St John's College, Nottingham
|Church of England|
|University of Durham|
|Principal||Rev Dr Sally Nash (acting Principal)|
St John's College, Nottingham, founded as the London College of Divinity, is an Anglican and interdenominational theological college situated in Bramcote, Nottingham, England. The college stands in the open evangelical tradition and states that its mission is "to inspire creative Christian learning marked by evangelical conviction, theological excellence and Spirit-filled life, that all who train with us might be equipped for mission in a world of change".
St John’s trains students for ministries in the Church of England and other denominations, independent students from a range of Christian contexts, and students for children's and youth ministries through its Midlands centre for the Institute for Children, Youth and Mission (MCYM). It offers a diversity of full-time, part-time, blended and distance learning courses, including specialist modules in pastoral care and counselling and church administration. Its academic awards are validated by Durham University and Gloucester University, and it also offers its own flexible, self-accredited Certificate in Christian Studies, which can be taken at variable speeds on a module-by-module basis.
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The college was established as the London College of Divinity in 1863. It was founded by the Reverend Alfred Peache and his sister, Kezia, who had inherited their businessman father’s fortune in 1857. The college was established to provide an evangelical theological education to ordinands who could not go to university. The Reverend Thomas Boultbee was appointed as the first principal and a college council and governing body was formed, with Lord Shaftesbury chosen to be its president. The first premises were near Kilburn High Road Station and the first student was Francis Browne, a lieutenant in the Merchant Navy, was welcomed on 23 November 1863.
These early premises had been called St John’s Hall because they had previously been occupied by the St John's Foundation School for the Sons of Poor Clergy, which itself had started life in St John's Wood before moving to Kilburn. The 'St John's' name stuck as an informal title for the college - not least because Boultbee was a graduate of St John's College, Cambridge, and intended that the new institution he now led should attain academic standards comparable to those of his alma mater. Although the St John associated with St John's Wood is John the Baptist, Boultbee was clear that the St John of his fledgling 'St John's College' was John the Evangelist, author of the Fourth Gospel. In 1866 the college moved to Highbury, which was its home for nearly 80 years.
As the Second World War approached, the college was flourishing under the leadership of T. W. Gilbert. In May 1942, however, faculty, staff and students were evacuated to Wadhurst School in Sussex as the Highbury buildings had been damaged by air-raids and were requisitioned by the National Fire Service.
Following the sudden death of Gilbert, Donald Coggan became principal in 1944. During this time, a new site in Northwood, London, was bought for the college to replace the war-ruined buildings which now contained just three students. For the 10 years that Coggan was principal, the college was based in one of the houses at Harrow School, and then at Ford Manor in Lingfield, Surrey.
It was under Coggan’s successor, Prebendary Hugh Jordan, that discussion of a move away from London began. Jordan believed that the college’s future lay outside of the capital city and nearer to a university, and he learnt that a site was available in Nottingham, whose university's theological department was growing in reputation. In 1970, Michael Green, who succeeded Jordan as principal, oversaw the move from London to the college’s current location in Bramcote, Nottingham. This move meant that the formal name 'London College of Divinity' was not longer applicable, and 'St John's' became the legal title of the institution.
From 1970 St John's developed and diversified its ministry under the successive leadership of Green, Robin Nixon, Colin Buchanan, Anthony Thiselton, John Goldingay, Christina Baxter, David Hilborn and Sally Nash. It was a pioneer of distance learning programmes in theology, and made new theological thinking and research accessible to a wide audience through its A5-sized Grove Booklet series (now published through an independent company and also available online). In the 1990s it ran the earliest forms of what would become known as context-based training in the Church of England, and latterly provided part-time pathways alongside more traditional forms of full-time residential training. In 2014 the college announced that it would be placing greater emphasis on contextual and part-time routes for licensed ministry and independent students, while maintaining and developing its ongoing provision of children's and youth ministry education, blended learning and distance learning. In February 2017 it gained planning permission for the redevelopment of its site and the modernisation of its main academic facilities. In late 2019 the college announced that delivery of its youth ministry programmes would be moving to a new location in central Leicester, and that its Distance Learning provision would be taken forward in collaboration with Queen's College, Birmingham. These changes coincided with the inauguration of a new hub of the Anglican-based St Mellitus College in central Nottingham.
List of principals
The current principal (Team Leader) of the college is the Revd Dr Sally Nash, who has been in post since 2018.
- Thomas Pownall Boultbee (1863 to 1884); inaugural principal
- Charles Waller (1884 to 1899)
- Albert Greenup (1899 to 1925)
- Thomas Gilbert (1926 to 1942)
- Donald Coggan (1944 to 1956); later Archbishop of Canterbury
- Hugh Jordan (1956-1969)
- Michael Green (1969 to 1975)
- Robin Ernest Nixon (1975 to 1978); died in office
- Colin Buchanan (1979 to 1985)
- Anthony Thiselton (1986 to 1988)
- John Goldingay (1988 to 1997)
- Christina Baxter (1997 to 2012); the first lay head of college
- David Hilborn (2012 to 2018); formerly Head of Theology at the Evangelical Alliance UK and Assistant Dean of St Mellitus College
- Sally Nash (Team Leader 2018-)
- George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury (1991–2002)
- Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle (2000–2009)
- John Witcombe, Dean of Coventry Cathedral (2013-)
- Kate Bottley, Church of England priest and broadcaster
- Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden
- Richard Burridge, Dean of King's College London
- Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry (2008–present)
- Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle
- Viv Faull, Bishop-designate of Bristol, Dean of York, Provost/Dean of Leicester
- Susan Gillingham, first British woman to be awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by Oxford University
- David Ison, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, London
- Bob Jackson, Church growth expert
- David James, Bishop of Bradford (2002-2010)
- Andrew John, Bishop of Bangor (2009–present)
- J.John, international evangelist and author based in the United Kingdom
- George Lings, Church planting expert
- Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda (1974–1977) and martyr
- Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore
- Ivan Neill, Chaplain General of the British Army and Provost of Sheffield
- Henry Luke Orombi, Archbishop of the (Anglican) Church of Uganda
- June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury
- Moses Nathanael Christopher Omobiala Scott, Archbishop of West Africa
- Tom Smail, early leader in the British Charismatic Movement, theologian and teacher
- Anthony Thiselton, Professor of Christian Theology at University of Nottingham, Canon Theologian at Leicester and Southwell & Nottingham
- Robert Warren, National Officer in Evangelism (1994-2003), speaker, writer and teacher
- Vision and Values - St John's School of Mission, https://stjohns-nottm.ac.uk/about-stjohns. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
- St John's, Nottingham prospectus.
- Study Archived 2016-09-03 at the Wayback Machine St John's School of Mission
- Marchant, G. J. C. "Robin Ernest Nixon" (pdf). Churchman. Church Society. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
- "Christina Ann BAXTER". People of Today. Debrett's. Retrieved 16 May 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Revd Dr David Hilborn - CV" (PDF). St John's School of Mission, Nottingham. Retrieved 16 May 2015.