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North of England

New theological college for the North

todayJanuary 23, 2017 11

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The new college has been created by the merger of the Yorkshire Ministry Course (YMC) and St Barnabas Theological Centre and will operate with teaching centres in Mirfield, Sheffield and York.

St Hild College will train Anglican ordinands, Baptist ministers in training and independent students.

The Service of Commissioning for St Hild College took place at Dewsbury Minster on 14th January, led by Rt Rev Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster, Rt Rev James Bell, Bishop of Ripon, and Rev Graham Ensor, Team Leader of the Yorkshire Baptist Association.

Bishop Peter, Chair of Trustees for the new college, comments: “I feel that St Hild College will be a powerhouse for theological education, and one that holds the confidence of the church.”

Graham Ensor praised the cooperative spirit of the launch process, commenting: “This new college is an example of gospel partnership, where everybody is committed to a higher goal then that of their own organisation, namely the equipping of women and men of God for missional ministry to regospel the North of England.”

Alongside the Yorkshire dioceses and Yorkshire Baptist Association, the St Hild College governing body includes representatives of three larger resource churches – St George’s Leeds, St Thomas Crookes and The Belfrey York – as well as the Community of the Resurrection, at whose Mirfield home the new college’s residential weekends take place.

Mark Powley, previously Principal of the YMC and before that Director of St Barnabas Theological Centre, is the new Principal of St Hild College. He leads a team of 11 staff plus a wide associate faculty team including tutors from a range of theological traditions. Mark says: “We’ve seen significant growth in contextual training in recent years – it is something we believe can retain people in the north and train them to read their context better. The approach we have taken is to build on new models that have emerged in contextual training, but to do so in close partnership with the institutions that already exist. The extent of that cooperation is really quite striking – we are bringing together diverse partners, from the brothers of the Community of the Resurrection to the resource churches committed to church planting.”

Across its three sites, St Hild College trains over 100 students including ordinands from York, Leeds, Sheffield, Leicester, Derby, Manchester and Southwell & Nottingham dioceses. It trains Baptists in association with Northern Baptist College and has a range of independent students on its undergraduate and postgraduate pathways.

On choosing a name, Mark Powley adds: ‘Obviously, naming a new college is a complicated business, but we realised we had a great candidate in St Hild. It is now 1,360 years since she established her monastery in Whitby. Bede writes of her wisdom, diligence and integrity at a crucial time of evangelisation. She seems an ideal symbol for 21st century mission and the creative forms of training it requires.”

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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