, students can also be part of a wider academic environment which will sharpen their minds as they seek to know God better. I am unashamedly convinced that the need for good theology is greater today than ever; indeed, the more urgent the mission, the more important the theology. Second, the quality of the staff at Cranmer Hall is what enables us to meet our call to train


Warden’s Reflections

women and men for serving Christ in the world. What really impresses me about the staff at Cranmer Hall – both those who have served for a long time and those who have arrived more recently – is their capacity not only to teach to such a high level but also offer wise tutorial support which helps students grow in Christ-like character. So while we were sad to see Kate Bruce move on after ten years at St John’s College, it has been great to welcome Emma Parker as Deputy Warden and I know she is going to be a great blessing to our college community. Likewise, Sarah Strand stepped into the gap left by Helen Thorp with great wisdom and grace. I thank God for all my colleagues at Cranmer Hall. Third, the special group of people that make up the Cranmer Hall community has been and remains a source of blessing and life. Cranmer Hall has always had a dual vocation, to be both rooted in an evangelical tradition and open to all from across the Church of England and beyond. The resulting diversity in our community is both a strength and an opportunity, enabling people to learn from one another across difference in a prayerful and supportive environment; this was certainly the case when I trained at Cranmer Hall and I am glad it remains so today. In terms of strengthening our diversity, I thank God that over recent years our Free Church Track has become fully embedded in the life of Crammer Hall. It has been so good to have future Baptist ministers training at Cranmer Hall together with students from other local churches. And we are still hopeful that the Wesley Study Centre will welcome a few student ministers back to train before too long. Fourth, the location of Cranmer Hall in the North East is a blessing we can easily forget. Coming back to Durham after 16 years away I have been struck afresh by what a wonderful part of the world it is to live in – with amazing countryside on your doorstep together with great

cities and friendly communities. One of Cranmer Hall’s strengths over the years has been the range of placements we offer across the North-East; it is obviously an area not without significant challenge but the people make it just the best place to live, serve and train. Looking forward, I see Cranmer Hall’s future as continuing to build on these strengths and ensuring that we are well-placed to remain a provider of outstanding theological training and formation for the Church of England and beyond. While there is ongoing flux in both the higher-education and TEI sector, we remain convinced that residential training provides the best possible context for theological learning and formation that will feed a lifetime of service and mission. The new Learning Resource Centre is a physical sign of the commitment of St John’s College to the value of theological study and learning for years to come. For this reason we are encouraged not only by the 30 ordinands joining us this autumn, making us once again one of the largest residential theological colleges in the country, but also by a new Mixed-Mode Pathway that we are planning to start in September 2019. This pathway has been designed in partnership with the Diocese of Durham, together with other local dioceses, and is designed to give students who want to train in one of the Resourcing Churches

being launched in the North-East an experience of residential training while living and serving in a local church. Students will be in college up to three days a week and in context the rest of the time. We are seeking approval from Ministry Division for some really creative and innovative ways of enabling people to learn in context as well as in college. While full-time residential training will always be our core vocation at Cranmer Hall, we are excited about the possibility of opening up the residential experience to a new group of students. On a personal level, a real highlight for me over the past year, as well as teaching leadership and New Testament, was leading the pilgrimage to the Holy Land in June. It was my fifth visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories but my first with ordinands, and I was thrilled to see the impact on the students as they engaged with the historical and contemporary place of Jesus’ life and ministry. We will definitely be making it part of our annual programme from now on. So as we give thanks to God for 60 years of Cranmer Hall, I thank God personally for the privilege of serving as Warden of Cranmer Hall, and pray that God will continue to bless us so that women and men are equipped to lead and serve God’s mission in the world.

Warden’s Reflections


MEET EMMA Firstly, tell us a bit about your life before becoming Deputy Warden of Cranmer Hall. I was born and bred in Sunderland and I’m married to James. We have a little girl just over a year old called Sophie. I trained for ministry at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, but I don’t know if I should mention that! When I was a teenager I always wanted to be a doctor and go out to Africa and be involved in medicine there. But I then did a placement in a hospital and had a real sense that it wasn’t meant for me; so eventually I went to Sheffield to study Physiotherapy and found myself travelling to Tanzania during the summer. At this time my own faith really grew and so did the excitement about working in the church and making a difference in the world. I fought against changing to study theology for a while but eventually gave in and found myself up in Durham as an undergraduate. I became addicted to studying Theology and got really involved in St Nic’s Church in the Market Place, from doing the photocopying and cleaning the toilets to preaching and co-leading one of the children’s groups! After I gained a Masters in Theology, I went to the copper-mining belt in Zambia as a Church Mission Society partner – here I taught alongside two other teachers training ordinands in the Anglican seminary, and I worked with the Mothers’ Union across the country in their amazing work to combat domestic violence and to care for survivors of abuse. Following this, I

The Revd Emma Parker Deputy Warden

returned to the UK to complete my own ordination training, and then was ordained in Durham Cathedral in 2009. I served my curacy in three rural parishes in Teesdale, two of which were pit villages and one of which was a farming community. I somehow found myself back in Africa, this time in Lesotho, as I had become a Trustee for the Durham-Lesotho LINK. I saw first-hand the amazing work that this partnership stimulates and was really moved by the depth of poverty but also the depth of generosity and grace I found there. About six years ago, I moved to Easington and Easington Colliery and became the Priest-in-charge of two churches; whilst here I started to do a part-time PhD (in my spare time!) and found myself invited into Cranmer a few times to help out with some of the teaching and conferences. You’re studying alongside this role. What was the inspiration for your PhD? About 8 years ago I was in a discussion about women and the episcopate, and one person to the right of me said ‘I dread to think what the outside world thinks of us when they see us like this’, and another person tutted and said, ‘it shouldn’t matter what the outside world thinks; we should be able to do our theology and make decisions without reference to the outside world…’. I knew immediately that Paul would say something different. I read the Pauline corpus again and realised that there is a deep concern about what ‘outsiders’ see, hear, interpret and think of the church, and that this concern challenges believers to modify their behaviour accordingly, impacting upon mission and worship. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced in parish ministry? The biggest challenge has been working in areas of great deprivation where there are very few resources in the church and in the community. You can have lots of wonderful ideas to enable growth and mission, or to address some of the issues of poverty, or to bring the community together, but unless you have adequate resources then these ideas can largely just stay on paper! The challenge is in persevering to


Meet Emma

plant seeds and faithfully water them and just wait to see which one might begin to grow! You’ve been involved in mission initiatives during your time in Easington. Can you tell us a bit more about those and what makes you so passionate about mission? I have to say that many of our mission initiatives were a complete flop! After about three years of trying to begin something new, I realised that I needed to spend more time praying in the streets of Easington. So I started doing intentional prayer walks around my parishes (often with my dogs!). I walked along every single street in our parishes, praying for the families that lived there, for the businesses, for the carers who visit the homes, for those who are dying and those who are moving, for the schools, and for the past memories of hurt and pain. I began to say the Lord’s Prayer on every corner. I sometimes did a prayer walk late at night. I realised that sometimes there is a depth of grief, pain and poverty that no amount of clever ideas or initiatives can address, but only through the power of prayer can we begin to see healing and hope. Whilst doing this, one summer I started ‘Messy Lunch’ as we realised that many of our children were missing meals in the summer holidays; one in three children live in poverty. The idea was to provide a lunchtime craft and include a free lunch, and I thought it might just dwindle after one or two weeks; but in the first week alone we had 80 people coming! It became so big that it was one of the largest, regular summer holiday groups in our area, and from this work many wonderful relationships were created with our families and parents. Many people said that they didn’t feel ‘good enough’ to go into church or talk to a vicar, and so through this holiday group we built up confidence, trust and value. By the end of it I had several young girls who wanted to be vicars!

that with God’s grace they can actually make a difference in this world. This is how I really came to faith – the realisation that God loved me, and because of this, that the world wasn’t just all about fate, that I wasn’t on a conveyor belt, that I didn’t have to be passive and an onlooker, but that God had a good plan for me and that with Him I could do something special. And I remember, at 16, thinking that if this is what God wanted for me, then he must want that for everyone because he doesn’t have favourites, and that this was my task – to let people know that God has a special plan for them. What are you looking forward to in your role in Cranmer? Where do I start?! Mainly I’m looking forward to working in a team to enable our students to figure out God’s special plan for them, to help train them to be the best that they can be, and of course I’m thrilled that I can do this in a place that is as passionate about the North East as I am!

Did you know? Emma features in our brand new video about the history of the college chapel which you can view on YouTube by typing ‘Chapel of St Mary the Less Tour’ in the search bar.

I’m passionate about mission because at the heart of mission is a desire for people to know how incredibly loved they are by God, to realise that God has a special task for each person, and

Meet Emma



Cranmer Hall was established in 1958, when St John’s College became two halls - John’s and Cranmer. The picture on the left is members of Cranmer Hall in 1958, and on the right 1960.

The Cranmer Hall Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in style with a black tie dinner, featuring live marimba music from Gerard Rundell (alumnus, 2015-18) and an after dinner speech by David Day.

Around 200 current students, alumni, staff and friends of Cranmer Hall gathered for a service of Thanksgiving at Durham Cathedral on 29th September 2018, followed by lunch in Leech Hall. 14

Diamond Jubilee

Claire Jones CCR President


Around the North East and beyond, our most recent Cranmer Hall graduates and curates are busy getting stuck into serving God and their communities. But how would you spot one? Trick question: you can’t! Cranmer has never been a place that churns out cookie-cutter Christian leaders, and our current crop is more eclectic than ever. The greatest joy in being part of the Cranmer community this year has been learning what it means to love one another with all our differences, united around Jesus Christ. As the individual faces change year on year, it’s our shared culture that remains – this year’s cohort have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into growing a culture of deep friendship, honest challenge and a lot of fun! The common room has been the place in which we’ve chewed over lectures, celebrated birthdays, and offered hospitality: in particular we enjoyed spending time with visiting fellow Richard Everett, who quickly became part of the furniture in Michaelmas term! Stemming from our desire to listen to and learn from one another as a community, we’ve started a series of student-led conversations on tricky topics, from which we’re already seeing great fruit in our deepening relationships. Outside the Bailey walls, Discipleship Groups have enjoyed sampling all of Durham’s top activities, from the trampoline park to the escape rooms. A good crowd got stuck into a riverside litter pick on a sunny May morning, and the sporting talents belonging to some of

our number have been displayed in college and university sports: rugby, cricket, hockey and athletics for starters. The heavy snow over the winter gave occasion for more extreme sports, as we took en masse to Durham’s hills, with sledges and snow scooters a-plenty. An artistically minded team also won first prize in the St John’s snow sculpture competition, building an impressive interpretation of Durham Cathedral from the snow. Further afield, Cranmer students have been involved in placements, faith-sharing weekends and mission study blocks which have taken us to Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam, Sydney and Sunderland, as well as Belgium and the Holy Land. It has been hugely exciting to see God at work all over the country and the world, and as we gather again in the autumn, we come with many stories to share of his goodness and grace. Our community seems to be ever growing, with four new babies added to our number (at the time of writing!) and two marriages over the summer too. We have felt the loss of Kate Bruce at Christmas, and have more recently said goodbye to Loraine Richardson and Andrew and Sarah Dunlop. We’ve been really glad to welcome Emma Parker and look forward to all she will contribute to the college leadership. It is a privilege to be part of St John’s College, and we look forward to continuing to grow our links with the John’s undergraduate and postgraduate communities over the year ahead, as we live and study together in this corner of the Bailey we call home.

CCR Report



The Rt Revd John Pritchard Warden of Cranmer Hall 1993-1996

THE GOD WHO HAS GIVEN FRUITFULNESS OVER 60 YEARS ‘You shall go out in joy and be led back in peace.’ So what’s in a number? Today’s number is obviously 60. It’s the speed limit on country roads. It’s the pension age for women until 2010. It’s the number of minutes in the unforgiving hour. It’s a diamond wedding anniversary. It’s the code for international calls to Malaysia. It’s the maximum number of marbles in Chinese Chequers. It’s the highest obtainable level in the game World of Warcraft. (OK – we’re getting a bit esoteric here) What’s in a number for us today on this occasion? Well, 60 years of God’s faithfulness and fruitfulness through the ministry of Cranmer Hall – and its stream of incredibly talented staff of course… (Just mentioning it). We could focus on the wonderful clergy and lay ministers who’ve poured out of Cranmer’s doors through the 60 years – we’ve sent out so many bishops recently it’s been embarrassing. And let’s claim it – an archbishop (we say with all modesty). But before we’ve sent them out, we’ve picked them up - those who God has called through his Church, sometimes in ways not altogether reassuring. When Frederick Temple was Bishop of Exeter at the end of the 19th century there were no such things as DDOs (Diocesan Director of Ordinands). Young hopefuls just came to see the bishop. And Frederick Temple’s favourite trick when interviewing them was, at some point, to fling himself down on the sofa and say to the unsuspecting young man ‘Pay me a sick visit.’ On one occasion he did this as usual, flung himself onto the sofa and said mournfully ‘Pay me a sick visit.’ At which point the potential ordinand put his hand on the bishop’s shoulder and said, ‘Drunk again, Frederick?’ Needless to say, he was accepted. We have DDOs now, of course, and they know clearly what they’re doing. They usually ask, in one 16

Jubilee Sermon

way or another, the obvious question: ‘So, tell me why you want to be ordained?’ At which point a friend of mine leant forward to the DDO and said solemnly, ‘It’s for the money.’ He was accepted too. But actually the answer to that question for most of us is more likely to have been that we’ve wanted to share the abundant life of God that we’ve experienced for ourselves, and that burns inside us. I was going to be a wealthy lawyer and was heading happily for the drinks circuit and the golf course when God said he had a better idea – why not offer everyone you can, that abundant life you’ve found in Jesus? ‘Good thinking,’ I said…… and went off to Ridley Hall. So sorry! Isaiah 55 gives us a wonderful picture of this abundance of God. ‘Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters..’ (I’ve never known anyone who actually said ‘ho’, apart from Father Christmas - but let’s leave that aside.) ‘Ho, you that have no money, come buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk - without money and without price.’ In other words, come, and you’ll find it’s all free! It’s all grace. Isaiah goes on: ‘Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear and come to me; listen so that you may live.’ In other words, come, and you’ll find abundance – rich food, indeed life itself. ‘See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you.’ Why? Because they smell abundance in the air. Do people smell abundance in our churches? Do they sense grace and freedom, and forgiveness and blessing, and justice and joy? If so they’ll be queuing up outside half an hour before the service. (Or, sadly, do they smell the stale air of repressive religion, of judgementalism, narrow-mindedness, where life-giving ideas are quietly strangled just before the Peace?) The issue we have to face isn’t scarcity, it’s abundance. Too much wine at Cana, too much life-giving water at the well, too much food for the

5000. Too much love for your neighbour alone, love your enemies too. Too much generosity to the late-comers in the vineyard, given just the same as the all-day labourers. Too much love for us to handle, in other words. So we crucified it. But then too much love to stay quiet in a grave – death simply fell apart in the face of such abundance. And at its best Cranmer Hall has sent out wave after wave of clergy and lay Christians to bear witness to, and to embody, that divine abundance. We’ve always been right up there with the best of theological thinking, of contextual training, of new, edgy ideas. (Edgy, I said, not dodgy). Our northern context has been a wonderful resource – and how many southern ordinands have come here to train and not wanted to leave? Our evangelical heart, combined with a wide welcome, has enriched the training experience no end, and prepared people for the real church, as it is. The nearness of this magnificent cathedral and Durham’s wonderful theology department has been a huge inspiration. It’s all gift, all abundance. And yes, we’ve made mistakes, all of us. I’ve made so many mistakes in ministry I sometimes think there should have been a public enquiry. But there have also been many shining moments in our ministries, haven’t there, those times when we’ve been carried along in the abundance of the Spirit and experienced the extravagant smile of God. Times when Jesus has been right alongside. Today is a day to recall those shining moments, to cherish them, and let them encourage us. I have a ‘Rainy Day File’ of letters and cards I’ve had from people when they’ve said I’ve done something helpful. It is of course a very thin file, but the idea is sound - remember the shining moments. ‘Hold fast to what is good.’

Our passage from Isaiah comes to a climax in the last verses where the prophet’s words take flight: ‘For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.’ Wonderful images. Literalists, give way! We’re seeing here Paradise Regained. And we’re hearing an invitation that, for us, comes from Jesus, the bearer of abundance, the key to the kingdom of plenty. ‘Come to the party,’ he says, ‘where the love of God flows like new wine. Come to the table where we all look into each other’s eyes without pretending, or needing to prove anything (it’s all grace). Come to the doors of possibility where light streams in from eternity. Come to the waters. ‘But this party isn’t just for you (he says). Come to the people who are struggling. Come to the people with sad faces and hard hearts. Come to the rich people who are afraid of the poor, and the poor people who are jealous of the rich. Come to the people who weep and the people who’ve forgotten how to weep. Come with all the love you can give.’ This is the gospel invitation we’ve been prepping, cooking and sharing at Cranmer Hall for 60 years, and taking out to the corners of the country, indeed of the world. I love to hear of Cranmer clergy thriving all over the vineyard, ministries bearing fruit from the fruitfulness of God, the trees of the field clapping their hands in pleasure. I couldn’t imagine a greater task, a deeper joy. I couldn’t imagine a more faithful, abundant God. Could you? We have been sent out in joy – and been led back in peace.

Jubilee Sermon



When final essays have been turned in, summer parties have finished and our leavers waved off into the sunset, the continuing ordinands at Cranmer Hall turn their attention to Mission Study Blocks (MSBs). This year, alongside options to visit the Diocese in Europe, or to get to grips with digital theology, a new MSB was added to the mix. And so, at 6am on 18 June, 26 ordinands, Baptists, undergraduates, spouses and staff jumped on a coach to head to the Holy Land. Following the shape of Jesus’ ministry, we first stayed in Galilee, walking on roads Jesus walked and praying on beaches Jesus knew. We read passages from the gospels and felt them come to life in the landscapes around us. Here, the incarnation – the startling idea that God became a specific man, in that specific place – struck us with fresh wonder. Walking at Caesarea Philippi, we heard Jesus’ question to his disciples: “Who do you say I am?” and answered by renewing our baptismal vows in the river water. From Galilee, we traced Mark’s gospel as Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem, experiencing on the way the intense heat of Wadi Qelt in the Judean desert. There were plenty of sites with religious significance to visit: among others the


Holy Land

Claire Jones CCR President

Shepherds’ Fields and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane, as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. But particularly moving was the time we spent seeing and learning about contemporary life in the West Bank from the Bethlehem Arab Rehabilitation Society, a Palestinian hospital that provides healthcare for all, particularly those with disabilities. Their inclusive vision stands as a powerful witness in a place so marked by division. Of course, there was a little time to relax too: swimming with the sunrise in the Sea of Galilee was a highlight, as was “Sultan Night” at our hotel in Jerusalem, an evening of festivities and dancing. In ancient churches, we burst into joyful song. On flat rooftops, we laughed together. Meal after incredible meal, we enjoyed fresh bread and hummus, chicken and rice, dates and golden honey, all served with generous hospitality. Undoubtedly for many of us, this first pilgrimage to the Holy Land will by no means be the last, as we seek to let these stirring experiences impact our discipleship and ministry now and in the years to come.

Liz Hollis Ordinand Since the Meissen agreement of 1991, the Church of England has been committed to working together with the Protestant Church in Germany for greater unity. But, even having studied German in a previous life, I began to realise how little I knew about our brothers and sisters in the German Church. It was therefore a very great privilege this year to be able to unearth my German language skills and learn more about the Lutheran church and its approaches to faith, life and theological study by travelling to Bavaria and spending a semester at the Lutheran Augustana Hochschule. Here, I’ve had the opportunity to study theology alongside German students, most of whom are hoping to become Lutheran pastors. The experience has been intercultural in many ways, as I have also met students here from Brazil, Norway, the USA and Tanzania. All have their own understanding of what it means to be Lutheran in their context. The Church of England and the Lutheran Church are, at the same time, unexpectedly similar and surprisingly different! The biggest culture shock has been the approach to theological study, with a very high value placed on theoretical and academic theology. Most of the students here study for 6, 7 or even 8 years, before taking a notoriously difficult exam at the very end. I have to say, I don’t envy them the final exam, but there is a sense here that no-one is in a hurry and that time can be taken to learn and to explore ideas. The experience is a lot less

GERMANY intensive than that of an Anglican ordinand, for whom time can sometimes feel like a much sought-after commodity! However, I am increasingly grateful for the way in which worship and learning at Cranmer are integrated and seem to flow into each other. Here, the separation of Church and State is apparent even at a theological college, where courses are required to have a certain level of detachment from the practice of faith. It has been a privilege to share some of the Anglican tradition with students here. This has ranged from helping to write an international communion service, to casual conversations in the kitchen. I have become increasingly aware of the diversity the Anglican Church enjoys, something which I think is a great strength. German friends are always amused, when they ask me what the Church of England thinks about something, that my answer almost always begins, ‘well, that depends who you ask…’! There have been many highlights here and many chances to get involved. These have ranged from helping to lead a discussion group in the local prison, to trying (unsuccessfully) to learn to play volleyball (a favourite pastime in these parts!) Perhaps the greatest highlight has been the warm welcome I have received and the friendships I have built. I hope that these will blossom in the future into even closer links between the Church at home and the Church in Germany.

Placement in Germany



Chris Friend Baptist Ministry trainee

Whilst Caroline and I had been considering training for Baptist ministry, in reality, living in north Northumberland with the nearest training college being based in Manchester, the logistics of this were unfeasible. However, the decision by Cranmer Hall in collaboration with Northern Baptist College (NBC) to effectively create a ‘hub’ in the north east opened up an opportunity that became very workable and, in 2016 we started training alongside five other colleagues as the first Baptist cohort attached to the Free Church Track led by the inspirational Andy Byers. Travelling into Durham has been made possible by fantastic train links from Alnmouth and the walk into College each day under the gaze of the magnificent Cathedral is always a good one come rain or shine. Two years in and the experience as you would expect has had its ups and downs. Without question, the teaching environment at Durham has been exceptional and this has been a real privilege for both of us as we’ve embarked on this academic process which, alongside the additional formational resources provided by NBC, has given us a very good and extensive foundation in training for ministry. We are being taught by lecturers who are both extremely well read and passionate about their subjects, a great combination. Whilst predominantly an Anglican training college, we have felt an authentic welcome extended to us by the Warden, staff and ordinands which has been much appreciated. Most modules are alongside our Anglican colleagues although there have been specific Free Church lectures such as the Missional Leadership Seminar which, with its range of


Baptist Ministry

guest speakers specific to the north east, has been contextually very relevant for us as pioneer ministers in training. Placement is an important aspect of our training and this currently involves: chaplaincy in the local high school, developing a missional community in a retirement complex as well as leading a team for Messy Church and an ecumenical Youth Cell, not to mention all the usual expectations of preaching, baptisms (of the full immersion type) and funerals at Alnwick Baptist Church. Necessarily, this means that we both have to be efficient with time management especially as in addition, Caroline works three days a week doing Safeguarding training and make sure that we honour our children, Euan (13) and Katie-Lou (11) during this training process with the focus being ‘family on a mission’. Travelling in on a daily basis brings its own challenges; we are on the fringes of college life and therefore it takes time to establish friendships. We were particularly aware of this during our first year and felt a little disconnected as a result. Thankfully, the second year has been much better as we’ve both sought to reach out to others training for ministry and in turn have seen others reaching out to us. Cranmer Hall is a broad church and it’s been important for us to understand the theology of others and, in the process, challenge what we believe and why. This has been a positive of training in a multi denominational setting. As we look ahead to our final year, we are really thankful for the opportunity to train at Cranmer, not only for the rich learning environment but also for the friendships we’ve made. We have a feeling of excitement, anticipation and reassurance that the north east has a vibrant evangelical theological training college which will hopefully continue to prepare men and women for ministry in an ecumenical setting for many years to come. Whilst we don’t know where we’ll be appointed to at this stage, we are nevertheless excited about what God has in store for us.

Matt Guilder Ordinand


I was handed a folder whilst eating my lunch… “this will be your term time placement”. I immediately googled Oxclose Church to try and find out some more information, I would learn from the Revd Canon Bob Hopper, which sounded very important and everyone seemed to know him too! I was greeted by Bob on arrival at Oxclose Church, he quickly assured me that I could just call him Bob and not his full title! He filled me in on the history of Oxclose Church - founded in the early 70’s to serve the villages of Oxclose, Blackfell, Ayton, and Lambton in Washington new town. Oxclose was originally an LEP (Anglican, Methodist,URC). The LEP had just been dissolved, and the average congregation was 20 – all aged 65+. Many people thought the church would close. But Bob was asked in September 2017 to start as interim minister. He believed that if we offered something ‘different’ and set out to different forms of Church, we could see growth. But this needed to be authentic not just attractional. From October 2017 - April 2018 we were part of some dramatic changes at Oxclose. The updating of worship style, reworking of their pastoral care, the updating of the church notice board and even proper coffee!

2017 & Café Church started in January 2018. Both have been hugely successful, people who had stopped coming to church or avoided it because it was dull or irrelevant to them, came and found a community. A community who love God and love others and are working hard to welcome and serve Oxclose and beyond. To give perspective in 2017 on Good Friday there was an attendance of 17, in 2018 over 100 of all ages! It was such a blessing to me to be part of the beginnings of this revival in Oxclose and its local community, Bob, having studied at St John’s College with Cranmer Hall, supported me to grow and learn in many ways. I have so many positives from my time at Oxclose and I am truly grateful. What started as a Google search and an awkward phone call turned into a life changing experience for my family and me. All four of us were welcomed and cared for! Oxclose has an exciting future - a story worth telling! A faithful group, taking a plunge into the unknown, stepping out and hoping that God was leading them in the right direction and seeing some amazing results. God is at work in Oxclose and the church. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

The two most exciting adventures were new projects: Messy Church which started October

Placement at Oxclose


CATHRINE’S REFLECTIONS There is nothing so special about holding your own passport. It will always have your own face, your own details and sometimes memories of places that you have travelled to before. It sounds obvious, yet not so obvious for someone who is expecting not only to receive their passport, but so eager to find out if the visa application had been successful. I remember the anxiety. Yet, looking back, what started off as a challenging journey has turned out to be an exciting experience. I came to Cranmer Hall from Zimbabwe. When people think about theological college, especially training for ordained ministry, it is easy to assume time is spent only talking about the Bible, attending worship services in the Chapel 24/7 and reading in the library. It’s true, in Cranmer we do all that and much more. Inside the walls of Cranmer and St John’s there is a community filled with laughter, tears and serving one another. This does not stay only inside our walls, it overflows into the world we are being prepared to go out full time and make an impact.

Cathrine Fungai Ngangira Ordinand

majority of the problems that young people are facing are the same. At the end we produced a document presented to Pope Francis during the Palm Sunday service at St Peter’s. This document contains the voice of the young people on the theme, which the Synod of Bishops met in October to discuss. Though it was a busy schedule, we had time to visit other exciting places including the scenic town of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence, which is now open to the public. Our visit was made more glamorous with the performance of His Royal Highness Prince Charles visited the College in February. I would never have pictured a young nun who won the 2014 Italy’s version of The Voice. It was a humbling opportunity to myself meeting a member of the royal family. I attend Vespers in the Sistine Chapel where realise it is a present that Cranmer had instore displays of Michelangelo paintings cover the for me. I may not remember every tiny little walls and the ceiling. detail of that day’s event but what I remember was the humility the Prince carried as he was There was no other better way of ending the introduced to us, and later when he met other Easter vacation than attending the Lambeth college students and staff. Conference Design Group meeting in Still celebrating my experience of meeting Prince preparation for the Lambeth Conference 2020. A time to sit and reflect on the here and now Charles, a month later I found myself among whilst also thinking of the future. I was the Ecumenical guests at the Roman Catholic appointed to be a part of the Lambeth Pre-Synodal meeting for Young People. The theme for the Synod meeting, Young people, the Conference Design Group after being the Youth delegate at the Anglican Consultative Council faith and vocational discernment, brought 300 2016. young people from all over the world to meet in Rome to discuss, reflect and share their My engagement and contributions in all these contextual experiences. Different themes and meetings were made possible by the support and needs were identified in relation to the young knowledge imparted in my time here in Cranmer people’s experiences in faith matters. We Hall and St John’s. discovered, though contexts may vary, that the


Cathrine’s Reflections


Tom King, Ordinand Liz Forbes, Bursar’s Office

Alongside the Cathedral, the riverbanks are one of Durham’s finest assets, used by visitors, residents and people who work in the City. St John’s has been working with the Cathedral and volunteers at Old Durham Gardens to do its bit to maintain the riverbanks for everyone to enjoy. We were blessed with fine weather for both days. On 14th May 2018 fifteen Cranmer Hall students took part in a litter clean-up on the Durham Bailey. The Cathedral, who look after the land along this stretch of the River Wear, identified three sites for cleaning: the North side of the Cathedral, the pathways on the Western half of the Bailey, and the ‘Old Orchard’ – the top of the slope between South Street and the drop down to the river.

In September College staff had a day out along the river to Old Durham Gardens, a reconstructed walled garden, which is open to the public and hosts musical evenings. The site is situated beyond Pelaw Wood College of St Hild and St Bede and opposite Maiden Castle. Over tea in the gazebo which looks over to the Cathedral, former Durham city architect Martin Roberts told us about the history of the site, its connections to Lord Londonderry and the archaeological excavations and restoration work which has been ongoing since the late 1980s. A groundforce team of some 18 members of staff tackled overgrown flowerbeds and box hedging, making a significant improvement, as well as enjoying a picnic and time out of the office.

Improving the Riverbanks


MEMORIES OF CRANMER HALL We remember our two years at Cranmer Hall as a time of genuine formation, where we were informed, reformed and transformed in the context of the most supportive, honest and joyful community we’ve ever belonged to. Our vocations are separate and unique, and have taken different paths, but we both treasure the gift of our training at Cranmer. There are plenty of ‘by the way’ highlights of those years: George rowing in a mixed Cranmer/ John’s four and winning their division in the Durham Regatta; Libby establishing weekly All age worship; baking continuous supplies of flapjack for daily tea and cake in the common room; the ‘Keep Tuesday Special’ campaign, especially the college bar after the weekly Tuesday night communion; the Duke Ellington Mass in the Cathedral; celebration meals in the Leech Hall surrounded by ‘more-than’ friends, and an abundance of humour, passion and fun. Those who taught us were exceptional, including the much missed Michael Vasey, Ian Cundy and Christopher Jones. Our external placements were life changing: in Durham Prison, County Psychiatric Hospital, Team Valley Family Centre, with husband and wife Rabbis in Maidenhead, and married joint incumbents in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The breadth of theological, spiritual and worshipping practice and conviction was

stimulating and energizing – and almost always courteous and constructive. November 11 1992, the day of the General Synod vote on the ordination of women to the priesthood coincided with a visit from J&M’s clerical outfitters, and we bought matching stoles in faith. They would only be worn ‘priest-wise’ by both of us – or not at all. We wear those stoles still in thanksgiving and hope. Cranmer Hall rooted us, and all we offer in ministry, through engagement in scripture, prayer and community, in the transforming invitation of Christ to come ever closer to Him and go ever further for Him. George and Libby Lane, 1991-1993

After a brief career as designer/draughtsman and an undistinguished national service in the army, but where I found Christ as Lord and Saviour I trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall. I did not really know what to expect but being trained by such godly men as John Hickinbotham, John Cockerton and Tim Yates had an immense input. I was ordained in 1967. Geoffrey Crees, 1965-1967


Memories of Cranmer Hall

Our first encounter was over one of the old bench dining tables in the Cranmer dining room (now the Bowes Dining Room) in October 1971. Margaret was into her second year, training to be what was romantically called in those days a “Parish Worker”. David was beginning the post-graduate “Durham Diploma” in preparation for ordination. There were about 50 men in Cranmer at that time, and about 15 women. As our relationship developed we tried to keep it to ourselves, though we suspect we were not entirely succesful in this! We both knew we were called to ministry, but not yet sure we were called to marriage. As a result we pursued parish appointments seperately, and ended up too far apart (we thought) to continue meeting. Until God intervened, that is, when a relation of Margaret’s got in touch and offered her a lift once a month, passing only a mile from David’s curacy flat on her way to visiting her sister! Margaret was committed to serving in her parish for at least two years, so we married in 1976 and served jointly in five parishes until

John’s Hall in1957. Claude is front row standing 12th from left.

John’s Hall in 1911. Claude’s father, 8th from left back row, was a also Johnian.

David’s retirement at the end of 2010. To round off the Cranmer connection, we came back to Durham at the beginning of December and stayed in the Senior Guest Room (just upstairs from our first encounter) to celebrate what we called our “half-millunium” - five hundred months of marriage. Durham, as one might expect, has always held a special place in our memories, but our “leading and serving” since has, through the blessing of the Lord’s continued guidance to us as a couple, been entirely in southern Dioceses. As a result return visits have been few. We have of course noticed a few changes over the years, including this time the gap across the road from St John’s College where Ian and Mair Bunting lived in our day. God has certainly been faithful to us, but we sense too he has been faithful to Cranmer and continues to prosper it while other colleges have been forced to close. David and Margaret Byrne, 1970-1973

I duly arrived in Durham at the beginning of October for the Freshers’ Conference. I much enjoyed the guided tour of the cathedral (surely the finest in the world) and the castle and also the outing to the Roman wall at Corbridge and Hexham, but I was overawed at the vast majority of the freshers, most of whom had just left school. I was soon to realise that the major drawback in coming to St John’s College for ordination training was that we were all mixed up with the undergraduates who were taking a wide variety of subjects. For most of us doing the postgraduate Diploma in Theology course, we needed some peace and serenity rather than the noise and exuberance of undergraduate life. The situation improved markedly in the second year when the Diploma course students were given seperate accommodation, including a Dining Hall and Common Room, with the creation of Cranmer Hall. This extract was taken from Canon Claude Rutter’s book ‘A Proper Rural Dean’. Claude Rutter, 1956-1958

Memories of Cranmer Hall


SJCR REPORT In my SJCR (St John’s Common Room) Report last year, I set out several aims I had for the Common Room over the coming year. The past year has been about ‘community’ for me – the physical community space of the Bailey Room, our place within the community of County Durham and the extended community of St John’s – those past and present. The Bailey Room has finally been updated! Lovely new chesterfields, a vending machine which no longer serves room temperature beverages and a long-awaited Honours Board showcasing the finest which the SJCR has to offer. While these all may seem to be minor improvements in the grand scheme of things, it’s great to see the effect they have had on the student body and how often the room has been used this year. Looking at the College’s place in the local community, after a year of a successful volunteering project with North Durham Academy in Stanley, the Community Outreach Programme has grown slowly and steadily. Two schemes will be ready for Freshers’ to contribute to as of October, with a partnership with Finchale Primary School newly forming. Community Outreach within John’s is something that I hope to read about in the College Record for years after I have left. On of the trickiest aspects of developing the Community Outreach Programme has been finding communities which would greatly benefit from volunteering support – my plan has always


SJCR Report

Jess Rackham SJCR President 2017-18

been for the Programme to expand further than volunteering in schools so that a whole array of different people and organisations could thrive. If anyone living in County Durham is reading this report and knows of a community that would appreciate student involvement then please get in touch. The third community I want to comment on is the extended John’s family. The John’s Eagles network does great work not only connecting students with those who can offer career advice but maintaining the connection that old Johnians’ have with College. In Janurary St John’s hosted an ‘After Work drinks’ event in London which brought together alumni who graduated both last year and forty-odd years ago. The event seemed to be a great success and I hope it continues next year (not only so I can go of course)! This was one of many events College hosted alongside the annual Old Boys and Girls weekend and the support provided to the Boat Club for the Head of the River event in London. It’s been a very rewarding year being President and I will miss John’s greatly but as I ended my speech for Leavers’ Formal at the end of Easter term – once you’re a Johnian, you’ll always be a Johnian. So, I’ll see you in November in Durham for Bailey Ball! P.S. John’s Toastie Bar has been resurrected!

Felix Hawlin MCR President 2017-18


It’s been yet another fantastic year for the Middle Common Room (MCR)! Thanks to the brilliant work of my predecessor Annie Skeat the common room was already in a strong position when I took over in Michaelmas term. I’m glad to say that we’ve managed to build on the successes of last year, continuing to make improvements to our facilities and running ever more elaborate and exciting events.

wine tasting to a pancake day party, livers-out brunches, tea parties, and regular film nights, we’ve enjoyed an incredible range of events. Particular thanks go to our academic affairs officer Matthew Hilborn who organised lively debates, information sessions for undergraduates, and ran our ‘Broaderlands’ lecture series, showcasing the fascinating research conducted by John’s postgraduates.

After the big revamp of the new kitchen in the postgraduate centre, this has been a year of more gentle renovations. Thanks to another generous donation from the St John’s Society we managed to buy some much-needed new desk chairs for the IT room. Along with this there was a brand-new television for the sitting room, which has already proven useful during our royal wedding and Eurovision viewing parties. We’ve also bought some new furniture, and over the summer the whole PG centre had a fresh coat of paint. All of this has helped to make our common room a better space than ever in which students can work, relax, and socialise.

On the more administrative side of common room life, we brought our constitution up to date, running a successful referendum after a great deal of student consultation and creating a document that is clearer and more inclusive than ever before. This is also the first year that we are operating a ‘caretaker exec’ over the summer to ensure the transition to next year is as smooth as possible. We will have a beautifully decorated common room, new members of our community, and it will be easier than ever to get involved – it seems that the future of the MCR is bright!

Speaking of socialising, there have been some truly wonderful events this year. We ran three fabulous formals, including perhaps our largest ever with our Masquerade formal in Epiphany term. From

To see what we get up to (and what we’ve already been up to), follow us on social media. We are on Twitter (@JohnsMCRDurham), Facebook (St John’s College Durham MCR), and Instagram (@ stjohns.mcr.durham).

MCR Report



This year was a good year for the SCR. Our regular order of events continued and a few new activities were added: Saturday brunches in college, an introductory formal for newer members, and a weekend on Lindisfarne. In my first year as SCR President I’ve enjoyed discovering the depth and strength of the SCR community. Our invited speakers brought us new knowledge: of pigments used in ancient inks, what it means to listen and a new appreciation for music, and about New Zealand’s wine. We shared experiences as a community, listening to the poetry of David Grieve (Hope in Dark Places) and the prose of Jo Cundy (Travelling Solo), and to the orations of Jim, Angela and John at another excellent Burns night. Some hardy souls also spent a weekend walking though melting snow on Lindisfarne. When David the Principal asked me if I would consider becoming President, I agreed to stand because I feel there is a great need by academics who are new to Durham for the supportive community that the College offers. Most young academics who arrive in Durham will be on short contracts of one or two years, and will have moved far from friends and family – often from a different country - to work here. Additionally, the isolated nature of much of the work is compounded by pressures to achieve targets to get one of the scarce permanent jobs. John’s is a warm community of staff and students, and the SCR provides a way for others who recognise their need for a community to be a part of it: members of the public, former students, or academics. In the new events, we have been trying to add to opportunities for others to find a place within the College. No-one


SCR Report

Dr Benedict Douglas SCR President

can, or will want to, go to everything, but I hope we can provide something for everyone. I am very grateful for the support of my fellow committee members, who have reached the end of their constitutional terms and are standing down this year. Pat Francis has put much hard work into organising the dinners which are the highlights of our year. I am very pleased she will continue to organise the Wednesday lunches that are at the heart of the SCR’s weekly life. Dorothy Cummings has done great work as the secretary, not least helping me learn how to chair meetings. I would also like to thank Diane Armstrong who kindly agreed to be co-opted onto the committee as membership secretary. Dorothy and Diane’s roles are being taken on by Susan Notess, a Resident Tutor within the College and Philosophy PhD student. Paul Jefferson, after spending a 6th year as treasurer, is also handing on the role of keeping our books in excellent order. He is handing over to Ed Spencer, a lawyer in Newcastle and husband of Jeanna our Assistant Senior Tutor. I hope that the committee next year can continue to provide the SCR that we all enjoy.

Ninian Schmeising-Barnes Sports & Societies Chair


What a year it has been for St John’s Sports and Societies, with John’s yet again proving itself to be small but mighty! To kick things off, we have the Football. In the year of England’s best Football World Cup campaign in most of our lifetimes, John’s struggled this season. The B Team fared the best, coming in mid-table, whilst both the A and C Team both narrowly avoiding relegation. The Women’s team managed to secure a place in the Premiership again next year. Moving on to Hockey, our Men’s Team came in at exactly the same point in the table as the previous year, 4th from bottom, safely out of relegation. Notable performances include beating Castle 5-0, not once but twice. For the newly promoted Women’s Team, again it was a battle against relegation, which prevailed, meaning they will remain in the Premiership for another year, and are excited to show they belong in this top division. John’s most successful sporting endeavour this year would undoubtedly be awarded to the Netball Club. This club has gone from strength to strength this year, losing only one match between both teams. Both teams are being promoted, meaning John’s now has a team in the Premiership for the first time in a very long time. In other sports, the Mixed Lacrosse team came in second in their division, beaten yet again, to the top sport in the premiership by Collingwood. The Ultimate Frisbee team fared well, with the As placing 4th in the premiership, and the Bs narrowly avoiding promotion by 1 point and coming in 3rd. The Badminton season was successful with a brand new team being formed

in the new mixed division. The Men’s Squash team came out top of the Premiership after an unbeaten season, only slightly dampened by their near defeat in the final of the Knock-Out Cup to Hild Bede. The highlight of summer sports must again be the Rounders Team. With the A Team coming in 2nd in their division, only losing to overall winners Grey A, and the B team winning their division, again only with one loss in hand. The interest in rounders this year was phenomenal and the captains report the winning technique is “aggressive running”. Finally, moving onto our wonderful societies, Cheese Soc continued to thrive, with its stock being depleted within half an hour of every bi-termly meeting, proving its popularity amongst the student population. Read more about Cheese Soc on the College blog! The Bailey Theatre Company had another successful year with three performances being put on throughout the year. One of which was the hugely successful production - Othello, which was sold out on two nights and highly acclaimed by reviewers. Finally in the post-exam season, John’s Sports and Societies continued to triumph. John’s Chad’s Day saw a nail biting day of sport, with John’s managing to come out on top due to some early and impressive victories in Rowing, Rounders and Squash. Chad’s then put in a battle to regain the trophy, however they were not successful, with John’s athleticism winning the Wilkinson-Cassidy Trophy once more, the score at 13-15!

Sports & Societies



Jack Hepworth SCR Member & Junior Visiting Fellow

some of my most valued friendships from all my Durham years. The match shirt I have recently retired is now decorated with signatures from the players I had the pleasure of playing alongside.

The five years I spent playing for St John’s College Football Club gave me some of the most treasured memories of my time in Durham. Yet mine was no conventionally glittering football career – far from it. Over the years, I played exclusively for the second and third team, 90 tortuous minutes in the first team back in 2012 being enough to convince me – and, most likely, anyone else involved – that it was not my level! In between, I had several fairly lengthy spells on the side-lines, through injury or temporary irritation with my own footballing shortcomings . But I also experienced two memorable promotions, silverware at the Festival of Sport in 2016, and some unforgettable matches along the way. We always seemed to relish playing David to a hill-college Goliath – a 4-3 Cup win from 3-0 down at half-time against a Collingwood team two divisions above us springs to mind. We had a happy knack of recovering from half-time deficits to win late on. These wins were habitually toasted in the Swan or the college bar, or occasionally both. When, after much consideration, I decided to give up eleven-a-side football in February 2018, it was a difficult decision to reach – although, I think, the correct one. ‘Retirement’ (!) has afforded me the headspace to reflect on so many of those remarkable games. It’s not so much the playing itself I miss first and foremost, but the anticipation of a fixture, the adrenalin rush on a match-day morning, and the camaraderie that surrounds it. Playing football consolidated



At its best, the football club encapsulated everything that was good about John’s. In 20162017, our women’s team and two of our three men’s teams all won promotion. But it wasn’t just the results which live long in the memory – although we did exceed expectations, year in, year out. It was the togetherness, the good spirit, and the collective will to win for the College and for one another which made it. Attending captains’ meetings, organising kit orders, planning and booking training sessions, heaving bulging kitbags around Durham – for the happy memories, it was all worth it. Through the two years I spent as club captain, I tried to watch every fixture our three teams played. It meant a lot of traipsing to and from Maiden Castle and the Racecourse, and a lot of time spent with a hoarse voice post-match. Today I am happiest on Tuesday evenings under the floodlights at Maiden Castle coaching our women’s team, a role I began in 2016. It is a pleasure to be involved with this group. They embody the spirit, competitiveness, and joie de vivre which I would always have associated with the best of John’s. We all learn from one another and enjoy ourselves along the way. What more could anyone ask from ‘retirement’?

Toby Lehain SJCBC Captain of Boats


The St John’s College Boat Club has had another great year of growth and development. Our women’s squad is firmly re-established after some turbulent years; our alumni association, The Regatta Blue Club, has continued to grow and we’ve reformed both our committee and constitution. More than that, we have had some fantastic racing, seen some wonderful novice development and created many new memories together. Our first term saw some of our best racing. Our new fresh-faced novices, keen as mustard, were nurtured by a team of willing coaches to become a fantastic group of athletes. At Rutherford head the Seniors showed that their coaching had not held them back, securing 3rd fastest college in both Men’s and Women’s VIIIs. Not to be outdone, SJCBC’s novices secured an overall victory at the intercollegiate Novice Cup, with consistent high performance across both genders. Such healthy performance across the club was unparalleled. Epiphany term saw our novices integrated straight into the senior squad with great success. Many of them completed their first head races on the Tyne, giving admirable performances in preparation for the Head of the River Races in London. For the first time in the Club’s history, we not only sent two Men’s VIIIs, but two Women’s VIIIs as well.

All crews had a great time and achieved results they were proud of, and we were extremely lucky to be joined by former Club Captain Peter Wake, on whose behalf we were fundraising earlier in the year. With Peter, his family, and David Wilkinson we named our first VIII in a ceremony that was the highlight of my year as Captain. Easter term was also a great success, among the valiant efforts of a number of crews from Men’s doubles to Women’s VIIIs, a particular highlight of the racing calendar were the Novice Men’s VIII winning their first regatta at Hexham. The joy of racing and winning was easy to see on the face of freshers whose first strokes I had instructed, and it was something that could not have been made possible without the work of so many dedicated people. Durham Regatta will always be a highlight for us, and it was great to be joined by so many former rowers, some old friends, some new. The continued success of the club would not be possible without the kindness and guidance of our alumni. The Regatta Blue Club continues to grow, and membership is free to anyone who has rowed for SJCBC at any level. For more information and to sign up, see our website: https://www.stjohnscollegeboatclub.com/ about.html Boat Club


JMS REPORT Over the past year, John’s Music Society (JMS) has grown as a society, creating higher standards of music and achieving higher attendances, at an increasing number of events. The JMS calendar opened with the Freshers’ Open Mic, setting an incredibly successful precedent for the open mic events to follow throughout the year. As much as the Bailey Room provides a cosy and intimate setting for the unplugged vibe of open mics, we are having to hold more of them in Leech Hall simply to accommodate audience members. In Michaelmas term we also had a Swinging Christmas event, which showcased Big Band in a series of jazzy Christmas tunes. College Choir also performed the iconic ‘Let it Go’, learning it in a record two rehearsals, highlighting the standard that College Choir is achieving. We have been working on our outreach and enjoyed providing music to accompany Bishop Auckland’s Christmas Fayre as well as singing carols in a local hospice closer to the end of Michaelmas term. College Choir represented JMS in the John’s College Carol service with around 40 members of the College singing the haunting Normandy melody of ‘Away in a Manger’ by heart. They also took on the challenge of singing a new piece by the chapel choir’s musical director, Peter Foggitt, which set challenging passages against both the organ and chapel choir. In the first few weeks of Epiphany we had our


JMS Report

Rosie Burgering JMS President

own jazz night and we were delightfully entertained by big band. They successfully pulled off a very ambitious and lengthy programme in only a couple of weeks worth of rehearsals. The whole Society’s focus moved swiftly onto preparations for JMS’s first musicals night. Every ensemble under JMS was involved from solos with piano, to small groups with a band, to full scale orchestra with solos and choruses. Over 10 musicals were respresented featuring many styles including Rent, Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar and Les Miserables. The evening was outstanding for both audience and performers. Special mentions must go to Andrew Dean and Sebastian Nickols, who spent hours collating the music, rehearsing and coordinating the event with me, and without whom the night wouldn’t have been possible. We opened Easter term with a new exec and a very chilled open mic. Rehearsals gave way to revision for exam season, the end of which was celebrated with a JMS BBQ. Unfortunately, the weather moved us inside, however the BBQs still grilled and the music played, showcasing the last of the year’s rehearsing. I am extremely excited to see what adventures JMS will go on this year and how we can continue to increase our musical standards. We are delighted to be welcoming a new Chamber Choir alongside College Choir this year for those who want to take their singing to the next level. The other ensemble leaders have been working with the exec on plans for their ensembles which will shape JMS for the coming year.


Peter Foggitt Chapel Choir Director

You never know quite how it’s going to go. Evensong at St John’s is led by a different ordinand each week, each of whom comes with their own style, and their own approach. One might have two-thirds of the BCP Litany (thirteen minutes) in place of the usual Five Prayers (three minutes); one might have composed a collect obliquely referencing John’s Day; one might insist they can’t sing, then prove themselves wrong (actually, this happens quite a lot). And then there’s the choir: about half of our Choral Scholars come from within the College, and the rest are drawn from across the University, which presents its own set of challenges. It may well be the case that one chorister is suddenly told that they must attend a pressing lecture on French cinema and another may be stuck in traffic at the end of a day of fieldwork. In spite of these conflicting commitments the choral sound just got better and better during the long organ-less weeks of the last term. It is a rare luxury for a director of music to be able to audition their own choir every year, and such a process affords an opportunity for singers to commit themselves anew, rather than being tied into a three-year scholarship. External engagements have included a concert at the generous invitation of Alasdair Jamison, quondam Director of Music, at his home church of Great Ouseburn, as well as services of Evensong at Durham, Ripon, and at York. Each host institution has immediately requested a return visit – which is clear testimony to the

quality of singing and presentation of this year’s Chapel Choir. I have particularly enjoyed the development in the standard of psalm-singing, and in polyphony: we have performed several significant works of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, including the Praetorius Magnificat quinti toni for two unequal choirs; in later repertoire, Bairstow’s magnificent Lord, thou hast been our refuge and Brahms’s Denn wir haben hie (from the Deutsches Requiem) stand out particularly. As well as the standard repertoire in English and Latin, we have given a number of first performances: Lizzy Hardy’s setting of the Aaronic Blessing was sung at the John’s Day Service in Durham Cathedral; Phoebe MacFarlane wrote In thee, O Lord for the St Cecilia’s Day observation; Rose Miranda Hall provided Lux aeterna for the Evensong after Remembrance Sunday; my friend William Petter’s setting of the Lord’s Prayer has made a number of appearances, and my own Te Deum has reared its eight-voiced spectre in services and in concert. It is with no small amount of regret that I am leaving St John’s at the end of this year, to take up a role at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The choir at St John’s is in excellent shape. I am immensely grateful to the several Cranmer students who have facilitated the running of the Chapel, as well as to Philip Plyming, and to our wonderful Chaplain, Susie Thorp (who is – and I say this with confidence – the only person I’d ever want to collaborate with in creating a dog-themed Evensong).

Chapel Choir



Jacob Whitehead Undergraduate

Whilst absent-mindedly scrolling through Twitter, a common occupation during the idle days of the Christmas holidays, a competition caught my eye. Named the David Welch Award, it was run by the Daily Telegraph to find the most promising student sportswriter in the UK, open to those between the ages of 16-25. On a whim, being a sporting tragic, and quite honestly looking for a way to fill the day, I resolved to enter. I had to write a Top 10, an op-ed, and a sporting report, one of which had to be about women’s sport. After a few days of thinking, I had my first two topics, writing about ‘Disappointing Sporting Farewells’ and the tragic case of the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team. The final subject was harder; I was keen to steer away from the easy option of reporting on a university match. Eventually I chose an old event, on the niche subject of climbing, about Alex Honnold’s first ascent of El Capitan, and wrote it in entirety one afternoon in the college library. Thinking I’d never hear anything back I submitted it to the competition, happy I at least had some pieces I could use to help get work experience in the future. Yet a few weeks later I was pleasantly to surprised to hear I’d made the shortlist of ten and was content enough with that accolade. Soon after that I received an email inviting me to the Sports Journalism Awards in Westminster, indicating I was one of the final three. Pretty groovy. I travelled down to London during the snowstorm, a pretty arduous journey, but luckily we know how luxurious and reliant the privatised East Coast Mainline is! At the ceremony I met the other two contenders, including Nick Friend, a Durham graduate (Hatfield, 2017). We were also sat amongst the judges, Ian Marshall, the editor of the


Student Sportswriter of the Year

Playfair Cricket Annual; Paul Hayward, the Chief Sportswriter for the Daily Telegraph; and Sue Mott, the founder of Mixed Zone. The glitterati of British sports writing were all present, such as the editors of all national newspapers, and names like Michael Atherton, Jake Humphries and Jim White. Jim Rosenthal presented the awards, which seemed strange, hearing a voice I’d grown up listening to on the television announce my name as the winner. At 19, apparently, I was the youngest winner in the award’s history, a massive honour. Suddenly I was on stage, Rosenthal handed me a mike, and I had to make an unprepared speech in front of five hundred journalists, one of the more intimidating experiences of my life! For a student who had never written a published sports article, it was pretty surreal. My phone contacts now look pretty weird, Mum is saved next to Mirror Sports Editor, which could lead to a few traumatic misdials! Over the summer I was hopping around a few papers working, and was excited to report on the World Cup and Wimbledon!

Rev Susie Thorp Chaplain


It is impossible to sum up the last five years, as my time as Chaplain draws to a close. (I am getting married and moving to the Midlands). As you will know one never really leaves St John’s. I first started coming to College as a young teenager, attending College Communion with my mum who worked at Cranmer Hall. I never realised that nearly 20 years later I would find myself working here, but one becomes part of the family - an extended family of staff, students and former members of the College. During my time here, I have met alumni in far flung places and they have always spoken with such warmth of the College and their time here, words I too can echo. The last year has been one of change, having been honoured during freshers week as ‘the number one reason we love John’s’, Millie sadly passed away in late February. Millie often featured in the Christmas Exec Panto, many of her outfits for which are pictured. Her last two weeks were incredible and showed the true colours of the College. She was given a lap of honour by Christine at formal, a special evensong (where attendees played spot the dog references on the servicesheet) and her death opened up countless conversations about death and grief, a rare thing among young people today. In brief, The Chapel Chapel has gone from strength to strength, under the short tenure of Peter Foggitt, visiting York, Durham and Ripon Cathedrals and astounding worshippers with the beauty and clarity of their psalm signing. Vocations continue to flourish within the College, and it has been a delight to write references for students leaving us to go into education, mission work as well as Ordination. So as I leave I want to give thanks to God for St John’s, its staff, its students, its alumni and the joy I have experienced each morning as I have driven into College. Goodbye from the Chaplain



Martin Gibson Student Support & Admissions Administrator

During the 2017-18 academic year, a number of St John’s College students achieved prestigious awards and successes from the University and beyond. Well done to all of these students for their achievements!


Anthropology student George Cowley and Erasmus student Eliott Mogenet both made it to the final of the Durham University Business School “Dragon’s Den” competition, two out of the six finalists. This proved to be an all-round success for John’s, as George and Elliott were awarded joint first prize. George Cowley, final year undergraduate anthropologist, had been running trials for his

music teaching business Band Blend during the holidays of the last two academic years. He has been teaching music for 10 years and hopes to revolutionise the accessibility of music for children ages 11- 17. With “Band Blend” he wants to give young people the opportunity to develop their performance skills, confidence, social skills, and their musical abilities, as he thinks the key to starting and sticking to an instrument is in performance. Eliott Mogenet impressed the Dragons with his business idea “Smart Prépa”. Eliott is a third year undergraduate student studying Sciences at Aix en Provence and Corporate Finance at Durham University Business School. His business launched two months ago and is focused on preparing school students for state exams.


Final year John’s student, Alice Merryweather, gained a first-class degree and won the prestigious 2018 Natural Sciences Prize, awarded annually by the Natural Sciences Board of Examiners to a graduating BSc student in Natural Sciences whose performance is outstanding. Alice also exhibited a poster around the topic of ‘Hyperspectral Imaging Systems Using Reflectance Spectroscopy’ at the Rising Stars Research Symposium in the Faculty of Science.

JOSEPHINE BUTLER RESEARCH FORUM Seven John’s students presented their research at the Josephine Butler Research Forum in April 2018. The multi-disciplinary forum was spread over two days and showcased both undergraduate and postgraduate speakers from Colleges and Departments across Durham University. Joseph Bullock, postgraduate, and


Student Achievements

Alexander Hibberts won awards for their contributions. Joseph won the long presentation award with his talk ‘Hey Google: Show Me a Llama’. Alexander gave a talk entitled ‘English Cathedral Architecture, 1660-1669’, which earned him the short presentation award.

TECTONIC STUDIES GROUP CONFERENCE Phoebe Sleath, Geology, presented her research titled “Remote image analysis of structures in the Precambrian basement off Northern Scotland and possible implication for Lewisian terrane models” in the form of a poster at the Tectonic Studies Group Conference in Plymouth, Janurary 2018. Her poster was highly commended and she was awarded runner up for the Sue Tregas Prize for Best Student Poster, this is all the more impressive as Phoebe was the only undergraduate presenting at the conference. Phoebe’s trip to the conference was part funded by the St John’s College Student Opportunities Fund.

VICE-CHANCELLOR’S SCHOLARSHIPS Eight St John’s College students won prestigious scholarships in October 2018. Four students won the Vice-Chancellor’s Academic Excellence Scholarship, one Johnian was awarded a Sport Scholarship, another a Music Scholarship and two received an Arts Scholarship. The recipients attended a celebration ceremony at Durham Castle.

UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE On Monday 27th August at 8.30pm on BBC2, two undergraduate Johnians represented Durham University on University Challenge. Siân Round studied English Literature, graduating in summer 2018, and Matthew Toynbee, who captained the team, is a third year -- student. The Durham team did brilliantly in the first round, winning with 360 points. We look forward to seeing how the team progress as the series continues!

Student Achievements



Francis Campbell

Professor Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, gave this year’s Cundy Christian Unity Lecture on ‘The Role of the University in Promoting Reconciliation in a Modern Society’. The following is extracted from that lecture. At this time in our history, domestic and international, we are aware how critical reconciliation is for our societies because of resurgent divisions or a growing populist mindset, which can put pressure on the space for reasoned and respectful debate. At various times and in different locations throughout history, the struggle to achieve reconciliation has been extended and tortuous, and we know it would be naïve to suppose that what has been achieved in society is entirely secure. Regression can occur. Reconciliation still needs to be promoted as much within the Christian family as within our broader society. It is my contention that universities have a role, perhaps even a unique role in not only providing the space, but also protecting and promoting the space where encounter can occur, including a meaningful encounter not just within Christianity, but between faiths and all beliefs. However, for that to happen, faith must be part of the discussion. It must be present, not exclusively so as perhaps would have happened in centuries past. It should not merely be tolerated or approached as a problem to be solved. It should be valued, not privileged, but indeed valued. St. John’s shows a proud tradition of such an encounter, built upon Christian foundations in the Anglican tradition and here in Durham University, with its history in a city with an environment rich in the Christian tradition. Our universities are not spaces of exclusion, but places of inclusion. There is a need and this College and indeed University can and must see its mission and purpose as building a civic


Cundy Lecture

society, which can overcome ethnic, social, national, and religious divisions. But not by discarding those divisions in the shape of some utopia or nihilist construct, but by ensuring those differences are welcomed, integrated, respected, valued and understood and seen in a broader civic ecology. How can our universities today assist reconciliation on campus, or in a wider society? Is there something additional required of a university with a faith ethos and identity? How should such a university engage? That distinctive Christian offer is about living a fulfilled life, rooted in the Gospel, and springing from the central truths of the human person and about forming people of virtue, sound judgment and character capable of living within society. That is our contribution to reconciliation in society. It is about having a regard for the needs of others and the common good – as part of the individual good; a sense of the obligations that must accompany rights if a political order is to survive; a notion of the natural law, the transcendent order that includes both duties to our community beyond our own ease and comfort, and our responsibilities to previous and future generations; and a long-standing intellectual tradition of the pursuit of universal and eternal truths. Contrary to the increasingly predominant view of education, which can often be reduced to merely acquiring personal knowledge, a Christian inspired education, properly bedded into Christian anthropology is about others. Such education helps to create what the humanist philosopher Jurgen Habermas calls ‘bonds of solidarity’ the very foundations on which our societies rest. Education, inspired by Christian thought and tradition, is a crucial element that society needs as one of many partners in the work it must do

to promote the common good. The goal of our educational institutions is to form the whole person, not just a part so that students will be equipped to engage in the broadest possible sense.

In the face of complexity or challenge, we cannot abandon all too easily that which has served us well in recent centuries and which we have arrived at often after painful and turbulent efforts for inclusion.

It is this emphasis on the ‘whole person’, this focus on who the human person is, that defines the Christian approach to education, and imbues it with such strength and depth.

So how do we avoid such a situation arising where the state in the western democratic tradition becomes illiberal? What role for education inspired by the Christian tradition? How do we not only ensure the continued vibrant presence in the educational space, but the inherent freedoms that go along with them? We do so by reaching beyond, by providing the service to society which can at times be absent. To reconcile, to build, to develop ties beyond the particular and by placing our institutions in the broader context and to remain faithful to the role we play in society and why that is so.

In contemporary culture there is an increasingly prominent voice which would suggest that they only way to deal with the growing religious complexity in our societies is through creating a more privatised form of religion. To push it out of the public sphere and into the private. This ideology would have society believe that competing absolutist claims by faiths should be rejected, but perhaps with one sole exception - that is the absolutist claim that a form of neutrality and objectivity can be achieved which overcomes particularity or partiality and that such a ‘notion’ should be the norm. Such an offer of a ‘level playing field’ one that claims to be neutral and fair and objective, can be seductive as we navigate the complexity of our culture and society. Decision makers will naturally struggle to navigate the diversity that is now a feature of modern societies. How do you build cohesive societies amidst such a growing diversity? Gone are the days of homogeneity when cohesion in society could rely on a common grammar. What role should faith play in our society and institutions and how should it contribute – through individual or collective action or both? I would suggest that our approach to faith and society, to the role of faith bodies in providing services, most notably education, is a product of a unique historical context and a philosophical tradition born out of that context. Our approach to faith bodies acting in society tells us something about our state and society. But we run the risk that if we do not know our tradition sufficiently well, and the particular context that gave birth to that tradition, then we might import a model which we think is similar or feasible, but is not a product of our particular cultural or historical context. That could lead to a rupture in the relationship between state and society, of which the faith dimension is a central element.

How do we ensure a vibrant pluralist space? We must retain conviction about the offer of our institutions and their purpose and contribution to society and not accept that a particular expression somehow impedes encounter or a contribution to the broader good. We must avoid the temptations to be complacent about the future of such an educational offer or smug about its achievements or even to retreat when we get a robust challenge. Pope Francis said ‘do not withdraw from the world but be active, like leaven in dough’. But we must remain vigilant on the need to continually integrate the ethos with the prevailing educational philosophy so that all will be reminded of the broader goals of an education inspired by the Christian tradition. Retaining that integration requires constant attention. Getting the balance right all the time is not always easy, especially with pressures from within a professional educational culture that rightly demands ever more inputs and data to be able to measure impact and value for money. But the university, which is faithful to its particular identity needs to be as attentive to its ethos as it is to the essential professional metrics; otherwise, it runs the risk of cutting itself off from its roots and hence its distinctive offer or to borrow a Habermas phrase – of drying up! To succeed in re-embedding our particular educational offer in the public square we must also set the argument in its broadest context and to show that it is not just about the particular or privilege, or even history, but it goes much broader than that and touches the very notion of

Cundy Lecture


freedom within our society. Within that context, faith-based educational institutions should always make a distinctive offering to the society which complements other providers in the educational space. Of course to operate a hybrid model, inspired by a faith tradition and operating in the public square will prove challenging along the way. Complexity usually is. But engagement and participation are always preferable to isolation and marginalisation both for state and faith, individuals and groups, provided one does not lose independence or distinctiveness to the other. We should always believe that the opportunities to serve the common good and society are much stronger than the challenges and that even the challenges will help us to remain agile, and to refresh our offer and reacquaint ourselves with our intellectual tradition of why things are as they are.

The relationship between faith and education is as old as culture itself. It touches the foundations of our civilizations, and today in our country it is the bedrock of many of our excellent universities. We can have a flourishing faith-based educational system because of the pluralism we currently enjoy, and that pluralism is born from a time and an experience when our country and its nations lacked pluralism and opted for uniformity of belief and perspective. We must never be complacent about our pluralism, and we must protect and promote it with intellectual rigour because of the broader freedoms it supports in society, and one of those central freedoms is the offer of an educational system inspired by a faith-tradition. That offer helps to keep our societies pluralist and open, and that is in all our interests and is the most significant contribution that our respective institutions can make to the common good and reconciliation in our society.


On Wednesday October 25th 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual Borderlands Lecture hosted by The Hon Mrs. Justice Cheema – Grubb DBE. A reputed member of the legal community, Dame Bobbie is one of three women to ever achieve the rank of Senior Treasury Counsel. Additionally, she was appointed to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in 2015. Her multiple contributions to the justice system made for a highly anticipated lecture regarding the relationship between remorse and its impact on sentencing. Remorse is defined in the Oxford English



Tara Munshani Undergraduate

Dictionary as a feeling of compunction for a wrong committed. It is not defined in any statute; however, it is referred to in most sentencing guidelines. It can be distinguished from guilt, shame and regret. Guilt is a transient often trivial concept which embodies the fear of consequence particularly for oneself. Shame measures against an ethical standard and stigmatizes us against failure. Recurring remorse reflects on the nature of what has been committed and has an intention to not repeat said action. Dame Bobbie posits that while what is done cannot be undone, the concept of remorse is not foundationally unimportant. Moreover,

remorse is relevant to sentencing as punishment is not the only purpose. Remorse is a forward-looking aim of sentencing regardless of the fact it is entwined in past actions. While developing remorse is significant to the way prisoners are dealt with within the criminal justice system the concept itself is inherently vague. It is a sliding scale dependent entirely on the discretion of the judge and therefore nebulous on how it should be interpreted. We frequently assume that judges can impose whatever punishment they see fit, however, in reality sentencing is a far more complex exercise. A judge must engage intellectual reasoning, a vast knowledge of the law, and a dispassionate understanding of human beings to be able to accurately evaluate a situation and mete out a suitable sentence. Furthermore, lack of research and literary evidence beg the question, is remorse evidence of likelihood of deterrence for further criminal conduct? Additionally, one wonders whether advocates in court accurately capture the emotion of remorse in a guilty plea? If so, how can a jury differentiate between genuine remorse and a manipulative offender who simulates repentance to receive undue credit? Interestingly, it is nearly unheard of for a defendant to be cross examined for what he is remorseful for. Consequently, true deep remorse often only emerges after sentencing when an offender has time to reflect and regret. Unfortunately, by then it is too late. Dame Bobbie used the Quranic story of Cain and Abel to further illustrate this unfortunate paradigm. Torn with jealousy, Cain slays his brother in cold blood. Allah sends a crow who begins digging Abel’s grave. Cain is overcome with remorse and questions how he will have the strength to bury his brother’s corpse. His soul is marked with deep sorrow and he subsequently becomes ‘one of those who regretted’ (5:3). Dame Bobbie also used classic fictional examples to exemplify the essence of remorse. In Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the protagonist undergoes a painful moral transition while on the verge of a mental breakdown. Through finding remorse in his heart and mind he discovers that he is not an outsider and is able to engage in a world he formerly believed did not accept him. Furthermore, in Othello, the eponymous character’s instant and overwhelming remorse leads him to accept that damnation and eternal suffering is his destiny. Nevertheless, Judge Cheema also contends that history has

numerous examples of individuals who would commit heinous crimes, morally cleanse themselves via confession and subsequently commit crimes again. In addition, JP Tangney, a renowned psychologist advanced that moral emotions serve a purpose. A man who eternally sins and subsequently in his remorse lays himself high moral standards for the moral conduct of life is doing so in the nature of human interest. Thus, once again reflecting the uncertain nature of remorse. We expect individuals to feel remorse especially if the harm committed is irreparable. These suppositions about beliefs are part of our shared morals and the value we accord to people. Human beings are important and by harming them we inherently fail to recognize that value. However, Cheema postulates that in reality, remorseful criminals are scarce. At the bar, she prosecuted innumerable murder and gang cases. Members would rarely turn evidence against each other; silence and a conviction were worn like badges of honor. With regards to sexual crimes, she argues that perpetrators demonstrating remorse may result in the crime not being reported. In situations involving a young or easily influenced victim, the desire to avoid scandal would lead to a covering up of wrongs and a subversion of justice. This is clearly counterintuitive as penitence is not compensation for punishment. Moreover, many scholars argue that remorse does not belong in a court room not least because of validation. Kant’s concept of morality as based in reason is that an individual’s moral heart is unknown therefore we are only known as we are seen and (often) not how we actually are. Kantian Andrew Von Hirsch posits that punishments should not disregard the offender’s dignity by participating in compulsory attitudinising. Whether the offender is genuinely remorseful or not ought not to concern the state. The sentence is not required to be carried out in a remorseful manner and the process of apologising is punishment itself without requiring the offender to undergo a moral transformation. Ultimately, Dame Bobbie concluded that while remorse is relevant it should not influence a sentence unless the offender has taken positive measures towards rehabilitation. She ended the lecture by begging the question about whether the time has come to evaluate restorative justice in the same way that victim impact has come to the fore in sentencing hearings? The lecture was exciting, informative and extremely interesting. Overall, an evening well spent.




Clare Towns PA to the Principal

The College is fortunate to have many eminent and learned Visiting Fellows (https://www.dur. ac.uk/st-johns.college/research/fellows/currentfellows/) who contribute to teaching and research. Chris Beales has brought together industry professionals in the region with community and church leaders to debate housing policy and Brian Brown is producing a new version of the New Testament for young people. Jonathan Ruffer continues significant philanthropic work in redeveloping the town of Bishop Auckland – including a new Spanish Art Gallery (a joint venture with Durham University), the Kynren sound and light shows and redevelopment of Auckland Castle. Richard Adams currently chairs the Brussels-based Fair Trade Advocacy Office which speaks on behalf of the Fair Trade movement.

As a result of his Fellowship Paul Beetham published a paper entitled “Science, Theology And Politics in the Eighteenth And Twenty-first Centuries”. This was published in Reviews in Science & Religion No 70. Junior Visiting Fellow Jonathan Berry was recently involved in founding a not-for-profit company to offer data-science and software services to the United Nations for public health and the provision of humanitarian aid. In the last academic year we welcomed new Visiting Fellows Kimberly Reisman, Rob Haynes, Richard Hillier, the Revd Dr Kate Bruce and David Thomson and we look forward to seeing what our partnership with them will bring.

Dr Bex Lewis (now Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University), has just submitted a second-stage bid to Macmillan to research social media and cancer from the patient perspective, and most recently spoke on BBC Breakfast about #ScrollFreeSeptember, and how the ‘gold-standard’ of screen-free rather than good habits is problematic.

Did you know? Every academic term St John’s hosts Visiting Fellows in Residence. Throughout their time in College, residential fellows organise events such as plays, drop-in sessions for students, exhibitions and lectures. This term our Visiting Fellow in Residence is Ted Swartz. Ted is the owner and artistic director of Ted and Company Theaterworks, a for profit theater company located in Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, specializing in comedic original works on subjects of faith, peace and justice, sexuality,

diversity, mental illness and grief.

We will also be hosting Leah Samuelson. Leah is a Community Artist in the field of Arts for Social Change. She has been teaching mural painting, mosaics, and drawing at Wheaton College in Illinois, U.S.A. for the last nine years. Her work involves exploring relational growth between participants of group projects, for example, learning how to merge people’s diverse ideas of space and design when making public murals. Art for Social Change also pursues civil evolution through often unconventional works of art that address social realities.


Visiting Fellows

Dr Anne Allen Deputy Principal


Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope. Justin Welby, 2018, London. Bloomsbury Continuum. £16.00, ISBN978-1-4729-4607-2 The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (alumnus, 1989-1992) began writing ‘Reimaging Britain’ after the Brexit referendum and US presidential election in 2016. He reminds us of the essential values based on the ‘common good’ which provide an anchor in a period of significant change – in our economy, in politics, through technological advancement and social change. In the introduction he reflects on the different challenges faced in rebuilding post-war Britain in 1945 to rebalancing today’s divided and unequal multicultural society. The various chapters consider family, education, health, housing, economics and finance as well as global issues including immigration and integration. Two chapters stand out for me; Building our History which emphasises the importance of community in finding non-economic solutions to problems; and Housing – the architecture of community. The horrors of the Grenfell Tower

disaster have brought the problems of housing into sharp focus. Welby argues that to reimagine Britain we must reimagine housing – and reclaim its original purpose as a basis for community and human flourishing. He concludes by exploring how the Church and faith groups can become actors (or disruptors) in enabling a fairer future. Since writing this book, Welby has taken an active interest in housing policy in the context of building viable communities. This is an area where we will doubtless see more action from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

LEECH FELLOWSHIP Dr Ruth Perrin is currently the Leech Research Fellow undertaking post-doctoral research into the faith of Millennials in the North-East of England. She has previously published on young adult faith in: The Bible Reading of Young Evangelicals (Wipf & Stock 2016); ‘Searching for Sisters’ in The Faith Life of Women and Girls, Slee et al eds. (Ashgate 2013) and Inspiring Women; Discovering Biblical Role Models (Grove B42). Ruth has recently published a report entitled “How faith Changes; Experiences of Emerging Adult Christianity in north East England.” sponsored by the Leech fellowship. This report is the culmination of 2 years

research into how the faith of young adults changes as they go through their twenties, a period sometimes known as ‘emerging adulthood.’ Interviews with nearly 50 young adults in their early thirties from different regions in the North East explored the journey their lives and faith had taken. Some no longer have a Christian faith, others were de-churched; committed to God but disillusioned with organised religion. the majority of the sample continued to be part of a faith community but described the process of how their faith had changed through the challenges and complexities of a volatile and demanding life-stage. Details can be found at www.discipleshipresearch.com and are due for further publication by SCM in 2019.

Book Review


RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM The inaugural Postgraduate Research Symposium was held on the 15th May 2018. Some 25 students and staff contributed to the day, with eight research papers given, followed by questions and discussion. MA Director and Cranmer Tutor, Nick Moore, introduced the event as helping integration between St John’s and Cranmer Hall, allowing students and staff to interact. Research is something fundamental to both academy and church and it is hoped that as the symposium becomes an annual feature, it will enrich those engaged in theology and ministry and put research front and centre of college life. The day began with a keynote address from Cranmer Hall tutor Sarah Dunlop as she shared her research findings on the motivations of those involved in social action at five London megachurches. Through a three-month social research project, the principal finding was that volunteers were motivated by their experience of God. This was problematic for a governmentally funded research project, as such motivations could not be easily duplicated in a secular setting. A number of factors were at work, the primary one being love: the volunteers wished to express and share their experience of God’s love. The following morning sessions focussed on contemporary perspectives, beginning with Duncan Podbury’s enquiry into the experience, tensions and motivations of Associate Ministers. Stemming from his own experience, Duncan found a disconnect between conference rhetoric and an increasing move toward secular leadership models at the expense of biblical categories, leaving ministers bereft of theological categories. Rae Earnshaw looked at the challenge of New Atheism, finding a distorted view of Christianity presented in the media. This is disappointing given the availability of good Christian apologetics and a keen interest in the debates amongst the general public. Lastly, drawing on Plato’s theory of forms, contemporary models of


Research Symposium

Sam Crossley MA student and Ordinand

well-being and the Christian doctrine of creation ex-nihilo, Monir Ahmed, demonstrated the positive impact of transcendence on depression rates and greater purpose in life. Director of Biblical Studies, Richard Briggs, opened the afternoon sessions with a consideration of forgiveness in Exodus. Forgiveness was demonstrated to be God’s continued presence with Israel. Adam Young shared the personal significance of the East Africa revival and outlined a biblical theology of blood to give a balanced understanding of its theological significance. Finally, Sam Crossley considered John Wesley’s Aldersgate experience through the lens of nineteenth-century interpreters, highlighting the significance of justification and conversion in the account. Lee Gatiss, Director of Church Society, concluded the symposium with a keynote on the evangelistic use of the Book of Common Prayer. Showing how the Bible was celebrated as the Word of God, the BCP allowed the English people to draw near to God in their own language. The BCP was worldwide in its scope, seeking to spur worshippers in prayer and worldwide mission. The paper finished with an encouragement to recapture a Cranmerian vision for evangelisation and not to neglect elements of worship such as creeds and confessions. There are plans to hold a symposium again next year; we look forward to the continued flourishing of a vibrant postgraduate and research community in the future.

The Revd Dominic Black DThM Candidate, Department of Theology & Religion


Publications: ‘Godly Play and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd: A Theological Comparison’, in Martin Steinhäuser, Rune Øystese (eds) Godly Play – European Perspectives on Practice and Research (Münster: Waxmann, 2018)

Dr Richard Briggs Lecturer in Old Testament and Director of Biblical Studies, Cranmer Hall Publications: Theological Hermeneutics and the Book of Numbers as Christian Scripture (Reading the Scriptures; Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2018) ‘The Eclipse of Daniel’s Narrative: The limits of historical knowledge in the theological reading of Daniel’, Scottish Journal of Theology 70 (2017), 264-77 ‘The Christian Hermeneutics of Cranmer’s Homilies’, Journal of Anglican Studies 15 (2017), 167-87 ‘Sarajevo and the PopMart Lemon: The Fractured Form and Function of U2’s Walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death’, in Scott Calhoun (ed.), U2 and the Religious Impulse: Take Me Higher (Bloomsbury Studies in Religion and Popular Music; London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), 75-86 and 209 Talks and Lectures: ‘Never Since has there Arisen a Book in Israel like the Books of Moses’: Canonical Constructions of the Theological Priority of the Written Torah’, paper at conference on ‘The Revelation at Sinai: What Does “Torah From Heaven” Mean?’, Jerusalem, summer 2017, and at Durham University OT Research Seminar, October 2017 ‘Daniel, Dates, and Designations: How Plausible is a Theory of Deliberate Disinformation?’, paper at SBL annual conference, Boston, November 2017 ‘William Brown’s Handbook to Old Testament Exegesis (WJKP: 2017): An Appreciation Together with a Reflection on the Possibilities of Textbooks’, Durham University OT Research Seminar, Feb 2018 ‘Commitments to Absence and Presence: How Exodus Constructs Forgiveness’, paper at symposium

Academic Activity


on ‘Forgiveness in the Hebrew Bible’, Dublin, May 2018 ‘A Table in the Presence of My Enemies’: Pop as ‘Songs of Descent’, paper at U2 Studies PopVision conference, Belfast, June 2018 ‘A Test-Case in Ascriptive Realism: The Quest of the Historical Daniel and its Complex Relationship to the Practices of Scriptural Interpretation’, paper at conference on ‘Closing the Gap: Best Practices for Integrating Historical and Theological Exegesis’, Durham, June 2018

Dr Jocelyn Bryan Academic Dean, Cranmer Hall Publications: Pastoral Challenges and Concerns: A Christian Handbook for Leaders, A Revised and expanded version of The Christian Handbook of Abuse, Addiction and Difficult Behaviour, Edited by Brendan Geary and Jocelyn Bryan ( In press Stowmarket, Kevin Mayhew Publishers) Edited Issue 5 Theology and Ministry St John’s College Online Journal, https://www.dur.ac.uk/theologyandministry/ Preaching: Matins Durham Cathedral August 2017 Hertford College Oxford October 2017

The Revd Dr Andrew Byers Director of the Free Church Track and Lecturer in New Testament, Cranmer Hall Publications: ‘Johannine Bishops? The Fourth Evangelist, John the Elder, and the Episcopal Ecclesiology of Ignatius of Antioch.’ Novum Testamentum 60 (2018): 121–139. Review of Character Studies in the Fourth Gospel: Narrative Approaches to Seventy Figures in John, Histos 12 (2018): l–lii. Review of Douglas Estes and Ruth Sheridan, ed., How John Works: Storytelling in the Fourth Gospel, RBL 07/2017. Talks and Lectures: Guest Speaker (3 sessions) for the National Baptist Teams Gathering for the Baptist Union of Great Britain (December, 2017). Preaching engagements at Enon Baptist Church, Kings Church Durham (twice), York City Church, Ushaw Moor Baptist Church, and at The Filling Station for the East Durham Mission Project. Guest Speaker, Theology for Everyone, Stockton Baptist Church. “Theosis and ‘the Jews’: Divine and Ethnic Identity in the Fourth Gospel,” for The Tyndale Fellowship Conference New Testament Lecture, Tyndale House, Cambridge (27 June, 2018). Guest Lecturer for the Postgraduate Research Colloquium at Spurgeon’s College (March 21–23, 2018). “The Church According to Mark: Narrative Ecclesiology in the Markan Incipit” for the Durham New


Academic Activity

Testament Seminar, Durham University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies (March 5, 2017). Andrew also began serving this year as the co-chair for the Johannine Literature Seminar Group for the British New Testament Society.

Clodomiro Cafolla PhD Researcher, Condensed Matter Physics, Physics Department Publications: C Cafollla and K Voitchovsky, Lubricating properties of single metal ions at interfaces, Nanoscale, 2018, 10, 11831-11840 Article included in the 2018 Nanoscale Hot Article Collection, http://pubs.rsc.org/en/journals/articlecollectionlanding?sercode=nr&themeid=14c5c2f5-6355-4a69-b9d2-cb911fc4e70d C. Cafolla, A. F. Payam, K. Voitchovsky. A non-destructive method to calibrate the torsional spring constant of atomic force microscope cantilevers in viscous environments. Journal of Applied Physics, 2018 Posters: Nanolubrication with organics: geometry vs chemistry, poster presented at the prominent International Biennal Conference named ‘Tribology- Gordon Research Conference: Progress in Tribology’ at the Interface between Disciplines, June 24-29, 2018 Bates College Lewiston, ME Awards: Physics Department Award for Excellence 2018. The motivation for the award reads: “For his outstanding commitment to teaching demonstrated through his exemplary approach to helping students understand complicated concepts in the Advanced Physics workshops over the past three years.”

Anthony Cooper Research Fellow Centre for Church Growth Research Publications: Goodhew, D. & Cooper, A. P. Eds. (2018). The desecularisation of the city: London’s churches, 1980 to the present. Routledge, Abingdon, UK. Goodhew, D. & Cooper, A. P. (2018). “Warehouses, Garages and Pubs: New Church Buildings in Britain, 1980 to the Present”. Chapels Society Journal, 3, 82-92.

Academic Activity


The Revd Dr Jennifer Moberly Tutor, Cranmer Hall

Lectures: Plenary paper ‘Bonhoeffer’s Everyday Ethics for the Life of the Church’, given at the conference ‘Reading Bonhoeffer for the Life of the Church’, St John’s College, September 2016 Contact: j.l.moberly@durham.ac.uk

The Revd Dr Nick Moore MA Director and Tutor, Cranmer Hall Publications: Co-editor and co-translator, with Richard Ounsworth, of Albert Vanhoye, A Perfect Priest: Studies in the Letter to the Hebrews (WUNT II; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018). Talks, Lectures and Media Appearances: ‘Heaven’s Revolving Door? Cosmology, Entrance, and Approach in Hebrews’; British New Testament Conference, Maynooth, Ireland, September 2017. ‘Simply the Best! Encountering Jesus in Hebrews’; Theology for Everyone, Stockton-on-Tees, February 2018. Religious adviser, Painting the Holy Land, two-part Easter special presented by Lachlan Goudie; aired BBC One 30 March and 1 April 2018. Preaching engagements at Stranton Church, St Luke’s Church, St Hilda’s Church, Oxford Road Baptist Church (Hartlepool); Holy Trinity Church (Seaton Carew); St Paul’s Church, Whitworth Church (Spennymoor).

The Revd Dr Philip Plyming Warden, Cranmer Hall

Talks and Lectures: New Wine Speaker – July 2017 Spoke at Step Forward Vocations Event – March 2018 Spoke at Durham Diocesan Vocations Events – March and April 2018 Preaching engagements include St Nic’s Durham, Jan and March 2018, and Hawthorn and Doxford Park Durham Diocese, April 2018. Philip contributed to work of General Synod, Crown Nominations Commission, CPAS Council of Reference and Implementation and Dialogue Group (on Five Guiding Principles).


Academic Activity

The Revd Prof David Wilkinson Principal

Publications: Being Human in a Cosmic Context, D. Wilkinson, 2017. In Issues in Science and Theology: Are We Special?: Human Uniqueness in Science and Theology, eds. Michael Fuller, Dirk Evers, Anne Runehov, Knut-Willy SĂŚther, Issues in Science and Religion: Publications of the European Society for the Study of Science and Theology, Springer pp. 3-16. Attempting Cultural Change, D. Wilkinson, 2017. Crucible: The Journal of Christian Social Ethics, July 2017: 6-15. New Atheism, D. Wilkinson, 2018. Challenging Religious Issues, Issue 13 Summer 2018, p.2-7 Lighthouses in the Bible: symbols of enlightenment and salvation, J. Puckering and D. Wilkinson, 2018. In From the Lighthouse: Interdisciplinary Reflections on Light, eds. V. Strang, T. Edensor and J. Puckering, Routledge, London. Talks, Lectures and Media Appearances: 40+ radio interviews and regular contributor Thought for the Day, BBC Radio 4. Lead Anglican and Lutheran Clergy Study Week, Winnipeg Canada. Keynote address at World Methodist Youth Gathering, Costa Rica Panel discussion on SETI at Edinburgh Science Festival Newcastle University CU Any Questions Keynote speaker at Scottish Theological Society Conference Interview with The Review of Religions PPE Society Durham Discussion on fine-tuning Chairing session at Durham Book Festival Lead session at Theology for Everyone, Stockton Sermons at Vancouver Anglican Cathedral, Hayleybury School and East Durham Mission Project. Public Lectures at Chester Cathedral, St Albans Cathedral, Newcastle Cathedral, Durham University Ecumenical Council and Durham Union Society. Lectures at Vancouver School of Theology Study Day; After Science and Religion Conference, Cambridge; Dunelm Society Lecture, London; Durham Youth Conference; Verulam School 6th Form; Rydal Penrhos School Founders Day; Ripon Grammar School Speech Day; LASAR Conference, London.

Did you know? The Principal has been awarded an Honorable Mention in The Expanded Reason Awards for his book Science, Religion and the Search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence. These awards, recognising researchers and teachers, aims to create an Expanded Reason Community that can be a meeting place for all those who wish to investigate according to the intuition of Benedict XVI to broaden the horizons of reason. The prize giving took place in the Casina Pio IV, home of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in the Vatican gardens. The Principal was unable to attend due to commitments here in College.

Academic Activity



Stephen Rich JCR Vice-President 2013-2014

It has been 5 years since we have all left College, and in that time a lot has changed in our lives, new friendships, new jobs, some of us are wiser and I have definitely become wider, yet St John’s College remains. I think I can speak for most people who attended the reunion and say that we were struck with how odd it was to be back in our old haunts and how, bizarrely, all the corridors still smell the same! Thinking back to Freshers week (8 years ago!) there seemed to be a few standard questions we would all ask when meeting people; what subject are you studying? Where do you come from? And where in College is your room? These questions were replaced with three pretty similar ones; what job do you do now? Where are you living? And who do you still see regularly from College? It was great to hear that there were far more interesting answers than just, I live in London working for one of the big four. For those who didn’t attend you really missed out on a fantastic weekend. From a bar quiz to hungover walks along the river, a meal at Spags, many a cake stop, Brown’s Boats, formal dinner (chicken wrapped in bacon of course) and a vintage Mark Ogden speech, the weekend had it all. All these activities only worth doing because we were surrounded by those we spent those magical Durham days with. I would like to thank all the college staff that made the weekend possible, many of whom were familiar faces. There aren’t many other universities where when you are welcomed back


5 Year Reunion

you are made to feel like a member of the family returning after a long time away, so thank you for the amazing hospitality. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who came along, it was every individual who took time to come back to Durham who made the weekend so special. I know many more wished to have joined us, but timings didn’t allow it, so I expect to see you all in September 2023 for our 10 year reunion as part of the All Years Reunion!

Richard Roberts Alumnus, 1976-1979


Standing on Palace Green in the - unseasonable for Durham - hot sunny weather for this year‘s June graduation ceremonies all around are congratulatory smiles, proud parents, and most of all a sense of expectation about the future. Three or four years hard work is behind the recently graduated and alongside the relief there is a huge sense of expectation and adventure as a new graduate life beckons. What is unspoken is the sense of loss as friends take up careers and futures spread - literally all over the globe. The friendships made in College last us a lifetime, and it is important that the John’s family stays connected wherever we might settle. That’s where the St John’s Society becomes so important. We try to keep all alumni in touch each other and to forge new friendships across the generations. All of us are the St John’s family and like all families we have something for everyone. Throughout the last year we have participated and supported various year reunions, given gifts to the recently graduated, supported purchase of equipment for current students, and honoured College staff who have served loyally for many years.

Social events are important but equally the St John’s Society is there to provide practical advice and help in other areas. Do you want to change career mid-life? Are you relocating to a totally new part of the country, or the world? Do you just want to talk with someone? The Eagles are John’s Alumni who are happy and willing to spend time just talking with fellow alumni who may just need a fresh perspective on life. Career changes can be difficult at the best of times but talking it through with someone already there can be so beneficial, as can the consequent networking. Equally relocating somewhere new can be daunting and having a ‘local’ to help can make all the difference. This year we are creating smaller regional events as we realise that not everyone can travel to Durham or London. If you are interested or can host an event please get in touch with Sally at johns.alumni@dur.ac.uk. It is all about striking a balance between past present and future, and we look forward to another year of highly sociable meetings, equally sociable events, and most importantly enhancing the experience of both current and past students.

SJS Report



Rebecca Grundy Alumna,1999-2003

On Wednesday 3 October I stood in the cloisters of Durham Cathedral watching a new group of Johnians file in for matriculation. Once I’d got over the fact that most of them had not been born when I was matriculating 19 years ago, I stood back to watch with something resembling sentimentality. How lucky those students are to just be starting out on their John’s journey. A journey I guess I’ve sometimes deviated from but never left. A few years after graduating I returned to John’s as a tutor for a group of undergraduates for a while. A few years after that I joined the SCR. And then three years ago I was somehow navigating the rabbit warren of corridors again, this time with my family as my husband, Simon, (also a Johnian) began his training at Cranmer Hall. And all the while, working for Durham University, I’ve marshalled at congregation and matriculation ceremonies seeing new generations of Johnians come and go.

Many of my closest friends are still, 15 years after graduating, fellow Johnians. We may be scattered around the country but being a Johnian will always bring us together. The shared values, experiences and memories are incredibly important to me. I love that a group of us can meet sometimes having not seen each other in years, but straight away fall into that easy friendship we developed nearly two decades ago. I’m sure that no matter where life takes me next, St John’s will always have a pull on me. And I’m also sure that at some point my children will get sick of me pointing out which room used to be mine (above the bins!) as we wander down the Bailey. They may groan, but I hope that someday they will experience the same depths of friendship and that same sense of belonging as I have from being lucky enough to be a Johnian.

Did you know? More than 7500 people have passed through the halls of St John’s College as students since it was establised in 1909. The College Record is sent to 4000 addresses in the UK and over 600 overseas alumni. We get some copies returned, so if you’re about to move and still want to receive news from St John’s, make sure you update your details by emailing Sally in the Alumni Office at johns.alumni@durham.ac.uk.


Once a Johnian

ALWAYS A JOHNIAN Dani O’Hagan Alumna, 2006-2010

Nearly 12 years after I came to John’s as a fresher, I found myself back on the Bailey with a car full of luggage, moving in again. If you’d have told me in 2006 that I would be back as a 32 year old and living literally round the corner from my room on Linton Wing, I probably would have been secretly thrilled, because I loved John’s the second I arrived. I’m here now as one of the four Resident Tutors who live strategically dotted around College, to support all John’s students and contribute to college life. One of the reasons I’m here in this very centrally located flat is because I’m trying to save money to buy a house, the classic millennial concern, and John’s very generously gives free accommodation to its Resident Tutors in return for their services. But the bigger reason (which is vital to my motivation, as this isn’t going to be a peaceful way of life!) is to be a part of this ridiculously welcoming and friendly community again and to work to make sure that new and existing Johnians have as great an experience as I did. I also work for the University in Recruitment and Admissions and it’s the same motivation that took me there too. Nevertheless I also feel a bit like John’s has taken me in again, and is continuing to support me as a Johnian myself as I try to achieve what I want from life. I’ve only been here a few weeks but I have sunk back into college life as quickly as a shoddily built raft on John’s day. On autopilot roaming through the corridors that still smell and sound exactly the same I’ve several times nearly headed back to my old rooms, like a homing pigeon. But I’m very aware that I’m not here to recreate my student years (although I am happy

about being able to pop down to such a reasonably priced bar every now and then). I’m excited to be able to use my experience and whatever skills I have to help John’s students and staff in any way I can. The Resident Tutors have already been trained in first aid (mental and physical), fire safety, prepared to deliver consent training to the Freshers, and had a whole host of other conversations about what we want to do this year. The dedication of all the College staff to making this the best place to live and study is inspiring, and I am so happy to be one of them. All we need now is some students! I’ve booked my flu jab, so bring on Freshers’ week. You can follow the adventures of the Resident and Pastoral Tutors on Instagram @johnstutors

Always a Johnian



Jess Rackham SJCR President 2017-18

Over the past year the John’s Eagles network has been somewhat relaunched among the student body – students have been made more aware of the network and the support which the Eagles can offer. A main focus this year, aside from connecting students with different alumni, has been coordinating careers events within College. The aim has always been to show students career paths that they may never have considered before – options that perhaps stray away from the more common graduate scheme route.

John’s is always looking for new Eagles to expand the network, with the aim to assist all students looking for support. We are looking for people in any and all career sectors who are willing to offer advice and insight. This does not necessarily have to be through physical career events, it may be simply a phone call or email conversation. Any insight into career progression or the pros and cons of having a certain occupation is incredibly helpful to students! If you would like to become a John’s Eagle please contact johns.alumni@durham.ac.uk

“Chatting with different alumni in John’s really helped me to dive in the industry. Although it might not offer you a job directly, you could get the information and advice that will enhance your chance to get a job you want or getting to know people inside through the John’s alumni and build a nice relationship with them. It’s always good to try to go to every career mentoring session related to your future career path if possible. Although not everyone will be greatly helpful, you will at least learn a bit from each talk, and some of them might happen to give you a big help.”

– Jialu Ma

“In December 2017, St John’s College hosted an informal careers event, featuring three former students. It was very interesting to hear about the range of career opportunities that are available following the completion of your degree at Durham. I was particularly interested to hear from John Chapman, who upon leaving Durham joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer. He talked about the challenges relating to Initial Officer Training at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, and the positions he held whilst serving on board HMS Cumberland and HMS Invincible. His experiences have emphasised how rewarding a career in the Royal Navy can be and what a fantastic opportunity you have to visit different parts of the world. As an Officer Cadet with the Northumbria Universities Royal Navy Unit, this event proved very useful to me as I am strongly considering a career in the Royal Navy or a role in the Royal Naval Reserve. I would like to see the University organise more events targeted towards students thinking about careers in the armed forces.”

– Katherine Hill


John’s Eagles


Georgina Wilczek (née Luck) Alumna, 1995-2000

If you study Music at St John’s, being in and around the cathedral is a part of everyday life. From hot-footing it through the Cloisters to get to lectures on time, to singing evensong or taking part in amazing concerts in the nave, rarely does a day go by without nipping in at some stage. Yet although the cathedral is a very big building, it never ceases to amaze me what a great atmosphere it has. There seem to be very few spooky alleyways, and as a student, I regularly took shortcuts along the riverbank paths without much fear, even in the early hours. Although much of the Bailey is a graveyard, the place is rarely creepy. Even the bats are friendly! Sadly my university days are now behind me, but 20 years later, I find myself living back in the North East again, running a marketing and design agency called Glow Creative, based in Durham City. So when CEO Sleepout Durham announced that they would be doing a sleepover in Durham Cathedral Cloisters to raise money for homelessness charities in the North East, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to grab my sleeping bag and sign up to take part. So having persuaded my business partner Claire, and another friend, Jen, to sign up too, we stocked up Famous-Five fashion with sleeping bags, hats, gloves and six layers of clothing each. And it’s a good job we did, because despite it being April 30th, by midnight, the temperature had dipped to 1°C, and remained that way all night! The air was damp and cold, and although we had a roof over our heads on the cold Cloisters floor, it was still pretty uncomfortable. Although we weren’t on a noisy roadside, the bells also rang relentlessly every 15 minutes, and some significant snoring on the

other side of the Cloisters made the walls shake. With 1-2 hours’ sleep each, there was a lot of time to lie awake contemplating how unnecessary it all is. There has to be a better way. The saving grace to the whole experience, though, was watching the full moon rising, stargazing from our outdoor bedroom, and seeing the dawn at around 4:30am, accompanied by glorious birdsong. If you have to sleep out for the night, the cathedral is certainly a very beautiful place to be. At 5am, I also realised it was May Day. 20 years ago, I was already up, gowned and ready to take St John’s Choir on the annual dash through college, waking everyone up with four-part renditions of classics such as ‘Strike it up Tabor’ and ‘Now is the Month of Maying’ whilst being chased by brigands with water pistols. We would arrive at Haughton for breakfast at 8am, generally soaked through, but still happy and still singing! Sadly the May Day Madrigals don’t seem to happen any more, but the Bailey is still ringing with their memory! (If anyone wants to resurrect the tradition though, I have plenty of music I can pass on!) In total, around 50 business leaders took part that night, and as a group, we raised over £20,000 to help the North East’s homeless. However CEO Sleepout actually run events all over the country all year round, so if you can possibly take part in one yourself, do. You don’t need to be a CEO to join in, and it’s a great way to make a difference. Although it may be uncomfortable, it’s only one night of your life, and the camaraderie is great. We will almost certainly be back again next year.

CEO Sleepout


OBITUARIES The Revd Canon Stuart Brindley 1930 - 2018 Stuart was a student at St John’s from 1950 - 1955, firstly studying German and French as an undergraduate and then a postgraduate degree in Theology, in preparation for the Anglican ministry. He was ordained in 1955 and spent 14 years in parishes in Newcastle Diocese. He was then Chaplain at a school in West Germany for seven years, before serving as a reader in Weston-Super Mare and later returning to parish ministry, spending 15 years in Sheffield and Rotherham. He is survived by his wife Eloise who he met in Durham in 1950 and by three children, two grandchildren and a great grandchild.

David Morgan 1935 - 2018 It is with great sadness that I report the death of David Morgan who was a member of the St John’s from 1956 to 1960. David came up directly after completing his National Service in the Royal Navy. He immediately made his mark in his first term when he directed Durham Colleges production of Srauss’s Die Fledermaus to wide acclaim in both the local and national press. The production was presented in the Assembly Rooms and in Durham Prison. The following year he played the role of Stephron in the Colleges production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe. Once again to excellent reports in the press. David played Rugby for the college during most of his time there. After graduation, where he took a first in Mathematics with Physics, he joined ICI in the Imperial Metals Division. There he prospered and he was soon appointed CEO of the company’s subsidiary in Canada. He later returned to the UK where he became involved in the manufacture of zip fasteners. Once again he was transferred to North America as the group chairman living in Minnesota. On leaving the large corporate body he went into business with a colleague and after some difficult years he again prospered until his retirement. Living in San Antonio he adopted US citizenship remaining in that community until the death of his wife Sally in 2017. His health deteriorated and he moved to Denver Colorado to be close to his daughter Helen where he passed away in April 2018. David was a dear friend for over 60 years. I shared a room with him in our first year at St John’s. It is very sad to see friends passing away, first David Bowyer and now David Morgan. I will especially miss our annual reunions at Johns where we chatted about old times and our very happy days in the college. I will miss David’s sharp wit and his loyalty over all the years. I will not meet his like again. Graham Bowen

The Revd Charles Patrick Duncan 1937 - 2017 The Revd Charles Patrick Duncan, known by his middle name, Patrick, studied Theology at Cranmer Hall from 1978-1980. Patrick was Assistant Chaplain of Christ’s Hospital, Horsham (1986-93) and then Edinburgh Prison in 1998. He later became Rector of St Peter’s, Edinburgh in 2000. Following his retirement in 1992, Patrick was involved in professional guided tours and walks in York and has also had a professional painting career in watercolours. He was married to Sue and had four children and eight grandchildren.



The Revd Marjorie Rochefort Honnor 1927 - 2017 Marjorie spent two very happy years raining for the ministry at Cranmer Hall from 1979-81. She was born and raised in Margate, Kent and won a scholarship to Clarendon House Grammar School in Ramsgate. She achieved a 2:1 Honours degree in French and Linguistics at Birmingham University and taught for over 20 years (mostly at Eastbourne High School for Girls) before hearing a call to ministry. Marjorie’s first post was as Deaconn at Oakley St Lawrence, near Basingstoke in Hampshire where she loved the people of the parish and introduced family services, lay pastor training and support, home and youth groups as well as continuing pastoral work. She made many friends who shared her rejoicing when she was deaconed in 1987. She retired in 1988. enjoying a wonderful stay in South Africa with relatives, before moving to Bournemouth in 1991 where she joined the parish of St John with St Michael and continued in active ministry until 2012 when ill-health prevented her. Marjorie rejoiced in being amongst the first women priests in 1994. She enjoyed being a pastoral selector for ACCM for many years. She also retained the interest in liturgy first inspired by Michael Vasey at Cranmer Hall. Marjorie was delighted when Revd Sarah Yetman (St John’s graduate) was appointed Priest in Charge of her parish. Cranmer Hall and Durham brought new friends and were a wonderful introduction to a new way of life and ministry which were deeply fulfilling for Marjorie.

The Revd Canon Gordon Scott 1930 - 2018 Gordon trained at St John’s College and was ordained deacon in Durham Cathedral in 1953. He hadtwo curacies, St Andrew’s, Sunderland and then St Cuthbert’s, Marley Hill from 1959. After marrying his wife Sheila in 1962, they moved to London where Gordon served as Chaplain at Forest School. In 1966 they moved to the far northwest of Scotland to Dunrobin School, where he was chaplain and also taught French and PE. He led school expeditions into the beautiful Highlands and supported local clergy and their churches. It was in this time that the couple had their children, Michael, David & Andrew. Gordon served a further chaplaincy at Pocklington School in Yorkshire before returning to parish ministry in the Carlisle Diocese. He loved to be parish priest in the rural communities of Barton & Pooley Bridge (1974-80), Lazonby & Great Salkeld (1980-90) and Patterdale & Glenridding (199094). He visited every home as he took the parish newsletter door to door – often making time for a talk, a prayer and a cup of tea. In Patterdale & Glenridding this meant some long walks into the valleys and hills to outlying farms – a delight he shared with his faithful companion – a Golden Retriever. He was also Rural Dean of Penrith at this time. Gordon began a tradition of “beating the parish bounds” there – now a popular annual event – a challenging 30 miles, with 10,000ft of ascent! Gordon retired early to Keswick through ill health and joined the congregation at St John’s Church, initially helping with mid-week communion services. In these latter years he had to be content with ever shorter walks, still gazing up to the mountains he loved. Sheila’s sudden death four years ago was a shock to Gordon and the family. She was his “tower of strength” and looked after him in a wonderful way. Gordon showed great determination to remain living at home, with the growing support of wonderful carers. He continued to attend St John’s whenever he could – a highlight of his week. Over the last months he became increasingly frail and in pain through degenerating vertebrae. He began to look forward to “go home to heaven”.



PETER WAKE Peter Wake 1987 - 2018

Boat Club recently in naming one of our eights, the Peter Wake.

The following tribute was delivered by David Wilkinson at the funeral of Peter Gregson de Camborne Wake on Friday 27th July 2018 at St Mary’s Church, Wimbledon.

Now there were days in traditional universities when rowers were let in whatever their intellectual abilities! This was not the case with Pete. He was intellectually bright and we recognised this in October 2015 when on behalf of the the University I presented an Agrotat degree to Pete in ancient, medieval & modern history based on the trajectory of his marks. He had always had a deep love of history, forged through the military connection on his mother Anne’s side and his familiarity with the great castles and cathedrals of England, Scotland and Europe on family trips. He always enjoyed exploring architecture and historical sites at home and abroad. For a young man he was very well travelled, both with family and school school trips to Athens, St Petersburg & Moscow, Berlin and annual rowing training camps to Barcelona as well as family trips all around Europe and the USA.

As Principal of a College at Durham University there are often mixed emotions – pride in the achievements of the students, sadness at missed opportunities, ultimately joy in the privilege of sharing the story of gifted young people for a short time in their lives. This is poignant on a day like today when those mixed emotions are focused in the story of my student and friend Pete Wake. Already in this service, you have heard some amazing memories of Pete. Let me add to them. His is a most remarkable story, indeed as remarkable as the stories he devoured from Biggles to Robert Harris. Born 17th May 1987 at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, he was christened Peter Gregson de Camborne Wake at the Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey. At school whether at Bishop Gilpin, Rokeby, or Kings College Pete was fully involved as an art scholar; in sports including soccer, cross country, cricket, athletics, hockey, water polo and then of course rowing; as prefect and CCF Army sergeant. Through all of this Pete was known for his passion, commitment to excellence and significantly his willingness to help and mentor younger pupils. It was while he was at Kings that he was confirmed into the Christian faith. In 2005 he got a place at the best college in the best university! In St John’s College he represented the university at cross country and the college at soccer & rugby. But his love was rowing and he became Captain of Boats in a new and developing boat club. One current member wrote to me, ‘His work for the boat club has made it what it is today- a club which brings many Johnians great joy and pride’. For all Pete’s successes at sport, he confided to his parents that representing St John’s with friends at the Durham Regatta of 2007 was his “best day’s rowing ever”. His achievements, his leadership and his coaching were marked by the



Part of Pete’s intellectual development was his love of reading from WE Johns (Biggles) to Agatha Christie as well as the classics of ancient and modern literature. He particularly enjoyed books with an adventurous or military twist and so devoured the books of Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Bernard Cornwell, Tom Clancy, Allan Mallinson and Robert Harris, amongst others. His love of reading in general made his academic reading a pleasure. His is also a valiant story. Of course I don’t mean having the lifetime affliction of being a Sunderland supporter! He attended his first match with his brother Chris, dad & grandpa at the old Roker Park - a 2-0 win over Derby County. His real courage was the the way he faced life post 2007. On 21st November Peter’s life, and that of family and friends, was cruelly changed forever when he sustained a very serious traumatic brain injury, leaving him minimally conscious and with severe disabilities. Pete spent 3 months in Newcastle General Hospital, where he wasn’t expected to survive, and 13 months in Putney’s Royal Hospital for

Neuro-disability. During those 16 months Peter had many operations and infections to contend with and to the amazement of doctors Peter fought his way through with bloody-minded determination never to give up. He moved to Wingham Court in April 2009 and continued his rehabilitation there, still battling occasional infections but making slow progress. His main problem was recurrent chest infections and pneumonia. His favourite game was to hold a tennis ball and then roll it off the arm of his wheelchair, waiting for it to bounce so that we had to retrieve it for him. He enjoyed holding your hand, being with friends & family and just having someone there. He was fond of his carers, who loved him and cared for him for nine years. Unfortunately, the consequences of ten and a half years of many infections and a huge number of medications and antibiotics, meant that he was gradually less able to fight the infections. 2017 was not a good year for Pete and he had a number of visits to Kingston Hospital. On 13th June 2018 Pete was admitted once more with aspirative pneumonia and other complications. Devastatingly, Pete’s infections did not respond well to antibiotics. He never gave up and fought to the last but on 21st June he lost his battle. I have rarely seen such courage in this kind of battle – he truly fought with giants. Ultimately his is a story which was embedded in love. As a College Principal, I normally get to know students well but rarely get to know their family and friends. I sometimes only meet them at the start of term and then at congregation when degrees are presented. As a new Principal of St John’s I did not know Pete very well at all before the brain injury. I got to know Pete well through his dad Phil, his mum Anne and his brother Chris. I got to know Pete also through his friends at College and the wider network of family and friends who supported him in the days, weeks and years after his life changed.

I learned through them the real quality of the person whose bedside I was sitting beside. For the measure of a human being is not in intellectual or physical achievements but in their depth of relationships – how they are loved and how they love. As family and friends have spoken of Pete they have shone with love, joy, warmth, friendship and laughter. Today in this service we are here to say thank you for this person who enriches our lives in so many ways. Pete would also want me to say thank you to you – for the love and support that he experienced, for those who cared for him, for his friends, for those who gave of their time and money and supremely to his family Anne, Phil and Chris. For me and for many on this day there is sadness at potential not fulfilled and indeed anger at the pain and waste. There is much sadness in this life, but the service has reminded us that in this the Lord is my shepherd and ‘well my feeble frame he knows’. Yet the Christian faith says more than just a God who understands our pain. ‘We know we at the end shall life inherit’. There is hope of life beyond this one. In our reading from Revelation 21 there is a curious phrase that in the new creation ‘the sea will be no more’. This at first reading is not very attractive to those who enjoy rowing! But the sea in Revelation represents all that opposes God. The new creation will be a place of no more crying, pain or death as the things that oppose God are taken away. This creation with all its good things – sport, intellectual fun, adventure, and love – are transformed to be even better in God’s new heaven and earth. It is only this faith that holds me on occasions such as this. It is a pleasure to say that it was a privilege to get to know Peter Wake and to call him friend. I trust him into the love and mercy of a God of resurrection and hope.



MARRIAGES & BIRTHS Sam Broster (2006-2010) and Katrina Darby (2007-2010) married at The Great Barn, Aynho on 21st April 2018 surrounded by family, friends and many fellow John’s alumni. Christopher Blakey and Priya Sodha (both 2014-2018) married on 20th August 2018. Christopher is continuing at St John’s starting a PhD next year. Carrie Anne Heath (2011-2014) welcomed baby Winston on 1st May 2018, a brother for Ottilie (2). Kathryn and Laurence Hegarty (2006-2010) are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter Sophie Ellen Hegarty, who was born on 8th December 2017. Sarah McCann (née Curry, 2002-2005) and husband Paul welcomed their daughter Florence Amelia Annabelle on 4 June 2018. She’s a sister to Isabella (3). Jennie Riley née Dziegel (2013-2016) married Ben Riley on 11th August 2018, pictured top. Grace Martin and Alex Wight (both 2009-2013) were married on 25th August 2018 in Cheshire, pictured bottom. Emma Scrivener née Francis (2014-2017) married James Scrivener (St Cuthbert’s) on 1st September 2018, pictured left. Caroline Solomons (née Horn, 1994-1998) and husband Eugene welcomed Sofia Grace Solomons on 6th June 2018. Jodie-Hannah Spence-Ross née Barnes (2007-2010) married Callum Spence-Ross of Cape Town, South Africa in Sheffield, September 2017, pictured second from top. Jeanna Spencer (née Shalkowski, 2004-2007 and currently Assistant Senior Tutor) and husband Ed welcomed Joshua David Peter on 10th October 2018.


Marriages & Births

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Geoffrey Crees (Cranmer Hall, 1965-1967) has written three books; “Where Was God Last Friday?”, “Jeffrey’s Shorts”, “Jeffrey’s Longer Shorts” and is currently working on another. Brian Cranwell (Cranmer Hall, 1982-1984) has had two books published, “Where’s my Mum Now? Helps and hindrances to children’s grief” and “From the Diaries of an Urban Rev: Faith & Functions, Vicarages and Vandalism”. The Revd Mark Edwards (Cranmer Hall, 1991-1995) has written a book, ‘Life After Care: from lost cause to MBE’, published by Trigger Press. Gabriel Finn (BA Music, 2013-2016) sailed double-handed across the Atlantic in a 32ft classic wooden yacht in December 2017. Rob Haynes (2013-2017) was awarded the Dissertation of the Year Award by the Wesleyan Theological Society for his thesis ‘Consuming Mission’ which explores the nature of short term missions in different parts of the world. It was supervised by the Principal and Dr Mathew Guest. Bex Lindsay (2005-2008) is the Drivetime presenter on Fun Kids, a national radio station for children. Stevie Martin (2006-2010) co-hosts The Nobody Panic podcast with a fellow Durham alumna. She is a freelance writer and has been published in many major newspapers and magazines. In summer 2018 she presented her debut solo show at Edinburgh Fringe. Roger Pearce (1969-1972) has published his third book, “Javelin”. James Tyrrell (2004- 2007) has founded a charity in Sierra Leone called Laughter Africa. He is doing work with street children in and around Freetown. Professor Donald Stewart AO, (1966-1969) Chair Health Promotion, School of Medicine, Griffith University, Australia, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for ‘distinguished service to education as an academic and researcher, and to Australia-Indonesia relations through public health improvement projects’. Where are they now?


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John’s Chronicle is a blog that brings together all things Johnian, with stories from all members of the community. If you’d like to contribute a story to ‘Once a Johnian’, the section for alumni, email Sally at johns.alumni@durham.ac.uk.

St John’s College Record 2018 EDITOR & GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Sally Hewett PRINTER: AlphaGraphics 62

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Following the success of last year’s inaugural London ‘After-Work’ Drinks event at the IoD on Pall Mall, we’ll be returning to meet London based alumni for an evening of drinks and discussion. At this mini-convocation, we’d love to hear what you want to see as we enter a new phase of alumni relations with SJS now officially incoporated into St John’s Alumni Office. Venue to be confirmed.

5 YEARS ON REUNION - 13th - 15th September

The first time many of the freshers of 2011 will return to College, this reunion traditionally features a meal in Spags, followed by a quiz in the bar on Friday and a formal dinner on Saturday. Look out for an email and Facebook event with sign-up details.

10 YEARS ON REUNION - 6th - 8th September

By special request we’ll be hosting a 10 Year Reunion for the graduates of 2009. Contact Dani O’Hagan for more information.

ALL YEARS REUNION & CONVOCATION - 20th - 22nd September

This year we’ll be offering a formal dinner on both Friday and Saturday evening of the All Years Reunion, giving you flexibility to return home by Sunday morning if necessary. You could even attend both if you’re feeling indulgently nostalgic! Convocation and the Principal’s State of the College Address will take place on the Saturday. Booking details will be shared via email and on social media, so keep an eye out.

If you’d like to support one of our current campaigns to help the next generation of Johnians, contact johns.alumni@durham.ac.uk. Thank you.

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College Record 2018  

The College Record from St John's College, Durham, with news and stories from the academic year 2017 - 2018.

College Record 2018  

The College Record from St John's College, Durham, with news and stories from the academic year 2017 - 2018.