Applications received for first international cohort

In the last month we are delighted to have received our first international applications for registered degree programmes for the year 2015-16.  We have received applications for both research and masters programmes, and also confirmation that we shall host a visiting scholar for the whole academic year.

In addition to the residential cohort of students we shall also have a group of students continuing on part time awards such as the BA, the MA and the DProf.

It is not too late to apply for residential places or for degree programmes, either full time residential, or part time non-resident, or to apply to come as a sabbatical visitor or visiting scholar.  Why not come and be part of this pioneering year?


Festschrift for Doug Meeks

Meeks - AAR presentation 11.23.14

Jane writes:  it was a pleasure at the AAR to attend the Vanderbilt reception and to find that there was a short ceremony to honour the work of Doug Meeks who retires at the end of this academic year.  Douglas Meeks is the Cal Turner Chancellor Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Vanderbilt.  He is well known in Britain for his role in the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies and for his many lecture and study tours.

Doug is the author, co-author or editor of 16 books, including Origins of the Theology of Hope (Fortress) and God the Economist: The Doctrine of God and Political Economy (Fortress) and he has served on a variety of academic and ecclesial councils and commissions dealing with theology and economy, religion and science, liberation theology, points at issue between black and white theologies, and theological education.

The range and significance of his contribution to theology can be seen from the list of authors contributing to this collection in his honour including, Jürgen Moltmann.  Watch this space for details of how to get hold of a copy.


Jimmy Carter speaks to the AAR


Jane writes: my last stop at the American Academy of Religion was to hear President Jimmy Carter speak on the subject of women, religion, violence and power.  Commending his book, Call to Action, he spoke of his realisation through his work with the Carter Foundation of the way in which poverty and violence affect women and of the way in which religious justifications are often given for treating women as inferior to men.  A committed Baptist, now in his 90s, he spoke about how the essentials of Christian faith, summed up in love of God and love of neighbour, need to be put into practice in complex political climates and illustrated this with some startling illustrations from his own life – choosing not to go to war whilst he was in office despite extreme provocation during the Iranian hostage crisis (his term of office being the only four years in the last half century during which America has not fired a missile); leaving the Southern Baptist Convention after 70 years of membership after they decided no longer to allow women to be pastors or teach if men are in the room; installing solar panels on the White House (though these were subsequently taken down by his successor); speaking out against FGM though most people do not want to think about it.

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, it was startling to hear the statistics he quoted and his call to the audience of theological educators to raise awareness of climate change; to alert students’ attention to the readiness of nations to resort to violence in foreign and penal policy despite the reverence in which peace makers are held; and to challenge governments for their failures to adhere to the UN Declaration on Human Rights (, pointing out that America is currently in contravention of 10/30 of these.

Asked how he remains optimistic he quoted ArchbishopTutu’s response to the same question, ‘I am not an optimist, I am a prisoner of hope.’

Jane and Cindy at the AAR

Jane writes: the American Academy of Religion is meeting this year in San Diego, California.  This means that the weather is beautiful and a welcome contrast to the sub zero temperatures of the east coast and whatever the weather is doing in Cambridge…

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The Conference is a chance to meet scholars from all over the world.  Cindy is giving a paper on Tuesday morning, but yesterday we both attended the Wesleyan group giving us a chance to meet up with some old friends Wesley House such as – Doug Meeks, Tom Albin, Randy Maddox and Dion Forster.

It was also a chance to begin conversations with new contacts and to let people know about the new Journal, Holiness, and our call for papers for the next three issues: Holiness & Education; Holiness & Mission and Holiness & The Body.

The subject of this meeting was embodiment and included interesting contributions on the role of food in Wesleyan holiness through the eyes of Mary Bosanquet Fletcher; Susannah Wesley as seen through the eyes of Elisabeth Moltmann Wendel and John and Charles’ own sacramental theology.  The contributions were evaluated by Sarah Heaner Lancaster who raised questions about ethical consumption today; about what Methodist holiness might contribute to the human understanding of our relationship with the planet; and about the ambivalence towards the body in early Methodism in terms of its role in God’s saving work and how that ambivalence is expressed and experienced in different cultures now.

Issues of ethical consumption and the health of the planet are clearly evidence in San Diego bay which is home to pelicans, cormorrants, egrets and sealions, but also pumps millions of gallons of diesel into the American fleet in this major naval base.

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Principal plans DMin Programme In Washington

Jane writes:  on 19 November I arrived in Washington DC for meetings with the faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.  After a brief tour of the city in the sunset with Prof Bruce Birch (this is the Jefferson Memorial) we headed to the seminary.


This statue of John Wesley, a replica of that in Bristol, is one of only two equestrian statues in Washington DC that faces away from the capitol; the other is of Francis Asbury.


At the seminary I met with members of the faculty and the support staff to engage in detailed planning for the two DMin tracks beginning in January and April 2016; I also had opportunity to meet with students interested in studying for a year in Cambridge on the DTM programme.


Brian Beck’s sermon at the Founders and Benefactors service 12th November


12 November 2014

Isaiah 51:1-6 I Peter 2:4-10 Matthew 25:14-30

What would our founding fathers and later benefactors say, Gutteridge and Greenhalgh and Lamplough and Rank, Finch and Newton Davies and Banks and Cyples and Kingsley Sanders and Myra Roberts and many others, not forgetting that unsung hero, George Brown, who at the Conference of 1911 when Gutteridge first aired his dream, before the Conference was over had promised £5 towards its fulfilment: what would they all say if they were able, by some time machine, to join us this evening in the flesh and not just in the communion of saints?

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Principal preaches at the equator

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On Sunday 9 November the Principal preached at a circuit service in the Nkubu district of the Kenyan Methodist Church at the invitation of the Presiding Bishop, The Revd Joseph Ntombura.

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Joseph was a student at Wesley House in the 1990s.

The service had been organised to raise funds for the growing Methodist community in Kathera Kenya on the tea-growing slopes of Mt Kenya to erect a brick-built building to replace their timber structure.  Evidence of a new vitality in Kenyan Methodism included regular references to the teachings of John Wesley which were greeted with enthusiasm, including…

When a man becomes a Christian, he becomes industrious, trustworthy and prosperous. Now, if that man when he gets all he can and saves all he can, does not give all he can, I have more hope for Judas Iscariot than for that man!”

Almost 1/5 of the money needed for the new building was raised in an afternoon through direct giving by those present.


SMMS – an inspiration

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The buildings at SMMS are a purpose-built and integrated whole.  The library, chapel, lecture rooms and cafeteria all front onto the main courtyard.  Offices and meeting rooms are housed above and behind the gatehouse in a smaller two-tiered court.


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There are lot of places for students to sit and chat, both inside and outside the buildings and the campus has a friendly and welcoming feel.  Key features include the main gateway and the standing cross.

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The buildings are the tip of the ice-berg of what has been achieved here in the last five years, including registration to award degrees, the establishment of a BTh and Diploma programme and relationships with churches and NGOs in the area for the delivery of the field education programme.

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All MCSA probationers now study here full time for 3 years before going into circuit, alongside an expanding number of private students.

The seminary is an inspiration to those of us overseeing new buildings, new programmes and new partnerships in Cambridge.