We are pleased to welcome ministers and scholars for periods of sabbatical study and reflection at Wesley House.
Visitors can enjoy:
- self-catering accommodation in the heart of Cambridge;
- space for study and reflection;
- an extensive theological library, and access to other collections in Cambridge;
- privileged access to the resources of the Cambridge Theological Federation and opportunity to visit the University of Cambridge;
- access to the social programme of the University of Cambridge for visiting scholars;
- a term-time pattern of daily prayer and involvement in the life of the college including weekly meal and seminar; and
- expert subject supervision and support with project development can be negotiated if required at additional cost.
I recently spent a four-week sabbatical, self-styled, study intensive at Wesley House to kickstart my post-grad studies after a year’s ill-health intermission.
In spite of my exaggerated study goals, I couldn’t have foreseen the richness of the college experience; my first of such in three decades of ministry (all previous learning done part-time, in circuit). I quickly grew to appreciate- and eagerly anticipate- the rhythm of Wesley college life; the thrice-weekly morning Chapel devotions (followed by coffee and chatter) providing a meaningfully reflective start to the day, and weekly Thursday evening Chapel communion services and community dinners.
In my final morning chapel service my stay culminated in an unanticipated “home-coming” experience when it very personally struck me, “I have a college”- unprecedented in my privileged, multiple university life! I had “come home”; and I am proud to belong to this wonderful institute of Christian transformation through education.
I can only say this was the result of my immediate seamless and unconditional absorption into the college community at every level; albeit I was a visitor. Staff could not have been more helpful. Students owned me as a fellow, happy to aid my settling in, and engage and offer helpful insights re academic studies. Nobody was “precious” about their expertise or puffed up by their knowledge (a communion service sermon topic), fully and freely, and unpretentiously sharing of themselves. I remain grateful to principal and staff for the privileged experience of the warming Wesley House culture established and shared by them.
The accommodation was excellent; also enjoying the close proximity to and relationships with neighbouring colleges, the beautiful Jesus Green and River Cam, as well as Cambridge itself- a delightful, lively city, “oozing with academia” as once described to me.
I managed to fervently re-ignite my study passion and motivation, and sufficiently progress to restore self-confidence in completing them.
The Revd Gary Molver, 2024
Wesley House has kindly and wonderfully hosted me as a visiting scholar, affording me both access to the wider research facilities of the university and Cambridge Theological Federation and the time to find myself. That last element has been important – especially given the nature of current (Western) academia, how it operates, and the pressures that it puts on those of us who teach and research within its embrace. Here I have found a home away from home – one that has given me space and resources to effectively work as a researcher. Just as importantly, it has given me a chance to both experience and contribute to genuine community.
For me, the Wesley House community has been open and accepting, well-resourced, nicely structured and yet appropriately informal. Please don’t take offence, but it acts as an appropriate foil for the more formal regimes of other Cambridge colleges. It is informal and inclusive – yet, people here (those ‘in charge’ and those resident) take an interest in and care about those of us who are more ‘casual’ residents. Holistic care is enacted in unstated and yet deliberate ways. Regular rhythms of worship, coffee and the weekly dinners have been important elements in sustaining this sense of community. By being here, I have found peace and peacefulness – which I contend, again in our outputs-driven academic environment – is just as important as the research I have done. This has been a true sabbatical, and I am deeply appreciative of the chance to be resident here this term.
Hugh Morrison, 2023
Associate Professor in Education at the University of Otago
Today I am completing my sabbatical at this great and wonderful place of learning and worship. It’s been a month since I arrived. Not a long time though a great privilege. I just want to express my gratitude to all who made this time of rest, reflection, learning and service possible for me. During my time here I experienced love and warmth. Help was always available when one needed it. I can assure I would not have preferred to spend my limited but precious sabbatical anywhere else in the world than here. Here I have formed friendships, learned a lot about one of the greatest institutions of higher education in our contemporary era. I have walked, touched and smelled this legendary University. I am extremely glad that the Methodist people have presence here and more grateful to the gallant and courageous colleagues who work hard to keep the doors of Wesley House open.
Simangaliso R Kumalo, President, Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary, South Africa
My semester sabbatical at Wesley House was something that I knew I needed, but did not realize how much I would enjoy and how meaningful it would prove to be. Academic theological education may not be backbreaking work, but it is mind consuming and sometimes heart wrenching work. The time apart to read and think, as well as to study and write, was both engaging and renewing. Cambridge is a small city packed with large opportunities for concerts, study, theatre, walks, libraries, and bookstores. Wesley House has the perfect location in Cambridge and its hospitality provided the perfect combination of generous invitation to be involved in the life of the community and limited expectation at to what all we needed to do to be members of the community. I appreciated both the inclusion and time to pursue my own agenda. Morning prayers and Thursday dinners were important parts of our time in this community, and times for worship and celebration complemented otherwise quiet and reflective days, The newly renovated accommodations made for a comfortable stay, the international community of students and others on sabbatical provided good conversation partners, the library resources of Wesley House and the Cambridge Theological Federation are rich, and the staff was supportive and helpful in every possible way.
Dan Aleshire, Executive Director, The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
Wesley House, located within walking distance to the historic town centre and amidst some of the oldest university colleges, is an excellent place to spend a sabbatical or a shorter study leave. Affordable accomodation, including access to cooking and washing facilities, the possibility to use the spacious library and morning prayer (during term time) provide a comfortable and stimulating study enviroment. The friendly staff is committed to making sure you can make make the most of your stay here. For scholars and pastors in the Methodist tradition Wesley House is the place to go to for getting some focused research and writing done.
Christoph Raedel, Professor for Systematic Theology at the Freie Theologische Hochschule Giessen (Germany)
“The refurbishment of Wesley House now means it is an ideal place to be based for a period of sustained reading, research or writing. The library is accessible to sabbatical visitors 24/7 and is a wonderfully peaceful place in which to work. The self-catering facilities mean you aren’t tied to particular meal-times, though if you have the resources there are plenty of cafes, coffee-houses and restaurants nearby. I had a 10-day stint there recently and it proved a very fruitful time. I wanted to stay longer!”
Professor Clive Marsh (University of Leicester)
For an additional fee, suitably qualified visiting scholars may also apply for such status in the University’s Faculty of Divinity. Such scholars are welcome to the senior seminars of the Faculty which run during term time: Old Testament; New Testament; Christian Theology; History of Christianity; Philosophy of Religion; Religious Studies; Hebrew, Jewish, Early Christian Studies; Patristics; World Christianities.