Wesley College (Bristol)

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Wesley College, Bristol (formerly Wesley College, Headingley, Leeds, until, in 1967, the institution united with Didsbury College, Bristol, and was renamed)[1] is a theological college in Bristol, England. It is the oldest provider of theological education for the Methodist Church of Great Britain[citation needed] and the core institution of the South West Regional Training Network of the Methodist Church where its partners are The South West Ministerial Training Course (SWMTC), based in Exeter and STETS in Salisbury. It is also involved with ecumenical education.[citation needed]

Although Wesley College was established to prepare people for ordained ministry in the Methodist Church, and this is still a significant part of its work with an emphasis today particularly on pre-ordination students who are studying part-time, the College programme today is much more widely based. The teaching staff come from a wide range of Christian backgrounds. Student ministers work alongside other students of theology, bringing a wider experience of life into the learning environment.[citation needed]

Wesley College provides a wide range of units in Christian theology, validated by the University of Bristol, most of which are open to lay people as well as those preparing for ordination. Since 2008 the College has also offered a Foundation Degree (FdA) in Mission and Ministry validated by St. Mary's University College (Twickenham)

Wesley College, Bristol is a member of the Bristol Federation for Theological Education. Its partners are Bristol Baptist College and Trinity College, Bristol. As well as housing one of the most extensive theological libraries in the country the College also possesses an extensive archive with many unique documents and artefacts dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, many of them related to the Wesley family.[citation needed]

The College is an important international research facility with students from Australia, USA, South Korea, India and Africa. Wesley College has a formal Graduate Research Agreement with Hyupsung University, South Korea and established exchange programmes with the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, South India, the United Church of Zambia Seminary at Kitwe and the Reutlingen Seminary, Germany.

All its courses are open to students from any denomination and the College is building a reputation for lay theological education including the nationally recognised Pastoral Carers' Course and is in partnership with other religious denominations or bodies including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Clifton and the Benedictine Downside Abbey. Wesley College also has students from the Anglican, Baptist, Pentecostal and Holiness traditions.

The College Principal is[when?] Rev. Dr. Jonathan Pye who is also Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethics in the University of Bristol and a recognised teacher in the University of Bristol and the University of Wales, Cardiff. Dr Pye has lectured extensively in the UK, USA and Canada, South Korea and Australia.


In July 2010, the Methodist Conference announced that Wesley College would close when current students had finished their training.[2] Enrolled at the College during the 09/10 academic year were four ministerial students sponsored by the Methodist Council, twenty-eight independently funded lay students on courses validated by the St Mary's University College or the University of Bristol, and sixty-four independently funded lay students on non-validated courses.[3]

As of November 2011, Wesley College's website was shut down due to the closure.


  1. ^ "Wesley College, Bristol - About Us". 
  2. ^ Staff (30 June 2010). "Methodist Conference votes to close Wesley College". BBC Bristol News. BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Report on Wesley College Bristol from the Methodist Council". April 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′07″N 2°37′18″W / 51.50202°N 2.62179°W / 51.50202; -2.62179