Since its foundation in 1919 Wesley House has been governed by a Board of Trustees. The number of Trustees is fixed as between 9 and 15, of whom 75% are to be members of the Methodist Church in Britain. Trustees serve for up to six years with a permitted extension of up to four years, and are nominated by the British Methodist Conference and then appointed by the Board of Trustees at their following meeting. In this the Trustees maintain the historic links with the British Methodist Conference.
Who are the current Trustees?
The Revd Dr Stuart Jordan read modern languages in Bristol and then trained at Wesley House in the earliest days of the Cambridge Theological Federation (71-74). Subsequent appointments included extended periods as a university chaplain, in urban ministry and in regional roles most recently as one of the Chairs of the London District. He has served on various connexional and ecumenical bodies and on retirement in 2015 moved back to Cambridge.
Professor Lieu is the Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Robinson College. She teaches, publishes and supervises in the fields of New Testament and of Early Christianity in the first two centuries; she was the President of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS) for 2015-2016, and is a Fellow of the British Academy. Professor Lieu is a Methodist local preacher and Chair of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church.
Paul Ashley trained as a geologist at Edinburgh and Birmingham universities. He spent much of his professional life working for the consultancy Mott MacDonald, dealing with water resources, environmental protection and sustainable development in many countries around the world. He brings to Wesley House his experience of business and project management, including for a while the management of his own company. He is the treasurer and a member at Wesley and Chesterton Churches in Cambridge
The Revd Dr John Barrett is a graduate of Newcastle and Cambridge Universities. Trained for the Methodist Ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge, and subsequently has held a variety of appointments in the area of Christian education including Chaplain at Kingswood School and three headships: Kent College, Pembury; The Leys School, Cambridge; The Anglo-Chinese International School, Singapore. He was the first Chair of the World Methodist Council Education Committee and from 2006-20011 was President of the World Methodist Council. He is Chair of the Methodist Independent Schools Trust.
Peter Briggs grew up in Sheffield, went to the new University of Sussex and left with a D.Phil in Theoretical Chemistry. Subsequently he changed tack and spent 7 years based in London with the Methodist Missionary Society and then Christian Aid. In 1980 he joined the British Association for the Advancement of Science promoting science rather than doing it and stayed for 22 years, over half of which he was its Chief Executive. His last paid job was at what is now the University of Roehampton, as the Principal of Southlands College and a Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university. He has been a Local Preacher for nearly 43 years.
The Revd Stephen Burgess is a retired presbyter in the Cambridge circuit. After graduating with a chemistry degree, he worked in industry before gaining a PGCE and teaching for two years. He then read theology in Birmingham whilst training for ministry at Queen’s College. Stephen has served in circuit in London, in school chaplaincy appointments in London and Cambridge, as superintendent minister in Cambridge, and most recently as chair of the York & Hull district.
The Revd Catherine Dixon is a presbyter serving in the West Norfolk Methodist Circuit. She studied at the Universities of Warwick, Cambridge, and Anglia Ruskin, and trained for the Methodist ministry at Wesley House, Cambridge. In the 1990s she sat on two Connexional committees (Women’s Network, and the International Scholarship Grants Committee), and has been a member of the Methodist Conference both in the 1990s, and most recently from 2016-18.
The Reverend Canon Julian M. Pursehouse is the Chair of the East Anglia Methodist District and has exercised a ministry of Word and Sacrament as a Methodist presbyter for the last 23 years. He holds degrees in English, Law and Theology and is currently researching the theme of ‘happiness’ within the theological anthropology of John Wesley. He is also a member of the Methodist Law and Polity Committee and a member of the Methodist Conference. In January 2017 he was made an Ecumenical Canon of Norwich Cathedral.
Miss Elizabeth Ovey is a practising barrister and a member in the Battersea and Wandle Valley Circuit. She is a member of the Connexional Law and Polity Committee and currently is its representative to Methodist Conference. She is a local preacher, has served twice as a circuit steward and is at present a church steward. She has been a trustee of Southlands College and of Sarum College.
David Scahill is a Mechanical Engineering graduate with over 15 years’ experience as Managing Director of seven of General Electric Company PLC’s companies. His subsequent experience includes two years as Chief Executive of the Power Generation Division of TT Group PLC which he followed by setting up his own management and consulting company. David has 20 years’ experience as an independent governor of Staffordshire University, and was elected Chairman of the Board for six years until retirement.
Mike Sharpe studied at the Universities of Newcastle and Salford. He is a retired Civil Engineer with 43 years experience in the private and public sectors. He is a Past President of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. He is a Steward in the Cambridge Methodist Circuit, a Church Treasurer and a Worship Leader. He is a member of the Methodist Candidates’ Selection Committee.
The Revd Colin Smith is superintendent of the Cambridge Methodist circuit and minister of Wesley Church in the centre of Cambridge. He is a barrister and a former British secretary of the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies. He is a trustee of Cambridge Citizens Advice and of the Susanna Wesley Foundation at Roehampton University.
What are the responsibilities of Trustees?
The Trustees have overall oversight of the work of Wesley House; they are responsible for:
- the strategic development of the college within its charitable purposes
- ensuring the soundness of its financial affairs
- its use of its funds
- the appropriate reports and accounts to the Charity Commissioners
- assessing and managing risk
In recent years the Trustees have had to take such serious decisions as planning for the future of the College, of agreeing the sale and leaseback of the site, of agreeing the design of the refurbished buildings and approving the business plan for the new College. The dedication and time this has involved bears witness to the Trustees’ sense of their obligation to honour the intentions of the Founders of the Trust; it builds on the fact that even in less tumultuous times the Trustees of Wesley House have always taken a lively interest in the life of the College, and they will continue to do so. They time their meetings so that they can meet with staff and students and share in worship where possible; those who are able often share more regularly in the worship, social and/ or academic life of the College; joining in major occasions such as Founders and Benefactors, Christmas, and the Beginning and End of Year services is a particular pleasure for the Trustees. Trustees also offer their particular skills to the work of the Board and the running of the College — such as financial expertise, experience of property and its management or of personnel affairs, involvement in Higher Education, experience of circuit life and of the Methodist Church in the UK and worldwide.
In choosing new Trustees, the Board seeks to ensure a variety of skills are represented, as well as to signal their links with the Methodist Connexion, with the Circuit and District, and with Cambridge University; most of all it seeks a commitment to the vision of what Wesley House has to offer the Methodist Church worldwide.