‘By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established’ Proverbs 24:3
A vibrant and diverse evangelical Christian community.
‘By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established’ Proverbs 24:3
+44(0)191 334 3894
Cranmer Hall, St John’s College,
3 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3RJ
All of our staff and students bring a richness of gifts, of experience, of personality and of faith. We come together to form the Body of Christ, and we rejoice together in our diversity, learn from our diversity, and grow in our unity of belonging to Christ.
Watch the video below for an update on the journey we are on to combat racism and celebrate our racial diversity at Cranmer Hall.
We praise God because we are a diverse community where our diversity is found on lots of different dimensions, which include: economic, social, cultural, educational, racial, gender, sexuality, church background and tradition, and spirituality. Our diversity is important to us because (i) we believe God made a diverse and beautiful creation and desires for his Church to be beautifully and wonderfully diverse; (ii) it reminds us that we are united not because we look, speak or think the same, but because we worship and love the same Jesus Christ, and (iii) we need to belong to a diverse community in order to deepen our understanding of God and his way with the world, to deepen our discipleship and our understanding of God’s calling upon us all. Our diversity will challenge us, humble us, provoke us, soften us, and help us to see Christ more clearly in the lives of those around us and in ourselves. Our diversity will help us to be a more just, dynamic and holy community.
We come together as a diverse community in our worship, our lectures and seminars and our small ‘discipleship’ groups, for example. But we also recognise that as much as it is important to mix with and learn from and alongside those who bring with them difference, there can often be a need to meet with others who share specific points of similarity. As such, our current student community has started, for example, the Rosary Group (which meet together to intercede using the Anglican Rosary), the Vasey Group (which is for LGBTQIA+ students) and a group to support students from a BAME background. In previous years we have also had groups such as a New Wine group.
There are also groups that are led by staff members which are centred on enabling students training for ministry to think through how their situation or other vocations might link together with ministry in the future; these groups are about support and fellowship, but also about equipping and enabling. This is because we recognise that some of us move here with our families, and some of us leave friends and family behind. Some of us are weekly boarders and will be caring for elderly relatives on a weekend. Most of us at some point will probably wonder what life will look like in the future with our different vocations and different family responsibilities or needs. Therefore, at college, we not only have groups that provide support and encouragement as we transition into life at Cranmer Hall and make new friendships and support networks, but also groups that help us to begin to think about how to equip and resource ourselves personally for future mission and ministry in new areas. These include: Singles in Ministry, Mums in Ministry, Dads in Ministry and Together in Ministry. More on these groups can be found below.
We are very aware of how difficult adjusting and settling into a new home can be. We have good accommodation for families in close proximity to each other in order to develop relationships and support from day one. Durham is surrounded by schools which are nationally recognised and there is an array of good preschool/nursery provision in the city for young families. We also welcome breastfeeding in college and have facilities for expressing and storing milk.
We have two optional groups that are specifically set up to provide a supportive and social environment for parents who are training for ordained ministry/authorised church leadership (whether Anglican or Free Church Track): ‘Mums in Ministry’ and ‘Dads in Ministry’. These groups meet up to reflect on the joys and challenges of combining parenthood and ministry.
If any of our ordinands take maternity leave, we will work with them beforehand to discuss ongoing pastoral care throughout their maternity leave and what keeping in touch with their learning and praying community might look like. We will also work closely with the ordinand to develop a good process for their return to training, and are committed to finding options that are flexible and based around what would work best for the ordinand and their family.
Children are clearly also a very important part of our community. We have a ‘Welcome’ and a ‘Goodbye’ session at the start and end of their time with us, to help children process their transitions. At the beginning of each term we have an All Age service and Faith Tea, and every Monday during the term we have a special ‘High Tea’ for families at 4.30pm followed by an All Age service at 5.15pm. Additionally, we have an ‘All Age Coffee Morning’ every Friday during term which is a great way to build friendships among students and staff of all ages. Children (and spouses) of ordinands are also welcome to eat in college up to four times per week.
During each year we run a programme called ‘Together in Ministry’ for our students and their partners, to explore different issues such as time management, spiritual growth in a family, handling boundaries, etc.
We also have a student-led group called SPICE which is for partners of ordinands. Here you will find friendship, support, fun and fellowship. The group exists to support people as they work out the implications of their partners’ call to ordained ministry.
Partners of students and staff are also welcome to participate in the learning opportunities at Cranmer Hall. You can do this in two ways:
Partners are also very welcome to attend some sessions during Induction week, in addition to our ‘Quiet Days’ throughout the year, one of which is normally held in the Cathedral, and the other on Holy Island.
Being single brings with it many joys and blessings, but it can also bring a few challenges as well, especially in the context of church ministry. Some of us are single by choice and are content with being single; some of us find being single very difficult and struggle with it rather than rejoice in it. For some, being single might be part of their sense of vocation and is in itself a calling to a particular life of discipleship. But whether or not it is a part of our vocation, being single will to some extent shape our experience of ministry, and will shape other people’s expectations of us. We therefore have a group for single ordinands, FCT students and CUGs, where we can socialise together, share the joys and challenges of being single, and what being single might mean for our ministry.
SPICE is a student-run group for those married to ordinands and it is a great group to which to belong. Here you will find friendship, support, fun and fellowship. The group exists to support spouses as they work out the implications of their partners’ call to ordained ministry. SPICE does not exist to promote a ‘line’ on how marriage and ministry should be held together, but rather to help people in their own exploration. It liaises with the college to make it more user friendly.
It helps organise events where issues of adjustment to college or parish work can be explored and supports various initiatives in which partners can learn together.
We recognise that there are lots of different ways of being single (never married – either by choice or circumstance, divorced, widowed, single with children, single without children). Given this we are keen not to make assumptions about single people, but to listen and grown in shared understanding together.
Being single in ministry brings its own particular opportunities, joys and demands. We want all our single students to flourish in training and in ministry. To help support that aim we run a group for single people training for ordained ministry. We meet each term for opportunity to relax together and create safe space in which to explore key issues related to ministry and the single life.
The group is purely optional, and has proved to be an excellent environment for friendship to flourish and for mutual understanding to develop.
This group has an annual away day which usually combines space to walk, read, relax, talk and eat together. Since its inception three years ago, this group has been marked by honesty and laughter.
Spouses of students and staff are welcome to participate in the learning opportunities at Cranmer Hall. You can do this in two ways:
I believe that my strong evangelical convictions have grown in strength and rootedness. However, this has happened within a diverse training environment. The Cranmer community has taught me that even in disagreement that we are called to love each other generously. I believe one of the greatest gifts at Cranmer is that I have been prepared to serve with evangelical conviction but in a broad church.”
Alex Oehring, Cranmer Ordinand 2016-2018
Moving to Cranmer with my family was, for me, the best way to train. The family were made very welcome and quickly settled into community life, enjoying meals and social times with students and other families. Living away from the rest of the community (in Oswald Court 5 minutes from college) did not make us feel left out, in fact it meant we had space of our own and all the benefits of community life as well.”
The Revd Shanthi Thompson, Cranmer Hall 2007-2009
We managed to get all four of our boys into our choosen schools. The teaching staff at both schools were especially helpful in those early days, in trying to settle and integrate the boys into school life; the eldest two, in particular, flourished during their time at Durham. There’s always going to be difficult days when you move your children to a new school, but from our experience, the schools, and Cranmer staff and students all played a part in making it that bit easier.”
The Revd Paula Pye, Cranmer Hall 2007-2009