College Record 2019

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Welcome! Welcome is a word we say a lot at St John’s College. Over the past few months we have enjoyed three reunions, multiple University Open Days for prospective students, and have opened the Chapel as part of the national Heritage Open Days. That’s all before welcoming new students and their families on Freshers Sunday. While there’s so much with which members of our community are involved that we couldn’t possibly report it all here, I hope this edition of the College Record gives you a flavour of life at St John’s over the past academic year. As the above picture shows, there’s a warm welcome (and endless enthusiasm) at St John’s College come rain or shine. You are always welcome here. Remember, once a Johnian, always a Johnian. Sally Hewett Alumni, Development & Communications Officer




27 24



04 06 10

A Letter from the Principal The LRC Warden’s Reflections

BEYOND THE BAILEY 12 13 14 15 15 16

From Cranmer to Cranwell Applying Technology in Humanitarian Situations Researching the Impacts of Energy on Women A Local Graduation Getting into Television Help Refugees

INSIDE JOHN’S 18 19 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 32 32 33 34 38

St John’s Common Room Middle Common Room Broaderlands A Year in the Life of Cranmer Hall Alpacagate Greetings from the Chaplain Community Life Senior Common Room Comings & Goings SJCBC Chapel Choir & JMS University Challenge John’s Chronicle Fairtrade Fortnight Wellbeing Week Academic Journal Desecularisation of the City Academic Activity A New Podcast




40 41 42 44 46 52 54

5 Year Reunion 10 Year Reunion All Year Reunion Congratulations In Memory of With Thanks Support Future Johnians


A LETTER FROM THE PRINCIPAL After a little while we have eventually done it! A planning and design process of over five years, a multitude of meetings with various statutory bodies who have a role in the planning of buildings in a World Heritage Site, generous giving from alumni, students, staff and friends of the College, archaeology, noise, dirt, the choosing of furniture, art, moving 30,000 books, doors stuck in European ports and the crucial question of how many toilets do we need – the Learning Resource Centre has been built. We were told by many that we would never get planning permission and by many that we would never get the funds, but by the grace of God we’re there. Over the summer, before its official opening, we have been enjoying this new addition to the work of the College. I am so grateful for all who have contributed to this wonderful achievement. In particular, the Deputy Principal, Dr Anne Allen has held overall responsibility for the build and has delivered the project within budget and before the beginning of the new academic year. Our architect David Darbyshire has suffered with us the ups and downs of planning and building but his vision has achieved a building which fits and works in this special context. Our neighbours in the Cathedral, the University especially St Chad’s and St Cuths have been patient and gracious with us, and those who have done the archaeology and building have been excellent to work with. The members of our Development Board, College Council and College Officers have shown extraordinary courage and encouragement to go with this project. It is always dangerous to single out specific people in such a massive community effort but let me take the risk of mentioning a few. George Pole was passionate about training the next generation of leaders both for the church and for the world and although his connection with St John’s happened late in life his gift and legacy allowed us to do this project. Tim Yates, a former Warden of Cranmer Hall, was an original and faithful member of our Development Board and his wisdom and support meant so much. Michael Bird, has been chair of finance and vice-chair of Council, and contributed many hours to the project bringing key questions and encouragement. And Roy Leech, the nephew of William Leech, continued the


family support of the College with fun, common sense and his ability to ask the uncomfortable questions at just the right time. It was his leadership of the William Leech charity that led to the initial gift of £500K to begin the fund-raising of the project.

the College. In particular for two young people who were part of John’s just a few years ago. Milly Savill (née Coulson) with her husband Toby were killed in a tragic accident. Milly was an outstanding theologian, led the College Christian Union and was captain of the Netball B team. There were so many people at their funeral service that I was one of the many who listened to the service through loud speakers outside the church.

Yet this was a community effort. So many people gave sacrificially of their time and money, put up with disruption and saw the bigger picture even if not all of their preferences were fulfilled. One of the most humbling things for me was the initiatives of admin and kitchen staff in raising over £2,500 for this building. Students also, raised money for a building that they would never themselves benefit from. It is in all of this that I continue to feel a sense of privilege in being Principal of this kind of College.

This year also saw the death of Pete Wake. Pete suffered brain injuries during his third year at John’s and my first year in the College. Captain of the Boat Club, his remarkable athletic fitness coupled with the skill of medics and the love of his family and friends enabled him to survive. I got to know Pete in the presence of his parents and brother. He remains an inspirational figure of courage and humanity to the Boat Club and to the wider college community.

So as we prepare for a new term there is a sense of excitement with the new. But this time of the year means also gratitude for what has gone before. After ten years of cutting edge work CODEC has achieved so much in biblical literacy, preaching, discipleship in the digital environment and understanding what it means to be human in a digital age. It has largely achieved and often gone beyond our original expectations, but I think its work in breaking new ground has now allowed others to follow in its footsteps. I want to pay particular tribute to Pete Phillips as its director and to all its staff. Pete is moving over to a post in the Department of Theology and Religion and a post with Premier Media to continue to develop the exciting area of digital theology. He has been the creative genius behind the whole vision of CODEC. Penny Bissell is retiring after long service in both CODEC and the Wesley Study Centre and we are grateful for her quiet faithfulness.

I struggle with such tragedies. My Christian faith does not give easy answers but it does give me hope. At a conference this year on ‘The Legacy of Stephen Hawking’ I found myself giving a lecture in Jerusalem on the futility that is predicted by science for the end of the universe – the accelerating universe will lead to a universe unable to sustain any kind of life. I found myself reflecting that close to the conference centre, the early Christians claimed that they encountered the risen Jesus and saw in that a central hope – that God promises resurrection in a new and transformed heaven and earth. The books and the tradition of our College library are now in a new and better physical setting. It has not been without pain and for many years we just had to hang on to the hope – by the grace of God.

Cranmer Hall continues to thrive and we have been desperate for more space as numbers grow. The lecture room and seminar rooms in the LRC mean we now have that space. David Goodhew leaves us to go back into parish ministry and I would like to mark my own thanks to David for his scholarship, his passion for mission, and the time when he took on the temporary role of Warden of Cranmer Hall.

Revd Dr David Wilkinson Principal

The sadness of the past year has been in the number of funeral services that I have attended on behalf of


THE LRC After 8 years in design development and construction June 2019 saw us finally complete the new Learning Resource Centre. Undertaking a project of this scale on such a constrained site within the World Heritage Site has brought with it many challenges, but the result is definitely worth the effort.

The sometimes controversial design has won over leaders in heritage and conservation. On a tour of the new building the President of World Heritage UK commended the contemporary design and the quality of the masonry, European oak and glass finish. The project has come to fruition because of the generosity of our students, staff, alumni, friends and trusts and foundations. We raised in excess of ÂŁ3.5 million. In September we hosted a thank you dinner for the many contractors and major donors who have supported the project.

The College now has some of the best teaching and study facilities in Durham with the latest audio-visual technology and intelligent systems which regulate the temperature and ventilation.

Principal David Wilkinson helps to demolish the old building in 2017 and the whole College community got involved with fundraising efforts, including a sponsored bike ride to York, pictured.


The Sir William Leech charity were the cornerstone benefactor without whom the project could not have been reaslised. Pictured here Chairman Richard Leech with the foundation stone and accepting the keys.

The AllChurches Trust have fitted out a seminar room. Librarian Jane Ghosh oversaw the move of 27,000 books into the new library. The lecture room was first used by the ‘Global Citizenship Conference’ in July 2019.

A NEW BUILDING IN AN HISTORIC SETTING Acanthus Darbyshire Architects have a reputation for contemporary design in sensitive historic areas. ADA previously designed the Garth accommodation block and the extension of Haughton Dining Hall for St John’s College.

the appearance of a two storey building. The frontage to South Bailey consists of a recessed transparent ground floor and solid first floor which, in turn, helps to dissolve barriers and have a more welcoming and open appearance forming a transitional scale between the neighbouring properties.

The Learning Resource Centre lies within the UNESCO World Heritage Site neighbouring the Cathedral precinct and the chapel of St Mary the Less. A 1930s house, of no particuar architectural value, was demolished and the site was excavated by Durham University Archaeological Services prior to construction by Northern Bear PLC.

The main entrance is under a section of the frontage that links to no 16 South Bailey. The ground floor provides main public circulation areas, lecture theatre, meeting and exhibition spaces. An external terrace is provided to the south-west of the site and links into the garden of no 16. The first and second floors provide the main library function of book stacks and study areas. The book stacks are primarily along the northern edge, to avoid overlooking of the adjacent Cathedral properties, although high level windows provide natural light and views out to the Cathedral tower. The study bays provide views out to South Bailey and beyond. The two storey full height west window articulates the primary two storey section of the library proper and is expressed in an ecclesiastical style to reflect its location.

In line with good conservation practice, the new building creates a clear distinction between old and new with the gable of no 16 South Bailey and the Cathedral precinct wall forming the walls of the new building. The brief called for library facilities for 30,000 books, study space, lecture facilities, seminar and group work space and a librarian’s office. The building, in order to maintain the scale of the surrounding area, was broken down into distinct functions. Using the stepped levels around the site, the building maintains

The principal materials are ashlar and the existing random stonework for the external walls and lead


coloured zinc for the pitched roof. The predominant use of stone relates to other principal buildings along South Bailey. The projecting bays are constructed of traditional oak. Frameless and powder coated windows provide the other main finishes.

The building’s relationship with the public realm along South Bailey was carefully considered and, in particular, the design of the frontage reinforces the character of the interlude of the townscape created by the widening of the public realm to the south of the churchyard of the church of St Mary the Less. The stone paving to the floorscape further continues the materiality of the building which is stitched into the historic surroundings.

The lime tree, although on Cathedral land, was considered important to the contextual character of the site. It provides an ever changing canopy throughout the year and moderates the glare of the sun solar gain providing a “natural comfort”.

David Darbyshire, Acanthus Darbyshire Architects


Bluebells grew in the garden of 17 South Bailey before we started construction of the new Learning Resource Centre. The bluebell is an indigenous plant of ancient woodland and can be found in abundance at Spring time on the riverbanks in Durham. The bluebell is said to represent humility, gratitude and everlasting love. It is a fitting symbol in a building which is dedicated ‘in grace and truth’. In folklore bluebells are a bridge between worlds. Here they both mark the transition between the inside and the outside and also recall the many friends and alumni of the College who have passed on from this life. Leah Samuelson conceived of the idea for this piece during a residency at St John’s College in 2018. Leah is a Community Artist in the field of Arts for Social Change. Bluebells draws on Leah’s love of mosaic and blends this with the idea of stained glass but in reverse. During the day the light floods in between the tegulae. The effect is reversed at night. The design runs across the first and second floor windows and therefore only makes complete sense when viewed from the Chorister School. Originally painted as a watercolour, the artwork was photographed digitally, blown up to scale and reworked to print onto vinyl by Red Square Design. Hidden in the mosaic you will find two College symbols – St Cuthbert’s Cross and Olav II, the College mascot.


THE OPENING The LRC was officially openend on 26 September 2019. Bishop Libby Lane led the official opening and reminded us that the significance of the project lies in the way that it will change lives through the formation of the next generation of ministers and students who will go on to serve in society. David Wilkinson gave thanks after dinner to the many people who enabled the project to come to fruition both through fundraising and the design and construction.


WARDEN’S REFLECTIONS Cranmer Hall received a bumper intake of new students in 2018-2019, including 31 ordinands beginning either 2 or 3 years training for ministry in the Church of England. Coupled with this we also saw our first graduations of students training on the Baptist Pathway at Cranmer Hall, in partnership with Northern Baptist College. This pathway (part of the Free Church Track, now four years old) has helped raise vocations from within the North-East and is further evidence of the ecumenical spirit within Cranmer Hall. Although the national picture for residential theological training is rather more challenging, we are confident that training residentially, at a place like Cranmer Hall, is still fantastic preparation for mission-focussed ministry. It gives an unrivalled opportunity to go deeper, in at least four ways. First, it gives students the opportunity to go deeper theologically. After 16 years in parish ministry I am clear that good theology feeds good mission; there is no substitute for knowing the scriptures, the tradition, the doctrine of the church, so that we engage faithfully in mission and train and equip others in their calling. We make no apology at Cranmer Hall for encouraging students to go deeper in their understanding and exploration of the Christ faith. Second, residential training offers trainee ministers the chance to go deeper in prayer. There is huge value in being part of a disciplined praying community, learning the rhythms of prayer that will sustain in what is an increasingly demanding calling.

I am so grateful for the new ways I learned to pray when I was training at Cranmer Hall, and it is great to see students doing that again today. Third, residential training offers students the opportunity to go deeper in placement experience. A huge plus of training at a place like Cranmer is the range of different contexts where students can experience mission and ministry on placements, throughout the North East and beyond, in parishes, chaplaincies, Fresh Expressions, church plants. Students see how mission looks very different in different places and this prepares them for their ministry in a range of contexts throughout the UK and beyond. Fourth, residential training gives trainee ministers the chance to go deeper in community. A residential community is such a gift as people come together from different backgrounds to grow not just in knowledge and skills but Christ-like character. It is through eating together and sharing lives together, as well as learning and praying together, that we are formed as ministers of the gospel. At Cranmer Hall there is a wonderful added dimension to this as students engage in life across the wider St John’s College community. We are, therefore, in great heart at Cranmer Hall and so thankful to God for our vocation to be part of St John’s College and Durham University and a place where women and men are prepared and sent out for faithful and fruitful ministry. Philip Plyming, Warden



FROM CRANMER TO CRANWELL Revd Dr Kate Bruce trained at Cranmer Hall (19982001) and was Deputy Warden, before moving to train as an RAF Chaplain. The question of how we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land has taxed me recently. In what might well be the Lord’s calling and yet could still be a midlife crisis – or possibly both – (I suspect they are not mutually exclusive), I joined the Royal Air Force in February 2018. Basic training at RAF College Cranwell followed: learning drill (who knew walking could be so hard), precision ironing, room inspections, bivvying out under a blanket of snow, running about carrying stretchers and jerry cans, (though not carrying a weapon, I hasten to add.) GI Jane meets the Vicar of Dibley - often funny and pretty much always physically painful (thank God for ibuprofen). Three months later I graduated on the parade square in my No 1 uniform, all brass buttons and a huge dog collar you can probably see from space. Bit of a surprise: from Cranmer to Cranwell. I have spent the last year trying to understand the language of the RAF. If I said to you that you needed

to ‘swing by PSF, take this paper to P1 and have a chat with the RLO’ you might be a bit baffled. I have had to learn to understand rank slides and suss out who I salute and who salutes me. It’s been profoundly disorientating at times. Perhaps my experiences in the RAF might mirror the experiences of people coming into the orbit of our churches. I am not suggesting people should salute the vicar (though I’ve met one or two vicars, and the odd bishop, who might warm to that notion), but I do want to ask are we singing the Lord’s song in understandable terms or crooning theological and ecclesial gobbledygook. The lyrics of the song matter profoundly. There’s been much laughter as I’ve attempted to sing the Lord’s song in my new context. My sense of humour serves me well and much banter in many a crew room has ensued. From such seemingly trivial exchanges deeper communication often comes. I’ve been profoundly struck and moved by the trust service personnel put in their Padres. (Learning to be called Padre has been a challenge – but it beats Ma’am, which is the alternative and leaves me feeling like a Victorian gentlewoman). I have discovered again the importance of weaving silence into the song. Attending to the other, in the name of the one who attends to all creation, is an important refrain in God’s song. Day after day people come dying to be heard. ‘Padre, got a minute?’ I listen to people pouring out their stories - often of untold pain, muddle, and regret. Deep active listening is a sacrament shared by wounded healers in Christ’s name. It’s also been a terrific joy to carry on teaching preaching. I’ve taught a course for Oxford Diocese and undertaken retreats, conferences and am contributing to The Festival of Preaching. I’m enjoying writing for various publications – Guidelines and Reflections for Daily Prayer as well as sample sermons for The Preachers’ Companion. August 2019 saw me making my debut at the Edinburgh Festival doing stand-up with White Collar Comedy. It’s never dull. How do we sing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land? The bass line concerns loving people in God’s name, in all our strength and frailty. The Lord’s song needs hearing at the crossroads of the world, in the places of messy ambiguity. Now is the time to tune our harps and sing out. Revd Dr Kate Bruce


APPLYING TECHNOLOGY IN HUMANITARIAN SITUATIONS From the beginning of October 2018 to the end of March 2019 I had the pleasure of being a full-time Research Fellow with United Nations Global Pulse in New York. Global Pulse was set up by the UN Secretary-General with a mission to harness new technologies for sustainable development. The organisation consists of three laboratories located in New York, Jakarta and Kampala, each of which provides a space to work with other UN agencies and public and private sector organisations to investigate how technology can be used to work towards the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) - a set of 17 targets set by the UN to be achieved by 2030. As a PhD student my research focus is in applications of Data Science, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI), to particle physics, however, this fellowship gave an opportunity to apply my computational research to other domains. Working and partnering with UN agencies, governments and NGOs, Global Pulse’s research is focussed on exploring how such technology can benefit society, as well as the risks it poses, from both a technical and policy perspective. One such partnership is with UNOSAT - the UN satellite programme - who analyse satellite imagery in humanitarian situations, like assessing the extent of damage caused by a natural disaster. One of UNOSAT’s core responsibilities is monitoring the location and number of structures in refugee camps around the world. These camps are often set up with little planning time and a limited knowledge of their intended size and capacity, and satellite images provide an ideal data source for understanding their growth, complexity and population. Images of different parts of the planet can be requested and bought from satellite image providers with a resolution of up to 30cm, enabling analysts to pick out individual buildings in a camp. These camps can grow extremely quickly, such as those in Jordan near the border with Syria where thousands of refugees can arrive in a single day, meaning a new image may need to be analysed every week, often with tens of thousands of structures in a

camp. Analysts at UNOSAT would previously identify each building by hand, however, myself and other researchers at Global Pulse have worked to automate this process. By building an algorithm to identify structures and classify them according to their function (e.g. residential tent, administration building etc.), analysts at UNOSAT are now able to radically speed up their work, while still producing accurate results. By being in the UN system we can talk directly to the problem owners in humanitarian situations to understand their needs and tailor a solution to them. In the above example, we were not only developing our research in collaboration with UNOSAT, but were also able to find out how teams working in these camps use the information provided to them. By working closely with partner agencies, we can get constant feedback from the end users of our research and enable it to have a meaningful impact. Here, UNOSAT analysts now have the time to perform a more detailed analysis of images, and are able to more rapidly return an accurate map to teams in the camps, enabling more timely provision of aid to those who need it most. Returning to Durham, I continue to work on my PhD while still consulting with Global Pulse a few days a week. The work is incredibly fulfilling, and it is a privilege to work with such a talented and passionate team. I am grateful for the support of Durham University and STFC, my research funding council, as well as UN Global Pulse for enabling me to complete this fellowship and I continue to look forward to applying my PhD research in other domains. Please note that these words are my own and in writing this I am not speaking on behalf of the UN, any of its agencies, subsidiaries or affiliated institutions. Please feel free to contact me at: Joseph Bullock



With the generous help of the St John’s Student Opportunities Fund, I was able to participate in a research trip to Cape Town, which centred on researching Renewable Energy Developments and their impacts on the women of Cape Town.

became aware of several issues that limit the way energy can help poverty-stricken families, affordability being the main obstacle. This stressed the need for more research, like ours, to be carried out.

Energy poverty is a crisis which many people are forced to endure on a daily basis. It places thousands of families in life-threatening situations; in particular, it is the women of the communities who arguably suffer the most from energy-related issues as they are often responsible for carrying out the household chores and interacting with domestic energy sources.

Another visit was to the informal settlement of Enkanini, perhaps the most eye-opening experience of this trip. During these visits, we experienced some really devastating living conditions that families are forced to endure. Despite Enkanini having a population of nearly 5,000 people, there are just two toilet blocks within the settlement. Not only did this make me realise how lucky we are, but it also furthered my desire to carry out our research so that we could contribute to alleviating these families from such poverty-stricken conditions.

To research how energy can lift women out of poverty, we visited several Renewable Energy Developments, such as the site of Joe Slovo. Here, solar water heaters are used to provide the households with electricity for cooking and businesses. With local residents showing us around and welcoming us into their homes, we got the opportunity to speak to some of the female dwellers. They spoke to us about their everyday lives, their experiences of solar energy and how this has helped them and their families. My favourite memory has to be when the children who live there started hugging and high-fiving us. It was so heart-warming and touching to see how welcoming they are. Nevertheless, despite observing the benefits that energy can have on families in Cape Town, we also

Of course, the trip would not have been complete without the classic tourist activities, including climbing the infamous Table Mountain and a visit to the penguins at Boulders Beach. Being a final-year geographer at Durham, not only did this research trip help to make a difference to the research field of women and energy, it also cemented many of the skills that I have developed throughout my time here as a student. I am very grateful to St John’s for providing me with the help I needed in order to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Amelia Bowling

Could you help the next generation of Johnians? Student life at St John’s is about so much more than getting a degree. In our aim to provide the best possible all-round experience for Johnians, the Student Opportunities Fund offers support for extracurricular activities. From travel, education and research to other costs involved in College, charitable and outreach projects, these bursaries are essential in ensuring all students, no matter their background, can take full advantage of the opportunities available to them. These bursaries would not be available if not for the generosity of alumni and friends. We are so thankful for this financial support. Why not contribute to the Student Opportunities Fund by making a donation at


A LOCAL GRADUATION In July 2019 St John’s hosted a mock graduation event for two local schools. Year 10 students from Southmoor Academy and Sandhill View Academy in Sunderland took part in a brand new initiative– the ‘Scholars Programme’. Designed by Miss Ungley, the Aspirations and OxNet North East Coordinator for Southmoor Academy, the programme is a year-long super-curricular project for high achieving students, requiring weekly commitment after school.

Having been inspired by lectures and visits, 12 students completed the programme by designing their own academic projects, with the opportunity to choose whatever topic interested them the most. Students and their families concluded this scholarly journey with a graduation event in the Chapel of St Mary the Less. After a speech by Anne Allen, Deputy Principal, in which she remarked that both she and the Principal David Wilkinson were local schoolchildren once too, each student received a cap and a gown, and were presented with their graduation scroll before signing the ‘Scholars Book’ – a book which will be kept for years to come. They enjoyed refreshments in Cranmer Crossroads, and had the opportunity to discuss their projects with others, and be congratulated on their commitment and determination over the past year.

The year started with a fortnightly lecture series from visiting academics from Durham, Teesside, Oxford, Sunderland, and The Northern School of Art. Topics covered ranged from English Literature and Intersectionality to handling bones and skulls in Archaeology; from Comic Book Design to Cosmology in an inflatable planetarium. Students were also invited to universities around the North East, and further afield – they took part in a PhD speed-dating event at Sunderland University, an ‘ACE day’ at Newcastle University, an archive workshop in Durham’s Palace Green Library, and a residential visit to Jesus College, Cambridge.

Claire Ungley, University College 2011-15

GETTING INTO TELEVISION From a young age, I’d been fascinated by the medium of television. More recently, it’s become something we take for granted, and is now extremely accessible, with our favourite shows just an app away. The programmes we watch have a massive effect on us, they take us on emotional rollercoasters, whether it’s watching a gripping drama such as ‘The Bodyguard’ or seeing who’s coupling up on ‘Love Island’ - television really does captivate the nation.

and its related fields. The Royal Television Society is Britain’s leading forum for television and related media, and an educational charity whose purpose is to promote the art and science of television. I leapt at the chance to apply, and after a long selection process, I was accepted on to the scheme. As part of the programme, the society organises networking events with students and industry partners, arranges work placements, and offers mentoring opportunities to each student.

Growing up, I’d regularly watched ‘Blue Peter’ (gaining my first badge by the age of nine) and was mesmerised by the live programming on Saturday mornings which had evolved from ‘Swap Shop’ back in 1976. However, I was more captivated by the occasions when you got to see what happened behind the cameras. Working on these productions seemed such fun, with all involved appearing to have such an enjoyable time on the programme. I’d quickly realised that I wanted to work in the media industry, and my first visit to the former BBC Television Centre affirmed that realisation in me, and is one I will never forget.

In my time on the scheme I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most influential people in the industry, notably, Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media, and Charlotte Moore, Director of Content at the BBC. I have also had the opportunity to work on some fantastic programmes, such as ‘Britain’s Brightest Family’ and ‘Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway’ for ITV, and have recently worked on the American adaptation of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ for ABC.

Before I arrived at Durham, my careers advisor at school had received an email advertising a new scheme offered by the Royal Television Society, to support undergraduates seeking to work in television

I thank the RTS for the invaluable support they have given me during my time at St John’s and look forward to continue working in what I consider a constantly evolving and inspiring industry. James Mailey, 2019 graduate



In 2015, a group of friends started a social media campaign as an impassioned call for change to the situation for refugees in northern France. Since then, the ‘Choose Love’ hashtag has grown into a global movement supporting over 100 projects across Europe and the Middle East providing vital aid to over 1 million people fleeing war, persecution and poverty. Help Refugees has become one of the largest facilitators of grassroots aid in Europe and continues to be a proactive, effectual, and beautifully inspiring demonstration of humanity in a world that feels increasingly divided. After the Calais ‘Jungle’ was dismantled at the end of 2016, reports of the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ stopped hitting the headlines across the border in the UK. However, arguably the situation is more desperate than ever – while the imminent and horrifying dangers of persecution, war and poverty remain ever-present, people will continue to make unimaginably dangerous journeys to seek refuge away from even greater danger at home. Decreasing media coverage has seen awareness and support for the situation faced by refugees decrease drastically. There are also increasingly limited funds and understanding of the conditions and circumstances that thousands of refugees face when arriving in Europe having survived often unimaginable journeys from their homes. During the vacation I volunteered at the Help Refugees warehouse in Calais where meals are prepared and non-food donations are stored, sorted and distributed to around 1,500 refugees living in Grande-Synthe every day. The aid that Help Refugees provides is underpinned by its core values of acting quickly, building community, speaking out, empowering people and treating everyone with humanity, dignity and respect. Often living without shelter or protection and frequently facing random acts of aggression against refugees enacted by the French authorities, it is hard to overestimate the impact and importance of the work that Help Refugees do. With the level of tragedy and seeming hopelessness of all that we face in the world today, we may have become somewhat desensitised or numbed to the suffering that fills the news on a daily basis. But when reading the blatant breaching of international law in Boris Johnson’s assurance that refugees attempting illegal Channel crossings will be ‘sent back’ – asylum is a right and claims have to be determined according to law and individual circumstance – it is important that we remember and engage with these individual stories, challenge divisive rhetoric with empathy and actively seek to see the good in people. Jessie Davie




ST JOHN’S COMMON ROOM This year I have had the opportunity to be the President of the St John’s Common Room. The SJCR President works closely with the executive committee and the Presidents of the Cranmer Common Room and Middle Common Room to support the students of St John’s and encourage new initiatives in College.

They revived art society. They started Eco Soc and the College blog (John’s Chronicle). One of them rowed for their country. One of them released an album. This really demonstrates how each year group can really shape St John’s and I look forward to seeing the SJCR grow and change in the future as each group of first years brings their own energy and ideas to college life.

The role is an interesting one because it involves being the only full-time paid member of the SJCR but working with a team of volunteers (which brings a whole set of challenges!) as well as being the chief executive of a charity straight after finishing university - a pretty big task!

Caragh Aylett, SJCR President 2018-19

Alongside these challenges, it’s a role that brings so many opportunities: I never thought this year would involve a Holocaust Educational Trust project in Poland, speaking at a conference with students from seven different universities around the world or organising a Christmas Festival, but all these things have been so interesting and added to what makes the role so worthwhile and exciting.

This year the SJCR launched the St John’s Community Arts Festival. This festival showcased student artwork along with a theatre performance written and performed by Johnians. The goal was to enable residents of Durham to come into John’s and experience a small part of our community.

One of my favourite things about being SJCR President has been seeing how each year group influences college life in different ways. In my speech at Leavers’ Formal, I reflected on this and wrote about some of the things that the graduating class have bought to John’s and I want to share these:

The event was a success with members of the public being welcomed into College to view the artwork on display, have a cup of tea and chat to Johnians. This was a great way to break down some of the barriers between the University and the local community and we were grateful to have so many students involved in the project.

They have given us a Disney themed and an Alice in Wonderland themed Bailey Ball. They established the feminist book club . They’ve posted so many year abroad Instagram posts. They have given us the new college drink (Baa Baa Blue Bishop) and renovated the ‘Upstairs Bar’ (Linton Bar). They have coached Novice Cup winners.

Alongside this, the SJCR has continued its commitment to community outreach through our arts and crafts project in a local primary school. We have also had the opportunity to take part in a ‘Community Fun Day’ which took place on Palace Green this summer and celebrated the volunteering that University staff and students do as well as the University’s community partners.


MIDDLE COMMON ROOM The past year has seen growth, change and success in the Middle Common Room. Events during induction week included the traditional matriculation ceremonies in the College Chapel and Cathedral, as well as an interesting Broaderlands Seminar and welcome drinks before the College Mega Party. Membership has been at its biggest since the MCR was formed and participation and attendance at events has been high throughout the year. It’s wonderful to see so many postgraduates at College Formal Hall and the PG turnout in the International Student Barometer helped the St John’s win the prize for the biggest turnout of all the Durham colleges. Continuing on last year’s renovation to the Postgraduate Centre sitting room, the MCR has fully funded refurbishment to our computer room, making it a more open, welcoming space for students to study. We have also held several formal dinners, and St John’s first Inter-MCR formal, where we welcomed students from all the other Durham colleges. Ours was dubbed the ‘best value for money’ of all the college formals.

University Mental Health Awareness Week and the Stressless Campaign. Academic support has also been a large part of Common Room life. Besides the Broaderlands Seminar Series, the MCR has also hosted a Postgraduate Study Forum for undergraduates interested in further study, which was available at Open Days and on the College website. We also produced an Exams Revision and Study Tips Guide for John’s undergrads during Easter Term. The MCR co-organised the first Winter Congregation event for postgraduates, together with the Senior Tutor’s Office. It was wonderful to celebrate postgraduate students’ hard work and I look forward to seeing graduands on 9th January 2020 for the next graduation dinner! It has been a huge privilege to lead the MCR this year and I am very grateful to the fantastic Exec for all their support and dedication to delivering a high standard of student experience, support and representation for the MCR community. I look forward to seeing how the Common Room will continue to flourish next year.

Postgraduate welfare provision has also been a priority for the MCR this year. For the first time, the MCR has organised weekly drop-ins in the Welfare Room, which have proven a great success. We’ve also published a Wellbeing Guide and held events for

Andrew Dean, MCR President 2018-2019

BROADERLANDS The Broaderlands Lecture Series kicked off early this year with Hispanic Studies PhD student Matthew Hilborn delivering a fascinating talk on the work of Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar. Matthew’s talk, entitled ‘Pedro Almodóvar: The King of Kitsch?’, examined the relationship between the outspoken blatancy of Almodóvar’s humour and the re-appropriation of cultural motifs of Francoism. This touched on many of the socio-political ambiguities of the wider cultural phenomenon labelled ‘La movida’, which constituted an explosion of newfound personal liberties in the immediate aftermath of Francoism. This was a thoroughly engaging talk, with Matthew clearly demonstrating the ways in which film can tell stories that might otherwise escape the mainstream historical narrative.

of machine learning for 5G cellular communication security. The talk centred on research carried out by Jamie, specifically on the use of machine learning as a mechanism for the detection of the pilot spoofing attacks, and the ways in which machine learning could be used to provide a countermeasure for unsecure communication in 5G networks at the physical layer. This was a well-attended talk given the relevance of the topic as it related to the development of the Huawei 5G network, and the controversies associated with this.

The Epiphany Term lecture was given by fourth year engineering student Jamie Mcquire, on the subject

Matt Hamaia, MCR Academic Affairs Officer

Both talks were lively, engaging and delivered by two confident and knowledgeable speakers on two diverse topics, with both speakers fielding a wide range of questions from the audience.


A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF CRANMER HALL A year of community People come to Cranmer for all sorts of reasons – some of us are training for ordination in the Church of England; some of us are studying for leadership in other denominations; and others are simply studying theology. Consequently, our community is made up of people from a whole variety of places and everyone has a story to tell. This year has been a great opportunity to hear each other’s stories, be inspired by one another and be encouraged too. This has often taken place whilst chatting in the common room, in our discipleship groups or eating cake in a coffee shops. We have also enjoyed sharing meals together as a community and a highlight for many this year has been our Safari Supper. This year has also been a year of getting to know many of the local communities in the North East through church placements, faith sharing weekends and our new Mission Study Block on ministering in areas of poverty. A year of learning Because people come to Cranmer from all sorts of backgrounds, including educationally, one of my favourite things this year has been learning alongside people who approach things in a whole variety of ways. And people who ask questions I would have never thought to ask, although now at the end of the year I think I am in a better position to articulate my questions now!

It has also been great to learn from people’s experiences, and the Q&A sessions with guest speakers for College Communion are much looked forward to. A year of celebration There have been lots of small celebrations throughout the year: getting essays in on time, delivering first sermons, making new friendships and strengthening existing ones. But there have also been a few big celebrations too. This year marked the 25th year of the ordination of women and as the first theological college to train women it was a great to celebrate all the past and present women who have been a part of our community. And of course another highlight of our year (spoiler alert) was winning the ‘Divine Intervention Award’ in the Durham Students’ Union elections and welcoming two alpacas to Johns for the afternoon. As well as being a really fun afternoon with all of Johns it was a wonderful display of unity and support across the whole of the College. And we are excited for similar future joint events with the whole of Johns in the year to come. Miriam Thurlow, CCR President 2019-20


ALPACAGATE In February 2019, the Durham Students’ Union offered a prize of an alpaca visit to the college with the highest voter turnout in the SU elections. When the voting began I noticed that the percentage of votes per college page on the SU website showed Cranmer Hall to be a separate college from John’s Hall; while this wasn’t a great sign for Johns-Cranmer unity its benefits emerged when it quickly became clear that if Cranmer students voted they could win the visit. Cranmer responded in their 10s increasing their voter turnout percentage with every single vote. Their passion for alpacas was evident and comments about the furry creatures could be herd all throughout College. Finally, Cranmer were in the lead ahead of second place Trevelyan College by almost 10%, but a final voting surge from the hexagonal college was feared. At 5pm voting closed and I apprehensively checked the stats - a Cranmer victory. Incredible. What a success! And then I heard it, mutters from other colleges and SU officers: ‘Cranmer isn’t a college, they can’t win’. A real di-llama was on our hands. By this point, Cranmer students were very excited about the upcoming visit. How could I tell them it might not materialise? How could I take their beloved alpacas away from them? I decided to keep this new information quiet to prevent Cranmerites from becoming too a-llama-d. I quickly thought through my options. A strongly worded email to the SU seemed most appropriate. Subject line ‘Alpacas for Vicars’ and six paragraphs

later it was complete. I knew a position in student politics would involve negotiation but this isn’t quite what I had expected. It was a tense few days while the SU deliberated my email (or rather circulated it for their own entertainment) and I waited patiently knowing that if this was not a success for Cranmer then an alpacalypse could be on our hands. The decision was to be announced at the SU election results night; I attended uninterested in the votes for the SU President instead waiting to hear about the alpaca visit. The decision was announced. Trevs were to receive the alpaca visit. What a disappointment! I thought al-pack-a my bag and leave when suddenly the compere explained that an additional award was to be presented that evening - ‘The Justice for Cranmer Award’, which also came to be known as the ‘Divine Intervention Award’. Thankfully, Cranmer Hall were the rightful winner and I was honoured to receive this award on their behalf. This prize was for Cranmer to also receive an alpaca visit. Amazing! Sammy and Malik the alpacas visited John’s in May. It was a wonderful day with both John’s Hall and Cranmer Hall students and families enjoying the event. Despite all the d-llama involved in the buildup, the alpaca visit to John’s was one of the highlights of the year celebrating animals, democracy and our diverse college - in the end there were really no prob-llamas. Caragh Aylett, SJCR President 2018-19


GREETINGS FROM THE CHAPLAIN Moving into the role of Chaplain at St John‘s has been a joy and a gift. From 2015-19, I was link tutor at Cranmer Hall for the East Durham Mission Project. During this time I was Priest-in-Charge of Shotton Colliery, Haswell and latterly South Hetton, all former mining communities in East Durham. Through the project, which is now a partnership, many Cranmer ordinands have played an exciting role in mission and ministry through a range of parish and deanery placements. It was a joy and privilege to be part of God’s mission in this way.

African ordinands, and a Leavers’ Service in the Cathedral with prayers offered through the creation of a fruitful vine.

When I sensed a call to a new parish in a part-time role, I knew this would mean handing on the link tutor’s baton, and probably moving on from College too. But God had other plans and the opportunity was there, at just the right time, to become Chaplain at St John’s alongside living and serving in the beautiful village of Brancepeth, home of the Durham University bell ringers. What a gift this is! Thus on 30th April 2019 I was licensed as College Chaplain by the Bishop of Jarrow, Rt Revd Sarah Clarke, who had just taken up her post as the first woman bishop in the Diocese of Durham. It was her first licensing, in a very joyful College Communion service, and we rejoiced in this event in the light of the significant part played by St John’s and Cranmer Hall in training women for ordained ministry in the Church of England.

The third and final gift I received was a College teddy bear, who has taken up residence in the Chaplain’s Office, ready to welcome visitors who drop in, and to oversee my correspondence and planning. This cheerful companion reminds me that everything we do and are at John’s is rooted in our relationships. A key part of my role as Chaplain is to be with people, offering welcome and hospitality, seeking to develop, strengthen or heal relationships in the name of Christ. I look forward with joy to all that the coming year brings and am thankful for the great gift of being chaplain here.


St John’s has a very diverse Postgraduate Community. Our Postgraduate students hail from all over the world and study a wide variety of different topics. Just to cite a few of the current projects our Postgraduates are investigating: how to and implement artificial intelligence for research and industrial purposes; the importance of social relationships in reshaping deprived areas; the message of loving the poor in the Gospel of John. A great mix of cultures, interests and backgrounds which enormously enriches the College life.

As I was welcomed I was given three gifts from the College: there is a good precedent for gifts coming in threes! Firstly, a very smart college umbrella, which has already been put to good use in walks up and down the Bailey. It’s a reminder that being Chaplain involves offering shelter in storms, walking alongside, listening, praying. My second gift was a College scarf, which will be greatly appreciated in the winter months. This reminds me that I am a member of the College, I belong to this remarkable community and have been called to serve all its members. Our College identity extends to every part of our shared life: for me this focuses especially on worship, in chapel, in Leech Hall and once a term in Durham Cathedral. We worship in a range of styles and services, celebrating the diversity and joy which this brings. In my first term, for example, we held a Eucharist using an anglican rite from Kenya and music led by our

As the Postgraduate and International Resident Tutor, I have been working with the Senior Tutor Office to promote integration between the different nationalities and identities of our community. I introduced a wide variety of activities from Café Scientifique, Language Café, film nights and an Italian language course, to weekly academic support drop in sessions and trips to local museums and nearby towns. For example, at each Café Scientifique, highly distinguished professors


COMMUNITY LIFE As a Fresher in John’s, it is easy to be initially overwhelmed in the Dining Hall, stressed over which way round the queue goes around the salad bar, how to loop up the stairs, and whether you’re allowed sausage, or bacon, or both. But the surge in your throat is probably mostly because of the mass of people before you and the decision facing you of where to take your place among the numbered. And once you make your choice to head down one of those tiny channels in between the tables, battling with your tray over and under the heads of your fellow students, there’s no going back. And so I found myself, eyes slightly bleary from lack of sleep, on the second week of my life in John’s at the end of a table of Cranmer students. There was no way of telling this. And then they burst into song and laughter, applause and celebration. Let’s just say that a Cranmer birthday is not forgotten easily. I was amongst Cranmer students for the first time. And I wasn’t sure what to think. I grew up around a Cathedral and knew a fair bit about training for ordination. But I’d never lived amongst a whole host of ordinands; I’d never shared a front door with them, or a table at breakfast. Were they a host of angels? They seemed like some mystical body, here but not here, integrated and yet distinct. Should I make some sort of holy comment or say grace? Probably not. I ate my croissant, trying to gracefully and holily deal with the erupting flakes at every bite, suddenly conscious of those called by God staring at me. I finished my

breakfast as another round of Happy Birthday began, got up, put my tray away, and returned to my room. I have grown, however, to truly value this unique part of our community. Cranmer students are just part of daily life in John’s. I still think they possess a holy aura, but it’s not one that feels hostile, or segregating. At the end of term, when I sat outside, drinking and chatting, inside the circle, after College Communion, I felt amongst friends. Cranmer students are welcoming and offer independent but invaluable pastoral support. They are motivators and cheerleaders, but they walk with you every step of the way. More importantly, they were never something to be intimidated by, and, although they were true angels for bringing alpacas to College, they are not some kind of blameless white visions. Human, kind and wise will be my lasting memories of my interactions with Cranmer this year. I hope that Cranmer-Johns relations will only grow. I would like to champion that there is no “us” and “them” but a “we,” joined by our common experiences of living and working in this historic and moving city. It is a privilege to be in a college that is a composite of all three common rooms, and that this is enjoyed by all. I know that I, for one, can’t wait to live in College next year, ready for more College Communion, uplifting chats in the dining hall, hugs on the street and laughter on Library Lawn. Catherine Perkins


from all over the world have presented, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, the very latest scientific discoveries and breakthroughs. Language Café, the Italian language course and trips to local areas were a great opportunity to learn and explore new cultures, as well as making new friends. Weekly academic support drop in sessions enriched the academic life of the College, offering a constant help to any students throughout the year, from clarifying tough new material at the start of the courses to helping effectively improve the final dissertation. It has been an invaluable pleasure to help the Postgraduate Community grow as a whole body of friendly and supportive independent thinkers who are keen to start conversations with each other and creating a warm atmosphere of mutual enrichment, but most importantly, willing to stand in when the need unexpectedly arises. Miro Cafolla, Postgraduate & International Tutor


Artwork by Katie Ross

SENIOR COMMON ROOM The SCR has had a glorious year of events, of meals, culture and conversation. Our membership has continued to grow and our common room has been refurbished delightfully by Dr Rebecca Bouveng and Dani O’Hagan.

The Burns Night formal was organised with seamless grace by Sally Hewett. This year, in addition to a theatrical address to the haggis, a scholarly and entertaining toast to the immortal memory, and banter-filled toasts to the lads and lassies we enjoyed the services of a ceilidh band. A rousing mixture of dances and lilting songs sent us glowing into the night.

For our intellectual stimulation we had after dinner speakers on campinology and stained glass. Dr Dorothy Nicholas inducted us into the fascinating world of bells, giving us a comprehensive and local history of bell-ringing. Sarah Kenny, a freelance window designer, gave us a beautifully illuminating insight into the world of stained glass creation and conservation. We were also thrilled by a tour of the Learning Resource Centre by the Principal.

Richard Roberts has taken over from Sally as Social Secretary. Susan Notess has retired as Secretary after a year wonderfully wrangling our membership database, to spend more time with her PhD, replaced by Dr Matthew Funnell. This coming year we will have two new committee positions, of younger and older members’ representatives, to ensure the SCR continues to provide a community for all who wish to participate in the life of the College.

Our formals this year have been full of music. The Chapel Choir sang movingly at our pre-Christmas formal. I am told that following dinner, after refreshing their voices, they continued to carol late into the night.

Dr Benedict Douglas, SCR President

Thanks to the generous help of SCR Members and others within the community, the College chapel, St Mary-the-Less has been open to visitors on Saturdays throughout term time and during Heritage Open Days. Patricia and Jim Francis, pictured, are such dedicated volunteers. They comment “We see Chapel stewarding as a way of supporting the College, its outreach and the opportunity to give it a profile in the wider community. We’ve found our experience with visitors so worthwhile; hearing stories from locals who for years walked past wondering what the Chapel was like inside, and now here they are experiencing its beauty for themselves! There have also been visitors from USA, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, as well as various parts of the UK. They all express delight in their visit at the historical connections, the individuals and families associated

with the Chapel, and not least that it is an active worship building for College students, complete with an Organ scholar!” If you would like to volunteer your time as a Chapel steward, please contact


Revd Steve Muneza (pictured left) is the new Director of Formation and Mixed-Mode Training at Cranmer Hall. Steve was Associate Minister in the North Durham Team and is completing a PhD in Ethics and Entrepreneurship with Lambeth Palace Research Degrees. Before moving to Durham, Steve was involved in developing the Bujumbura Christian University in Burundi, a new University in his home country. Steve oversees the existing placement programme at Cranmer Hall which enables students to experience an unrivalled range of mission and ministry contexts. He also leads the new Mixed-Mode Pathway, which is designed to give students the best of residential theological training and an in-depth experience of a local missional church. Revd Dr Will Foulger (pictured right) became Director of Mission and Evangelism at Cranmer Hall in June. Before starting training at Cranmer Hall in 2013, Will was a secondary school teacher in Kent; during his time at Cranmer Hall he undertook doctoral studies entitled ‘Present in Every Place: The Church of Engand and the Parish Principle’. Since 2016 Will served as curate of Trinity Church Nottingham. In his role at Cranmer Hall he teaches Mission and Evangelism, Missional Entrepreneurship, as well as an MA in Missional Ecclesiology.

COMINGS & I have worked as a librarian for many years, first in public libraries and later at Durham University Library. I have now worked at St John’s for 14 years! I have many memories here; a few years ago I found a bat lying on the floor of the old library, so I covered it with an upturned bin and called Alan Usher from the maintenance team. He arrived and carefully picked up the bat (with bare hands) and carried it outside. After a few moments it flew away, apparently unharmed. I have seen many changes in College over the years; changes of staff, changes of use of rooms (that happens a lot) and of course the big change of moving the library into the LRC. I really looked forward to settling in there! For me, John’s is a vibrant community that is led expertly by our Principal and our team of College Officers. When I retire in winter 2019 I will miss the people most of all. Jane Ghosh


David Goodhew has moved on from Cranmer Hall, where he has served as Director of Ministerial Practice since 2008. David moved to Middlesbrough, where he is vicar of St Barnabas Church. His wife, Lindsey Goodhew, who is known to many at John’s, moved from being Associate Minister at St Nics Church, Durham to being Associate Minister of St Barnabas, Middlesbrough. David writes ‘Cranmer Hall and John’s Hall form a unique community. It has been hugely stimulating and a huge privilege to be part of its work.’ David will continue to be linked with St John’s by becoming a Visiting Fellow and by continuing as co-director, with Johnian Ant Cooper, of the Centre for Church Growth Research.


SJCBC Rowing at St John’s occupies a central place in the sporting life of the College, as the members of the Boat Club continue to develop and perform on both the River Wear and beyond. At all levels, St John’s College fields competitive crews that punch above their weight and are a credit to the hard work of the members. Once again, the now mature and well-oiled Novice Development Programme welcomed eager Freshers to be paired with rowers from the Senior Squads, who coached, encouraged and cajoled the raw recruits into winning crews during the dark mornings and rainy days. The Royal County Plate was returned to the Bailey Room trophy cabinet, as the men’s crews placed 3rd and 11th, while the women’s crews swept the leader board, finishing 1st, 2nd, 4th, 12th and 22nd. This year, the Boat Club has been able to take advantage of the recently built College Cardio Gym and the eight ergometers housed there (I am told that no other college boat club in Durham has access to so many ergometers at their own college). After the annual Christmas Dinner and a much needed break, members took full advantage of these ergs as we set our sights on the Eights Head of the River Race on the Tideway course. After competing at the Durham Small Boats Head in coxed-fours, two men’s eights and a women’s eight were formed with a competitive 5 kilometre ergo test. All three crews enjoyed racing at the Yorkshire Head of the River, providing much needed experience for our novice rowers and coxswains. Alas the Women’s Eights Head was cancelled due to weather conditions, while the men’s crews did not deliver the results that SJCBC has come to expect at the Eights Head. Nevertheless, the crews enjoyed meeting alumni at the Regatta Blue Club lunch after the race. I am reminded of race founder Steve Fairburn’s famous quip, “My dear boy, you are under a wrong impression. It is not a race, it is merely a means of getting crews to do long rows,” as the winter training would reap rewards during Easter Term.

After an encouraging week of pre-season training, we were hopeful for the first sprint of the Easter Term: Durham City Regatta. Despite consisting of half the field in the Open Novice IV category, all three of our crews were knocked out in the heats, and our other crews did not perform well either. Never mind – we were charged for the next events on the horizon: Hexham and Durham. At Hexham, the experience of the previous races and the focus in training was evident: John’s crews consistently leapt off the start, giving a number of wins with, “Verdict: Easily!” The men’s 2nd IV defeated the Trevelyan crew, winners at Durham City, and got to the final of their band. Unfortunately, they were undone by the marshals’ rushed, “Attention, go!” familiar at so many provincial regattas, and started their final against the Josephine Butler crew a length down, and despite making up ground throughout the race, they were unable to take the prize. The men’s 1st IV likewise breezed to the final of their band, where they came up against a DUBC crew. Despite pulling ahead at the start, and maintaining their lead for the first half of the race, they ultimately lost by half a length. Sadly, I am unable to report the results of Durham Regatta, as the event was cancelled due to heavy rainfall. No matter – we had just finished exams, and the Boat Club alumni who had gathered to watch the racing joined the crews in the Court Inn. As Captain, I am very proud of the growth and development of all the members, and I leave a healthy and thriving club behind. In addition, our alumni organisation, the Regatta Blue Club, has continued to expand, as members regularly take the opportunity of our meet-ups at major races to catch-up with old friends and to meet current rowers at St John’s. For more information, please visit our website: or write to the Captain of Boats at Fergus Walsh, Captain of Boats


CHAPEL CHOIR In the first term of the academic year 2018-19, the Chapel Choir were directed by PhD student and ex-John’s choral scholar Christopher Blakey. Under his direction, the choir continued to lead weekly choral evensong in the Chapel of St Mary the Less alongside the ordinands of Cranmer Hall. The choir sang for the SCR Advent Celebrations, as well as singing at a service of College Communion which, rather bizarrely, took place amidst the remnants of a Disney-themed Bailey Ball. At the end of term, the choir joined with other groups and members of St John’s for an atmospheric Advent Carols Service in Durham Cathedral. The service was structured around the texts of the ‘O Antiphons’; inspired by this, the choir commissioned and premiered O Sapientia – composed by Lizzy Hardy – as part of the service. At the beginning of the second term, Chris handed over to Andrew Reid, who remained as Music Director throughout the rest of the academic year.

Under his leadership, the Choir led services of choral evensong in the cathedrals of Durham, York, and Ripon, as well as most recently at Hexham Abbey. The Choir once again joined with the college community in a celebratory leavers’ service at the cathedral. Lizzy’s piece The Lord Bless You and Keep You was given its second performance, having received its premiere at the same service last year. In July the Choir went on tour to Budapest, where they sang a number of concerts and sampled plenty of goulash. The Choir recently appointed a new Director of Music for the next academic year, and looks forward to welcoming Mrs Reid.

JMS This year has been another great one for John’s Music Society (JMS) in which the standard of music has continued to be very high and all of our members have been as dedicated and enthusiastic as ever. Michaelmas 2018 was particularly busy for the Society and began with Matriculation, where a motley band of instrumentalists helped create a party atmosphere on the Bailey for the Freshers arriving back at College after the ceremony in the Cathedral.

This was followed by the Fresher’s Open Mic, which was a fantastic opportunity for lots of new faces to showcase their talent, as well as returning members to reprise some beloved classics. All of our bi-termly open mic nights have been just as successful and often feature compositions by members of the College, alongside more well-known songs. All this, of course, ending with a rousing rendition of Country Roads. In December, our new Chamber Choir performed alongside Chapel Choir in the Cathedral for the St John’s Carol Service, which was a beautiful way to get into the Christmas spirit. Members from both of our choirs also went to sing carols at St Cuthbert’s Hospice at the end of term, taking requests for old favourites and encouraging our audience to sing along. Epiphany term saw JMS’s Big Band as the star performers at a special Jazz Formal and they also helped us round out the year by performing at John’s Day. A big thank you must go to the 2018/19 exec, who did such an amazing job and we look forward to seeing what 2019/20 has in store! Abigail Coskun, JMS President


UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE I’ve always been an inquisitive person. Since a young age, I’ve loved reading and learning new things – and remembering them too. I spent many a while reading things like lists of capital cities and flags, and committing them to memory.

every week for training sessions; borrowing a set of comedy buzzers from the Quiz Society and reading questions from a collected book. This was the time where I got to know my absolutely fantastic team mates a lot better: Sian Round, fellow Johnian and a particularly dab hand on art and film; Cam Yule, whose literature (and cricket) knowledge proved invaluable; and Ben Murray, our resident scientist, helping us to pick up points in chemistry and physics. Special mention goes to Will Tams, our reserve, who patiently came to training every week and was with us every step of the way despite not appearing on the screen itself.

My first experience with University Challenge came when I was about 15 or 16, when I first watched it on TV with my dad. Since then, I’ve been hooked. Finally, all that time I spent learning ‘useless’ facts came in handy. At first, I started playing along for fun, but it soon became competitive when I started keeping track of my score. When I started getting scores of 20 or 30 questions on an episode, I started to think to myself that this was something I could do. Since then it was one of my main ambitions of being in University to be able to make it onto the show. Coming to Durham in 2016, it was soon announced that try-outs would be taking place for the inter-college tournament. I signed up and made it on to the John’s team. Although we won the inter-college tournament that year, the TV trials didn’t go so well. That meant my dream just had to wait. Undeterred, I tried again the following year, making the John’s team again. Although we were eliminated in the quarter-finals, I was surprised to receive an e-mail that I had been selected to represent the Durham team in the 2018-19 series! On top of that, I’d get to be captain of the team! The next stage was the interview in Edinburgh with the producers. We didn’t get off to an auspicious start, as train cancellations meant that Cam Yule was going to be late to the interview. Furthermore, when we heard the selection test questions, we all thought that it was the end of the road for us given how tough they turned out to be. So, you can imagine the surprise when I rushed out of my lecture to take the phone call that confirmed our place on the TV!

Finally, on a fateful weekend in February, we made our way to MediaCity in Salford for the show! It was a real eye-opening experience, seeing the behind-the-scenes of TV programmes. (The make-up room was particularly interesting!) I was a real bag of nerves that day; I still didn’t know how we would fare and how good the opposition would be. Eventually, we were led to take our seats in the famous studio. This is a photo of us before our very first match against Strathclyde. Although you can’t tell, I was shivering in this photo from the nerves of playing. Would we embarrass ourselves on national TV? In the end, I think we did far better than any of us were expecting: with a 360-55 win, we managed to break all sorts of record (the highest score since 2000!). I think I can speak for all of us when I say that every step of the journey went further than any of us could have ever imagined. We kept coming back for more, taking out Keble College Oxford in the second round and then Glasgow and Edinburgh in the quarter-final stages to reach the semi-finals. Having never thought we would even make the TV, being one of the top 4 teams of the series was both amazing and humbling.

Now that we were going to appear on TV, it was time to put in quite a bit of effort. After all, nobody wanted to go on the show looking silly. We decided to meet

Unfortunately, our run was broken in the semi-finals by Edinburgh in our rematch. They were later crowned series champions.


To everyone who’s been supporting us throughout this entire journey, I want to say that I feel so honoured that I’ve been able to make your Monday evenings just a little bit brighter. Though we didn’t quite make it all the way, it’s been amazing having you all root for us. The other contestants, too, have been such lovely people to meet and having their collective support has been a real comfort. We’ve definitely made friends through the show and we do still keep in touch.

So, it looks like University Challenge is at an end for me… or is it? While I’ll never be able to take part again, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped quizzing! In March I was part of the Durham team at the British Student Quiz Championships, where we came a respectable 8th of 28. I will also be the President of Durham’s Quiz Society for 2019-20, where I hope to help the next prospective University Challengers get on to the show and succeed. Matthew Toynbee

JOHN’S CHRONICLE It has been an incredible privilege to coordinate the John’s Chronicle over its first year and to be a part of its foundations before watching it grow and develop. I believe the blog achieves its goal of ‘bringing together all things Johnian’, capturing the joyful and inclusive spirit of John’s by being open to a diversity of writers, whether past or present students, from the UK or abroad, passionate about books or black holes… the John’s Chronicle has captured it all! The Senior Team has been absolutely phenomenal in working together to get the blog off to a flying start, and our regular contributors have worked incredibly hard to produce fascinating and insightful content. The John’s Chronicle has thus begun in true John’s spirit: everyone has come together to demonstrate what a beautiful, diverse and passionate community our College is, and is extremely proud of what we have created.

It has been especially inspiring to see how many students wanted to write on environmental, ethical or wellbeing issues, and produced really helpful articles on how readers can lead more positive lives. My favourite articles have been the ones where writers are honest and share their raw experiences, because their words come alive and can have such an impact. I am so glad that they have found that the Chronicle has given them a platform to use their voice. Sarah Garland, Coordinator 2018-19 Check out the blog at and Humans of John’s on Instagram @humansofjohns


s ’ n h o J t S t a ade


The first Fairtrade shop in college appeared with Richard Adams, founder of Traidcraft, when he started selling products from his room and then out of a window onto the Bailey in the 1960s. Over 40 years later I was elected with two friends to run the Just World Shop, mainly because we liked the idea of controlling the chocolate provision in College, but also because despite not knowing that much about Fairtrade, we felt that it was definitely a Good Thing. The shop was also open to the public, and it was staffed by both John’s and Cranmer students. The door was always open and was a main route into College, so it was a very sociable job. We sold a lot of chocolate, but also cookies, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fizzy drinks, peanut butter, plus crafts, jewellery and cards… all fairly and ethically produced. I’m aware it sounds amazing and we definitely got carried away ordering lots of great stuff, which was not always a financially excellent approach. So there were some tricky times, like when I ordered loads of parsnip crisps that nobody wanted (I was just ahead of my time). The shop’s profits went to relevant charities such as Tearfund, and at the end of our year as managers we changed the profits process so that the SJCR could vote on which charities they wanted to support every term, to keep it relevant and reactive to situations around the world. It wasn’t just about the shop! We also raised awareness of Fairtrade in College and the wider community through bake sales, film nights and talks. We also regularly ran food and drink stalls at College events like John’s Day and SJCR meetings, and had a stall on the Durham City markets where we developed a friendly rivalry with another Fairtrade seller from the indoor market. We were also part of the Durham City Fairtrade working group and helped to get Fairtrade City status for Durham, which was pretty major. We were lucky that we inherited such a well-established and well-loved institution, and I am sad that we no longer have a shop in College. But today we do have brilliant, resourceful and ethically-minded students and staff, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds. Dani O’Hagan, Resident Tutor



AND NOW Since the Just World Shop closed around 10 years ago, our Fairtrade provision has gradually dwindled. Resident Tutors Dani and Matt both have a keen interest in Fairtrade – Matt from his time in Malawi doing poverty alleviation work with subsistence farmers, and Dani from her time as Just Word Shop manager when she was a John’s undergrad. So we decided to use Fairtrade Fortnight to gauge interest amongst current students, raise awareness about related causes, and to hopefully re-launch some long-term Fairtrade activity in College. We received an overwhelming response to our call to get involved, and were able to set up a working group of enthusiastic people from our undergraduate, postgraduate and Cranmer communities. Fairtrade is clearly still one of those causes that feels relevant to everyone.

The SJCR Fairtrade Rep, Leo, used his other role as part of the bar team to throw a Fairtrade cocktail night. He also introduced us all to Fairtrade quinoa vodka, which was a delicious revelation and will now be a permanent feature of the bar’s spirit selection. Another highlight was the bake sale, boosted by the Fairtrade flour and sugar donated by the University. We started an SJCR Fairtrade Fund, giving power to the SJCR to decide how they want to support Fairtrade causes and activities. The group also shared knowledge and information on Fairtrade causes via interactive posters in the dining room, and through posts on the John’s Tutors Instagram (@johnstutors). It was lovely to have such support from everyone across College throughout the fortnight, and it was such a positive and inspiring couple of weeks. It was great to see that John’s still cares about these issues, and we have big plans for the coming year. Leo has achieved a lot in getting Fairtrade products into the bar, and he has now handed over to an enthusiastic trinity of new Fairtrade reps – Lucy, Ciara and Eryn. We are really hopeful about the future of Fairtrade in College and invite current students and alumni with ideas or advice to get involved!

Events which the working group organised included a Quizzing Fairtrade night, during which Matt tested everyone’s knowledge on global trade issues and got us all to think more deeply about our motivations and priorities as consumers. All while eating Fairtrade chocolate and snacks, which was ideal. We also organised the Fairtrade and Eco formal, with John’s alumnus and all-round Fairtrade hero Richard Adams as the guest of honour. He gave a most illuminating speech and happily stayed to chat to us over cheese.

ECO-FESTIVAL In June St John’s College organised ‘Whole Earth Eco-Festival’ in conjunction with the Business School and Hard Rain Project. Part of this was the Whole Earth Photo & Poetry Competition, which invited Durham students and staff to take photos and write poetry inspired by three of the sustainable development goals (prizewinners pictured). There was also a session exploring the eco-system and wildlife of the outside area Principal’s Walk on the banks stretching down to the River Wear, guided by members of St John’s Eco-Society. Professor Geoff Moore, Durham University Business School, gave a seminar offering a critical perspective on business ethics given the imperatives of climate action. The recent reports on the need to keep global warming below 1.5oC, and the implications of the loss

of bio-diversity and eco-system services, provide fresh impetus to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These then set a serious agenda for business organisations and for business ethics. How are business organisations responding, and what needs to change? Events culminated with the festival at College; a day packed with good food (good in every sense of the word), outdoor activities and space to reflect on our responsibilities to the whole earth.


WELLBEING WEEK In February the SJCR Welfare Team organised the first ever John’s-Chad’s Wellbeing Week. It was a wonderful week aiming to promote the importance of mental health. The week began with three ‘Wellbeing Talks’: Jessie and Sarah from SCA’s Generations Together told us about how this project helps to improve the wellbeing of both student volunteers and service users. Our PhD student Jess discussed interesting facts about sleep while giving some tips on how to get the most out of sleep to maximise our wellbeing and academic success. Lydia, a volunteer at an adult mental health centre in Durham City, spoke about how to support ourselves, others, and the local community. On Tuesday there was a CoppaFeel Bake Sale in the Dining Hall, which aimed to raise awareness about breast cancer while raising money for this charity. Through this we wanted to remind students that mental wellbeing is tightly linked to physical health and thus, it is equally important to take care of our minds and our bodies.

The Wellbeing Formal on Wednesday included mental wellbeing tips and mental health myths & facts on the tables, and was concluded by Rebecca Bouveng’s speech about the importance of mental health. To help students to reduce stress, there was a Yoga class on Thursday led by Debbie from Calm to the Core. Not only did we have a chance to de-stress but Debbie taught us some useful breathing exercises, which can be easily practiced at home when feeling anxious or overwhelmed. The final event of the week was a Festival of Wellbeing at St Chad’s College – a day full of live music, games and good food. Overall, the week was very successful and a great way to collaborate with our neighbouring college – let’s just hope it will become a new tradition! Marie Polaskova

ACADEMIC JOURNAL Over the last academic year it has been my pleasure to see one of Caragh’s manifesto points as SJCR President become a reality – the initiation of a new academic journal for St John’s College. The goal was to showcase the fascinating and creative research which goes on at all levels of College life, from freshers to PhD. The editorial committee was formed in July 2018, and we were quickly inundated with more pieces of work than we could accommodate in the first edition. After selecting papers which covered a wide range of topics and years of study, from all three faculties, it was wonderful to publish and launch the maiden edition in December 2018. The level of interest in the first edition spurred us on to create a second one, which we are in the middle of proof-editing as I write. This time we had to whittle down 40+ papers to 8, which was no easy feat! But what a joy it was to have so many excellent papers submitted – I read every single one myself, and

learnt a huge amount (and they’re all on file for use in the future, even if we didn’t select them this time). It has been a pleasure to lead the journal’s editorial team this year, and to see how proud so many students are of their work. My heartfelt thanks go to Lilly Buonasorte, Eleanor Dye, Zachary Greenan, Luke Johnson-Davies and Caragh Aylett for all of their hard work on the journal this year. I truly hope we’ve begun something which will showcase John’s academic talent for many years to come, inviting each of us to expand our horizons and our minds a little further. The online version of the first edition is available to view at academic-journal-volume-one-final Keep your eyes peeled for the second edition, coming soon! Jennie Riley


DESECULARISATION OF THE CITY St Paul’s Cathedral Conference focuses on Research from Cranmer Hall New research from Cranmer Hall, entitled The Desecularisation of the City: London’s Churches, 1980 to the Present was the centre of a conference on Friday 15 March 2019 organised by St Paul’s Institute and held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. The conference was attended by church leaders from across London and from a wide range of denominations, including the Rt Revd Sarah Mulally, Bishop of London, who shared her perspectives on the capital. Desecularisation of the City is an academic volume newly published by Routledge. It is based on the research of an international team of 21 researchers, edited by David Goodhew and Anthony-Paul Cooper. David and Anthony-Paul oversee the Centre for Church Growth Research (CCGR), based in Cranmer Hall. London has long been seen as an example of secularisation. But research shows that number of congregations in London has risen by 50% since 1979. Sunday attendance has risen significantly in the same period. Alongside this, London’s congregations have become hugely diverse - diverse ethnically and diverse in terms of denomination. London has long been cited as an example of secularisation, but this new work shows it has desecularised in recent decades. Such findings run against wider narratives that emphasise the secularisation of the UK. So it is important to note that they are soundly based. The findings come from widely respected survey data,

which has been tested via a range of detailed case studies and further refined through a wide range of respected academic research – all of which shows the overall vigour of London’s churches. London is not the same as the rest of the UK, but it is not entirely different either. It represents around 13% of the UK’s population and trends that happen in London have a tendency to ripple outwards. Thus, the ethnic diversification of London is spreading across much of the country. Earlier research by CCGR on the North East region of England, historically the least diverse part of England, found that 125 new congregations have been founded there since 1980, many of which are highly diverse ethnically. Beyond this, London is a centre of economic and cultural life and innovations in the capital tend to spread across the UK. Significant parts of the UK are seeing secularisation, but London shows that significant parts are desecularising at the same time. Desecularisation of the City is part of a longstanding programme of research based at the Centre for Church Growth Research, part of Cranmer Hall. The Centre has published four volumes of academic research in partnership with Routledge. It has produced major research studies, research commissioned by wider bodies, such as the Church Commissioners of the Church of England and a range of other pieces of research and work for the media. You can follow the Centre via twitter @ CCGR_Durham and find out more via its website


ACADEMIC ACTIVITY Joseph Bullock PhD Researcher, Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology

Publications: J. Bullock, M. Luengo-Oroz, Automated Speech Generation from UN General Assembly Statements: Mapping Risks in AI Generated Texts, AI for Social Good Workshop, 36th International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) (2019) J. Bullock, C. Cuesta-Lazaro, A. Quera-Bofarull, XNet: a convolutional neural network (CNN) implementation for medical x-ray image segmentation suitable for small datasets, Proc. SPIE 10953, Medical Imaging 2019: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging (2019) A. Mashhadi, M. Luengo-Oroz, J. Bullock, J. Boy, Biases and harms in Artificial Intelligence: Practical guidelines for social impact data scientists, UN Global Pulse Lectures and presentations: ‘Data Science for Humanitarian Relief’. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (2019) ‘A complex systems approach to AI and converging technologies’, ITU AI for Good Global Summit (2019) ‘AI for Social Good’, Second Annual Conference of the Durham University STFC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science (2019) ‘Humanitarian uses of AI’, Durham University Advanced Research Computing launch event (2019) ‘Segmenting X-Ray Images with Neural Networks’, Live Demonstration, Showcase event, United Kingdom House of Commons (2019)

Revd Dr Andrew Byers Director of the Free Church Track and Lecturer in New Testament

Staff and PhD students at St John’s participate in a wide range of academic research and engagements, from artificial intelligence, science and law to a new theology podcast.

‘Applied Ethics in Data Analytics’, Guest Lecture, Data Analytics and Metrics for the Nonprofit Sector, Columbia University School of Professional Studies (2019) ‘Segmenting X-Ray Images with Neural Networks’, Live Demonstration, Computer- Aided Diagnosis Workshop, SPIE Medical Imaging (2019) ‘Satellite Image Analysis for Humanitarian Relief’, InsureTech Alliance Meeting (2019) ‘Satellite Image Analysis for Humanitarian Relief’, Center for Data Science, New York University (2018) ‘Introduction to Machine Learning’, 4-day workshop, IBEX Innovations Ltd. (2018) X-Ray Image Segmentation, First Annual Conference of the Durham University STFC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science (2018) Hey Google: Show me a llama: An Introduction to Machine Learning, Josephine Butler Research Forum, Durham University (2018) Service to the profession: Organiser and Track Chair, AI for Social Good Workshop, NeurIPS Convener, Annual Young Experimentalists and Theorists Institute Convener, 11th Annual Young Theorists Forum (2018) Reviewer, Computers and Geosciences, Elsevier Awards and Fellowships: Best Student Paper: SPIE Medical Imaging 2019: Biomedical Applications in Molecular, Structural, and Functional Imaging UN Global Pulse Research Fellowship Intel Research Award NVIDIA Hardware Grant Best Presentation: Josephine Butler Research Forum, Durham University

Publications: “Jesus and Politics,” Preach Magazine. Issue 18, Spring 2019, The Political Issue (pp. 19–24). Review of Michael Gorman, Abide and Go: Missional Theosis in the Gospel of John, Catholic Biblical Quarterly (2019).


Review of Adele Reinhartz, Cast out of the Covenant: Jews and Anti-Judaism in the Gospel of John, Review of Biblical Literature (2019). Preaching and teaching: New Wine, United 18, Bible Co-Teacher for the Hungry Venue

Leadership Training for Junction 42—“The Relational Leader,” “Leaving Leadership Legacies,” and “Leading through Dystopia,” September 2018.

Response to Michael J. Gorman’s paper, “The New Perspective on John: Ethics, Mission, Theosis” at the British New Testament Conference, St Mary’s University Twickenham (September 2018).

Clodomiro Cafolla PhD Researcher, Condensed Matter Physics, Physics Department

A non-destructive method to calibrate the torsional spring constant of atomic force microscope cantilevers in viscous environments. Poster presented at the prestigious Sci-Mix session at the American Chemical Society National Meeting. 25-29 August 2019 San Diego CA, USA Lubricated friction around surface nano-defects. Poster presented at “Microscience Microscopy Congress 2019”organised by the Royal Microscopy Society. 1-4 July 2019 Manchester UK.

Lectures and presentations: Lubricated friction at Surface Nano-Defects, talk at the American Chemical Society National Meeting. 25-29 August 2019 San Diego CA, USA

Awards: Winner of the Bruker Bursary 2019 for the Microscience Microscopy Congress 2019 Grant from Institute of Advances Studies, May 2019

A non-destructive method to calibrate the torsional spring constant of atomic force microscope cantilevers in viscous environments. Poster presented at general session of the American Chemical Society National Meeting. 25-29 August 2019 San Diego CA, USA

Dr Benedict Douglas Assistant Professor in Law

Publications: Too Attentive to our Duty: The Fundamental Conflict Underlying Human Rights Protection in the UK. Legal Studies 38(3): 360-378. The mtDNA of Human Rights. Science, Technology, & Human Values 43(1): 86-94.

“John 1:1–18 as a Deification Text: The Ecclesial Vision of Filiation and Divine-Human Exchange in the Fourth Gospel’s Prologue,” for the Society of Biblical Literature, in the Biblical Exegesis from Eastern Orthodox Perspectives Seminar Group, Denver (November 2018).

“The Fundamental Tension Underlying the UK Constitution” UKCLA Blog Public lectures: “He loved Big Brother” But what of the state’s love for the citizen? Constitutionalism, Scale and Tyranny. Durham, England. “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.” The importance of AI being able to say no, Regulating Intelligence: The Challenge of Consciousness in New Forms of Life. Newcastle, England.


Rosalind Jelfs Senior Customer Services Coordinator, Bill Bryson Library

Conference talks: ‘Supporting students with specific study needs: The importance of collaboration’, Durham University Learning and Teaching Conference, September 2018. ‘Food for thought: Managing a changing food and drink policy’. Customer Services Group UK Annual Conference, November 2018.

Revd Dr Nick Moore MA Director and Tutor, Cranmer Hall

Publications: ‘Heaven’s Revolving Door? Cosmology, Entrance, and Approach in Hebrews’, Bulletin for Biblical Research 29.2 (2019). The Christian Life in Hebrews, Grove Booklet, Biblical Series (Cambridge: Grove Books, 2019).

Revd Dr Philip Plyming Warden, Cranmer Hall

Speaking engagements: ‘“He sat down”: Christ’s Session in the Heavenly Tabernacle as the End of His Offering’, with response from David M. Moffitt; British New Testament Conference, Twickenham, September 2018. ‘Engaging Popular Culture: Murder Mysteries’, Durham Apologetics Network, Newton Hall, March 2019. ‘What has the early church ever done for us?’, Talking Theology, Podcast Interview (May 2019), ‘“Repetition in Hebrews” and “A Perfect Priest”’, New Books Network: New Books in Biblical Studies, Podcast Interview (January 2019), Other speaking/preaching engagements include: St Paul’s and Whitworth Churches and Mothers’ Union (Spennymoor); Holy Trinity Southwick (Sunderland); St Bartholomew’s (Croxdale); Oxford Road Baptist Church (Hartlepool).

Speaking engagements: September 2018 – East Durham Filling Station Abiding April 2019 - Churches Together in Chester le Street ‘the Flesh’ May 2019 – St John’s College Leadership Programme – ‘Vision: What it is and why it matters’ Podcast: Hosts fortnightly Cranmer Hall podcast Talking Theology since Jan 2019. Interviewed John Barclay, David Wilkinson, Ruth Perrin, Miriam Swaffield among others. Available via iTunes, Spotify and other podcast providers and at


Revd Prof David WIlkinson Principal

Publications: Faith, Hope and Quarks: The Search for God D. Wilkinson, 2018. In A Reckless God? Currents and Challenges in the Christian Conversation with Science, Eds. Roland Ashby Chris Mulherin John Pilbrow and Stephen Ames, ISCAST Nexus Books, Victoria, pp. 272-275. Why should theology take SETI seriously?, D. Wilkinson, 2018. Theology and Science, 16, 4, 427-438 Is Christianity Compatible with Science? D. Wilkinson, 2018. METconnexion, Spring, p.22-23 More than science alone: A glimpse into the mind of God, D.Wilkinson, 2018. Faith Initiative, Autumn, p. 48. Media: UCB Radio ‘The significance of Apollo 11’ Faraday Insitute - Science & Eternity Project Filming ‘The nature of time’ BBC Beyond Belief ‘The exploration of space’ MET Filming ‘Living the Faith’ Video Resource for young people’ Various interviews and contributions to BBC local radio stations BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day Songs of Praise Various media interviews in Kiev, Ukraine

Matt Williams PhD Student

Public lectures: Spring Harvest , Harrogate, ‘When I pray what does God do’ Science and Faith Series at Liverpool Cathedral, ‘Science, Religion and SETI’ Queen’s University, Belfast, ‘ Science, Religion and SETI’ ETS Walton Lecture, Dublin, ‘Science, Religion and SETI’ The Legacy of Stephen Hawking conference, Jerusalem, ‘The end of the Universe and resurrection’ Faraday Annual Lecture, Cambridge, ‘Science, Religion and SETI’ American Academy of Reigion, Denver, ‘One or many incarnations’ AudioVisual Myth European Conference, Madrid, ‘The Power of the Force: Stars Wars and visual myths of creation and redemption’ Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary, Kiev, ‘Hawking, Dawkins and God: Science and Faith in the media’ National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, Kiev, God, the Big Bang and Stephen Hawking: Cosmology and theology in dialogue. IFES-Ukraine, Kiev, ‘How can you be a scientist and a Christian?’ Open Orthodox University St Sophia, Kiev, ‘Science, Religion and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’ Methodist Girls School, Singapore, ‘The Search for God: Does Science help?’ Covenant Community Methodist Church, Singapore, ‘God, the Big Bang and Stephen Hawking’, ‘Science, Christianity and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence’, ‘Communicating Faith in a Science dominated World’, ‘A Christian Understanding of Creation’ After Science and Religion Conference, University of Cambridge ‘Pop science and pop theology’

Conference talks: “Does ‘Spiritual’ Love Fill the Hungry? Poverty in Johannine Perspective” – Paper at the British New Testament Society conference, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, 8/9/2018 “The Relationship between Conversion and Almsgiving” – Paper given at the Conference for Religious and Philosophical Conversion, Universität Bonn, 29/9/2018


A NEW PODCAST Since its launch in January, Talking Theology, the podcast by Cranmer Hall has welcomed a range of theologians and church leaders covering topics ranging from comedy to suffering, science to religious freedom. People have listened in across the globe to conversations which seek to join the dots between theology, church and the world. The first ten episodes has seen the podcast’s host, Philip Plyming (Warden of Cranmer Hall), welcome Prof David Wilkinson for a conversation on science and theology, Prof John Barclay (Durham University) on grace, Miriam Swaffield (Fusion) on how young people are coming to faith and Dr Andy Byers (Cranmer Hall) exploring antisemitism in John’s gospel. Other episodes have covered the Old Testament and the love of God (Richard Briggs, Cranmer Hall), theology and humour (Kate Bruce), religious freedom (Joel Edwards), suffering (Bishop Libby Lane, Derby), and theology and celebrity (Pete Ward, Durham University). The tenth episode welcomed Dr Nick Moore (Cranmer Hall) for a discussion on the relevance of the early church for the modern world.

He added, ‘Podcasts are a really accessible way for people to keep up with some exciting theological questions around today. But Talking Theology has also demonstrated that it is a way of introducing people who wouldn’t normally be interested in theology or religion to Christianity for the first time. I am really excited about the next ten episodes we have lined up..’ The next ten episodes will include conversations with Prof Simon Oliver (Durham University) on creation, Canon Jessica Martin (Ely Cathedral) on prayer and Prof Alec Ryrie (Durham University) on Protestants. There will also be a series of special interviews from Edinburgh University with Profs Larry Hurtardo, Helen Bond and Jolyon Mitchell. Talking Theology is released fortnightly and is available through iTunes and other podcast providers or at our website For more information visit

Reflecting on the first ten episodes, Philip Plyming said, ‘It has been a real joy to see Talking Theology start so well. The feedback we have received from church leaders, students and lay people alike has been most encouraging.”

VISITING SPEAKERS This year we have been grateful to hear and learn from the following visiting speakers at College Communion and Q&As with students:

Mark Russell – Chief Executive, Church Army Canon Dr Jessica Martin – Canon, Ely Cathedral Canon Sophie Jelley – Director of Mission, Discipleship and Ministry, Diocese of Durham Rt Revd Sarah Clark – Bishop of Jarrow Rt Revd Libby Lane – Bishop of Derby Revd Joel Edwards – Christian Solidarity Worldwide Rt Revd Dr Robert Innes – Bishop in Europe Rt Revd Mark Tanner – Bishop of Berwick Prof John Barclay – Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University Rt Revd Ric Thorpe – Bishop of Islington






5 YEAR REUNION On the weekend of 13–15 September 2019, St John’s College hosted another ‘Five Year Reunion’. As has been standard in recent years, highlights included a bar quiz on the Friday (grand prize: college pens), brunch (x2) and a black-tie dinner which featured speaking roles for the current SJCR President (Joe Pape), two former JCR Presidents (Carys Funnell and John Grocott—more on that below), a current College Officer (Angela Cook) and a past College Officer (Mark Ogden). We were also delighted to have guests who included Alan Usher, Benedict Douglas and Richard Roberts. Those who arrived early on the Friday also made it for a (classic but dubious) dinner at ‘Spags’ and several joined for a highly enjoyable wine tasting on the Saturday afternoon, hosted by a tutor and stalwart of this cohort’s time in Durham and current SCR President, Benedict Douglas. On Sunday some even had the opportunity to view the new Learning Resource Centre.

Save the date! The next 5 Year Reunion will take place the weekend of 11th - 13th September 2020, for those who came to St John’s in 2012.

‘Five Year Reunion’ is in inverted commas for a reason. Those invited to the reunion were people who started their undergraduate degrees in 2011 (the last of the lucky ones before tuition fees rose to £9,000 and interest rates were hiked to 6%), but not all of them left exactly three years later in 2014! We were delighted to have people who finished their degrees elsewhere, but also people who graduated later or still live in the Durham vicinity. As we discovered over the weekend, although most left Durham in body in 2014, few had left it in spirit by 2019. Two JCR Presidents featured because by the quirk of turning the JCR (now SJCR) President role into a sabbatical one, two Presidents were elected from the same year group—John held the role half-way through his four year degree in 2013-14 (and so graduated in 2016) and Carys held the role after graduating in 2014, which is now the norm. Great fun was had by all. The weekend was an opportunity to discover how much had changed over the course of the intervening years—three additional colleges in Durham City and significant developments in the town and in St John’s—but how in other respects things had remained exactly the same—five years on, the domestic and catering staff remain largely unchanged, as had some indomitable personalities. It was also an opportunity to hear from others and reflect on where we were five years later and how much our relationships with each other continued to be a source of great joy and meaning in our lives. We very much look forward to our ‘Seventy Year Reunion’ in September 2084. John Grocott and Carys Funnell (née Harper) JCR Presidents 2013-14 and 2014-15


10 YEAR REUNION It was lovely to have a group of 2009 graduates back together at the start of September for our 10 Year Reunion. Around 30 of us headed back to our home on the Bailey for a chilled out weekend of revisiting old favourites like the cellar bar, our old student houses and of course the Swan and Three Cygnets. We also discovered new additions to Durham and had a tour of the Learning Resource Centre, which involved some confusion while we tried to find Olav in the stained glass window! After Saturday’s sparkling reception on Linton Lawn, we settled back onto our sociable long tables in Haughton dining room for formal, with guests of honour Angela Cook, Alan Usher, and our Senior Tutor Mark Ogden. Dinner featured formal classics including chicken wrapped in bacon stuffed with cheese, an extremely chocolatey dessert, as well as plentiful wine and cheese. Mark’s reflective after dinner speech touched on the passing of time, and the importance of bringing our experiences from the last 10 years to share with each other. He talked about the film The Theory of Everything, in which Stephen Hawking, after he’d just received his Companion of Honour, points out his children to his wife and says, “Look what we made”. Even in the middle of celebrating the success of his life’s work, it was his personal relationships that he pointed out and was proud of. We remembered the key relationships we all made in John’s and how they have affected our lives, and indeed brought us all back together again to another significant snapshot in our timelines. It’s important to mark these occasions as our lives progress, to recognise what has made us and how it carries on shaping us. And to realise how we’ve changed, and what has stayed the same (such as the prices in John’s bar!).

See if you can answer some of the top head-scratchers from the quiz – you’ll find the answers on Twitter (@StJohnsDurham) at the start of December! 1. 2.

After dinner we took ridiculous photos in the selfie booth, then enjoyed an epic 2009-themed quiz with quizmaster extraordinaire, our very own Ben Jarvis. This involved a music round on the hits of 2006-09, as well as a picture round of ‘famous Johns’.


At the end of the weekend, it was lovely to hear old friends saying that they hadn’t felt so at home in a long time, that new partners felt like they’d been welcomed into another extension of the family, and that we were all just so happy to see each other again in this place that means so much to us. Long may our reunions continue, and lots of love to our friends who couldn’t make it this time. Thank you everyone for coming, and as I said at dinner – you’re all my favourites! Dani O’Hagan, 2006-09


Which two James Bond actors studied at Durham University? What condiment was invented in Durham City? Which pop star did David Wilkinson famously quote in our yearbook (and in many formal speeches)?

ALL YEAR REUNION From Johnians who matriculated in 1958 to those who graduated in 2003, the All Year Reunion saw the return of over 60 alumni. The weekend was certainly one to remember, and this is but a snippet of the action for those of you who couldn’t make it. The weekend began in style on Friday evening with a bar quiz, assembled and hosted by Richard Roberts. The questions tested the attendees’ knowledge of Durham, St John’s and the north of England, before rounding off with questions testing general knowledge from anywhere between 1960 and today. The next day was greeted with good fortune in the form of uncharacteristically warm and sunny weather – a perfect chance to reintroduce some returning alumni to the wonders of Durham with a walking tour! The intrepid group was led, again, by Richard Roberts who provided an informative update on how the University and the city are changing. The tour showcased some of the University’s new buildings, and ended with some well-earned refreshments at the Hotel Indigo. The group remarked how much has changed since their student days. Following a break for lunch, around 20 reunion guests enjoyed a very informative and fascinating tour of Durham Cathedral and also visited the Open

Treasure exhibition. Those who wished to also visited the Palace Green archives, which featured a special St John’s College display for the day. This included the original St John’s College crest and many class photos, as well as copies of ‘Lithograph’ – a nice surprise to some reunion guests who had either written or featured in the publications on display. The cultural inauguration didn’t end there, as a handful of guests also embarked on an exclusive tour of the University’s art collection. As the daytime activities drew to a close, Principal David Wilkinson gave an update on St John’s College today in the lecture theatre of the brand new Learning Resource Centre. After a quick outfit change, the festivities began for the reunion dinner in the form of drinks on Linton Lawn. Just as the weather began to turn to a more familiar cooler climate, the guests smiled for a group photo and then were invited into Haughton Orangery for a formal meal. Following the meal, over cheese and coffee, the festivities were interrupted by a short speech from Joe Pape, the current SJCR President. Joe shed light on the concerns facing students today, those largely being financial and social pressures and mental health, and the vital role of the College in providing pastoral care and a community that enables students to thrive.


The meal was capped off by David Wilkinson, who observed the value and power of friendship that emanated from our alumni community. With images of locking the doors jokingly presented but far from reality, the Principal gently and earnestly invited those in attendance to financially contribute towards the future of St John’s. We were reminded of the reality that as an independent college, St John’s relies on independent funding and the generosity of friends and alumni, and greatly benefits from the prayers of its community. David assured that all alumni are always welcome back to St John’s for a coffee or a meal whether local to Durham or just passing through – although perhaps not every week! Following the meal, guests embarked on an evening of merriment down in the cellar bar and were treated to an authentic student experience in the form of a photo booth equipped with a mass of outrageous props in the bar overspill. As Sunday morning came around startlingly quickly for some of the evening revellers, a morning breakfast was provided as a final goodbye to the weekend. As the guests departed, St John’s was left with a feeling of gratitude for many years of friendship and excitement for the future of our alumni community.


Congratulations... alumni and friends of St John’s who have news to share.

Visiting Fellow Revd Joel Edwards was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Honour list 2019 for services to tackling poverty and injustice. Clare Foster (née Parkinson, 2004-2012) and John welcomed their son Daniel John Foster on 27th May 2019.

Lauren Summers (2011-2015) is a Junior Intelligence Analyst and won the “Best Newcomer” national award at the British Security Awards 2019. Dhivya Mani (2003-2006) published Rainbow at Diamond Bay (#1 New Release in Australia & Oceania Poetry) on Amazon. Her poetry book highlights some of the challenges and hardships faced by lawyers and working parents in today’s modern society. Revd Canon Dr Chuck Robertson received the Dunelmensis Award 2019 for services to the University. Amongst other achievements, he has introduced a new research and outreach programme to Durham – the Lambeth Mission Fellowship, supported by the Archbishop of Canterbury – which led to global profile-raising activities in various networks around diversity of theological scholarship. Matthew (2009-2017) and Carys Funnell (née Harper, 2011-2014) were married on the 13th of April 2019 with many Johnians in attendance and involved. Charlotte Walker (née Ramsbotham, 2006-2009) and husband Graham welcomed their daughter Olivia Mary Beatrice on 28 January 2019. She is a sister to Alexander (2). Adam (2007-2015) and Elizabeth Willows (née Birkbeck, 2007-2010) welcomed their first child Eleanor Jane Willows in January 2019.


Graduates of 2019


In Memory of... We give thanks for the lives of the following alumni who have died in the past year. They will be missed.

Revd Deborah Hopkinson 1975-2018 Revd Deborah Hopkinson (née Robertson) attended The Wesley Study Centre from 2000 to 2003.

Ministry as part of her ministerial training. Her first appointment was in the Chesterfield Methodist Circuit. It was with deep sadness that College received the news of Deborah’s death on 26 September 2018.

Deborah came to the WSC as a Foundation Training Student in 2000 and studied the MA in Theology and

The Right Revd Ronald Brown 1926-2019 The Rt Rev Ronald Brown (St John’s, 1948-52) has died aged 92 years. He was ordained in the Blackburn Diocese and was curate at Chorley Parish Church. He was vicar of St John the Evangelist, Whittle-le-Woods; vicar of St Thomas the Apostle, Halliwell, Bolton; and Rector and Rural Dean of Ashton-under-Lyne. In 1974 he was consecrated Bishop of Birkenhead in the Chester Diocese where he served until retirement 18 years later. He then continued his ministry as an Assistant Bishop in the Liverpool Diocese. He was certainly not “born to the purple” having left school aged 15 because the family needed an extra wage. He was inspired to study for the matriculation examination by his wife Joyce whom he met when working as a clerk at a local hospital where she was a nurse and was able to do this through the army after being called up for service in the Royal Engineers. He was in Germany shortly before the war in Europe ended. When he retired the Bishop of Chester described him as a “special servant of God” and praised the tremendous work he had done in the diocese over many years. He highlighted his encouragement to so many and his exuberance for the word of God

conveyed with warmth and joy. He was a strong supporter of Church Schools and the Readers’ Ministry. The two archdeacons spoke about his wonderful communication and pastoral skills. He believed that “a lesson taught with humour is a lesson remembered”, and as a pastor there was never a better and more concerned friend and counsellor to have at times of strife. In all the parishes he served as a priest the congregations were increased significantly and they flourished under his stewardship. His book “Good Lord” has many uplifting and amusing stories about his parochial ministry. One of his other books “Bishop’s Brew” on clerical humour was a best seller and raised a lot of money for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Church Urban Fund. Ronald was a very special dad to his two children Mark (St John’s College, 1971-74) and Jan, and he was a beloved grandfather and great grandfather. He was particularly proud that a grandson Nick attended St John’s College (2003-10). His funeral service was at Chester Cathedral.


Dr John Court 1943-2019 John was born in Birmingham in 1943, and attended the King Edward’s School in Birmingham. He made the most of what that school could offer him in terms of education, especially in the Classics and Ancient History.

John had become a member of SNTS, a society of New Testament academics worldwide. John became international treasurer for many years, and he also edited the series of books the society published. A traditional New Testament scholar, he ventured into other fields of research with characteristic curiosity and a sense of adventure. He was dedicated to teaching ancient languages. The New Testament, John believed, should be read in the original Greek.

Planning to seek ordination he read Theology at St John’s College. He obtained a First and went on to complete a PhD. He was President of the Lightfoot Society, a theology society which invited eminent scholars to come and present papers to its members. It was during this period that he met and married Kathleen. John was offered a post teaching Biblical Studies at the newly founded University of Kent by Professor Whitehouse, who had taught him in Durham and had become the first Master of Eliot College.

He was unfailingly kind and generous to all his students, for whom he opened up new perspectives on the Bible which were exciting, inspiring and challenging. He conveyed his enthusiasm and love of his subject through his quiet, thoughtful and encouraging manner, his erudition and scholarship quietly and modestly conveyed.

Richard Ernest Meyer 1944-2019 Richard Meyer, who died on 13th June 2019, spent most of his life serving in the ordained Christian ministry. Following six years teaching at the King’s School Gloucester, Richard spent 23 years ministering with great dedication in Church of England parishes; as curate at Up Hatherley, Cheltenham, as Vicar of Great and Little Hampton, Evesham, and then as Rector of Odcombe, Brympton, Lufton and Montacute in Somerset. Following his decision in 1992 to become a Roman Catholic, he was a teacher of Religious Studies and Philosophy- and housemaster - and then a chaplain in Catholic boarding schools. Although married, he was ordained as a priest in 2002. For the final and quite demanding stage of his ministry from 2010, Richard served as the highly regarded parish priest for Bridport and West Dorset, right up to his death at the age of 75. As a mark of the esteem in which he was held, he was made an Honorary Canon of Plymouth’s Catholic Cathedral. The Meyer family ran a flourishing catering business in Bond Street, Bath, but had Swiss roots. Richard was educated at Monkton Combe School. He was a distinctive and quite ebullient character.

kept his contemporaries entertained. Moving to St John’s College in 1963, he embarked on a General Arts degree, but specialised in Theology. There Richard was secretary of the Boat Club, rowed for the College first VIII and coached a College IV which included another Monkton friend, Nigel Elbourne, and a future member of staff at Monkton Combe, Roland Symons. Both were life-long friends. During this time his reservations about the Evangelical approach to theology, worship and church order came to the fore. Following his early marriage to Jan, and his school-teaching years, he trained at The College of the Resurrection at Mirfield for the Anglican ministry. For 21 years there followed a lift of devoted and warm-hearted Church of England ministry and his appointment as a Canon of Gloucester. Richard was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1994. It was fitting that a Requiem Mass was held for Richard in Sherborne Abbey on July 2nd 2019. Peter LeRoy, friend of Richard Meyer at MCS and Headmaster of MCJS

Independent minded, stimulating company and full of energy, his warmly mischievous sense of humour


Revd Michael Broughton George Pain 1937-2018 Michael arrived at St John’s in 1958 a few weeks after his 21st birthday. He had completed National Service with the Royal Artillery, serving in Cyprus, after leaving Epsom College in 1956. Michael was among the group of undergraduates mentioned in the College history ‘Fides Nostra Victoria’ as ‘bringing some maturity to student life’ at that time. He quickly made many friends, some of which remained lifelong (including John Abbott, Nick Lindo, John Salter and Paul Wheatley). With characteristic energy he threw himself into his work and social life, including in his second year organising the first ever St John’s dance at the Town Hall, there being no John’s bar in those days! Sport was his great passion, including rowing as stroke for the St John’s boat, and playing rugby for the College and for the University 2nd XV. At St Oswald’s Church hall at a Freshers’ Week ‘square dance’ he met Angela Packham, first year geography student at St Mary’s. They were married in 1962. After completing his BA in general studies (history, economics, religious knowledge) he continued theological studies at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and was ordained in Bristol Cathedral in 1963. Michael inspired confidence in others, encouraging and enabling. Through gentle persuasion and an infectious sense of humour Michael could bring out the very best in those around him. His parish ministry in Bristol, Guildford and Salisbury dioceses included pioneering youth ministries with the creation of the Bristol Diocese youth centre at Legge House, and a strong commitment to ecumenism in the creation of a Local Ecumenical Partnership in Alveston in the 1970s. He forged strong and lasting relationships with the greatest of ease, such was the trust and confidence that others placed in him. Michael had a gift for invitation and hospitality. His warm and generous personality not only lifted barriers but was able to persuade others to join him in parish initiatives. Many have testified to the role he played in establishing them on their Christian journey. The homes Michael and Angela created

together were places of welcome and acceptance. His ministry was characterised by compassion, care and energy. When he left Christ Church, Guildford in 1990 the local newspaper described him as ‘a champion of the homeless’ recognising his role in opening church building to offer shelter and his leadership of Guildford Council of Churches to set up a night shelter with direct access. His commitment with Angela over many decades to the work of Christian Aid was acknowledged in the ‘Diamond’ Award they received in 2017. In all Durham seasons, Prebends Bridge was a stunning romantic meeting place for Michael and Angela. Twenty years later they stood there with their four children and heard the words ‘I’m coming here’. In the 1980s Catherine and David both joined the university to read History, at St Mary’s and St John’s respectively. In later years, grandchildren visited the city and ‘Grandpa’ loved to receive phone calls from the top of the cathedral tower. In retirement, Michael and Angela enjoyed visits to St John’s for bed and breakfast, for courses on Celtic Spirituality and to see the Lindisfarne gospels on display in the Old Library on Palace Green. Michael’s unswerving faith in a loving God lay at the heart of his priestly calling. But his compelling ministry was also sustained by his family, to whom he was devoted. Whenever the children wandered into his study he would lay down his pen and give them his full and undivided attention. His fatherly goodness began at home, but reached out into the lives of countless others. Michael had a fulfilling and rewarding parish ministry for forty years. His youthful gifts of joy, friendship and perseverance remained with him. His final painful illness and frustrating immobility was borne with great courage and even cheerfulness, sustained by prayer and his relationships with family, friends and those who cared for him. Angela Pain (St Mary’s, 1958-1961) and David Pain (St John’s, 1985-1988)


Milly Savill and Toby Savill 1993-2019 Miriam Mary Namuddu Savill (née Coulson) born in Kampala, Uganda, 20 December 1993, died with her husband Toby (St Hild and St Bede, 2012-2015) in an accident on the Greek island of Santorini on 14 April 2019.

They were also involved in setting up Hope Church, which aimed to reach everyone living on their local estate. Despite all this keeping them very busy, they always made time for friends, entertaining regularly at home and organising weekends away.

Milly came to St John’s College in autumn 2012 to study Theology. Her vivacity and warmth made her a joy to be around and she quickly made many friends as a ‘queen of organised fun’, who loved Netball socials and College balls. She was also a fantastic listener and always available for a cup of tea and a chat. She was totally non-judgemental whether it was about boy dilemmas or questions about belief. Milly had an infectious enthusiasm and zest for life which was deeply rooted in her faith, encouraging Christians and drawing in non-believers.

While Milly’s friends and family are heartbroken at the loss of someone so joyous, we have been comforted in the knowledge of her deep faith in Jesus. She knew how much God loved her, and was totally secure in her life’s purpose which she lived out by loving those around her unconditionally. Milly wrote in 2015 about how her faith had been strengthened following the death of her grandfather:

She was a member of Christ Church Durham, and in her third year was Evangelism Secretary of the University Christian Union. The President that year was Toby Savill, an intelligent and kind young man who fell for Milly’s passion for life and her long blonde hair instantly. His attempts to win her over by volunteering with the church toddler group did not go unnoticed and they quickly became a very happy couple. They were married in August 2017 and flourished in their new life in London. Milly taught year 3 at St Anne’s Catholic Primary School in Vauxhall, while Toby taught History at a nearby secondary school.

“Grandad was certain in the hope he had in Jesus Christ, that his sins had been paid for and that he was soon to be with Christ in Heaven, and I realised that this was how I wanted to meet death. Not in fear or guilt, but in dignity, in peace and in assurance that I was going to be raised with Christ in glory.” Milly and Toby will be hugely missed by so many. Over 1000 people gathered to celebrate their lives at Milly’s father’s church at St Mark’s Kennington. They had a lasting impact on those around them, and their friends were left in no doubt about how much we were loved by them. Emily Waterhouse


RAG Week

1959 RAG Week, 1970


Boat Club, 1971/2

Durham Regatta, 1960


Sunday Formal in Haughton Dining Room

1999 2019 1979

2020 Why not send in your photos from the start of the decade to feature next year?



With Thanks... St John’s College wouldn’t run without the hard work of our many staff teams. With thanks to all, especially to Catering and Housekeeping, who had an exceptionally busy conference period over the summer. This year saw the retirement of Angelina Jolly (1) after 15 years working for the Catering team, as well as David Taylor and Ken Lockwood (2) from Reception. Val Strickland (3) also retired after 18 years from her post at Cranmer Hall.









With thanks to the SJCR Executive Committee (1), and to the various student teams that are formed each year to run Post-Offer Visit Days (2), Open Days, Induction Week and social events. The Social Executive Committee (3) organised a magical ‘Once upon a Time’ themed Bailey Ball 2018 and John’s Day had a festival theme. The Freps (Freshers’ Representatives, 4) kept up the energy and provided a wonderful welcome for our incoming students.

Keep in touch! Most of the communications from St John’s College to alumni are now sent via email. If you think you may be out of the loop, get in touch with the Alumni Office by emailing to update your contact details. Likewise, if you change address and would like to receive the College Record at your new home, let us know. Don’t forget you can keep up to date with life at St John’s throughout the year by following us on social media.

St John’s College 3 South Bailey Durham DH1 3RJ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @StJohnsDurham St John’s College Record 2019: designed and edited by Sally Hewett and printed by The Lavenham Press.


At St John’s College we have a number scholarships, bursaries and awards available exclusively for our members, both students of St John’s Hall and of Cranmer Hall. Students are invited to apply for a scholarship from the Student Opportunities Fund to assist with projects in the local area and beyond, and applications are received termly. This fund enables St John’s students to experience and take part in extra-curricular projects and trips that they may otherwise not be able to afford. Might you consider donating? Whether you could give a regular monthly gift of just a couple of pounds, or a one-off donation, your support would be greatly benenficial to current Johnians. Make your donation:


Commemorate your connection with St John’s College, or honour a loved one by naming a seat in the new lecture theatre in our Learning Resource Centre. We are offering the opportunity to dedicate a chair for £250. To name your seat and for further information, visit the webpage: If you’d like to discuss your giving further, please contact Sally Hewett in the Alumni Office (



is now available to order online. Our range includes... Teddy bears, cufflinks, charms, pin badges, mugs, travel mugs, pens, umbrellas, prints, scarves, ties, greetings cards and wall shields. Visit to view the St John’s College ‘Collection’.

The ideal host for your next conference or event in Durham.