Important Thinking in the Church of England

You may have already heard about the recently published reports from the Archbishop’s Task Groups.

They are worth looking at to see the direction of travel proposed for the Church of England, especially in training and discipleship, and some other links below might interest you too.


The paper on Developing Discipleship can be found here, offering ten marks of dioceses that are developing disciples.

Personally I welcome this as the institution catching up with a renewed sense of the importance of making disciples that is already around today – certainly in the last few years of my time in Bath Deanery this was very much our focus. The Methodist Church have been working on this in Deepening Discipleship, especially through the Inspire Network, and LICC have some interesting work through their Imagine project.

Ministerial Training

The paper from the Resourcing Ministerial Education (RME) Task Group looks at how the CofE uses its resources in the best way to provide the best training for future ordained and lay ministry.

At STETS, where we are particularly keen on flexibility in training and on blended learning, we are especially in tune with point 31 which says:

“The RME research gives a positive message about current ministerial education provision in that the findings show no distinction between college and course pathways in relation to effectiveness related to numerical and spiritual growth and other measures. The full range of pathways can therefore be used with confidence, recognising that each pathway has its own excellence and offers distinctive benefits.”

Other papers and comments…

There are other papers going to General Synod too, all in the context of the Archbishops’ document In Each Generation: A programme for reform and renewal which is worth reading. All the papers have comment pages if you wish to join in the debate.

There’s much reaction to all this. Amongst others, one of our Training Ministers David Keen has been blogging at a great rate over the last week, and last Thursday’s post includes a helpful oversight of all the papers that have come out – his blog can be found here.

…so let’s pray!

Finally, the RME paper includes a prayer which they commend to the wider church and we commend to you:

Almighty Father,
Give us grace and strength this day
to build up your church
in love for the world,
in the making of disciples
and to equip the saints for the work of ministry.
Plant your hope deep within us.
Open our eyes to a fresh vision of your kingdom.
Give us wisdom for the common task.
Draw us and all your Church deeper into Christ,
our foundation and cornerstone,
that we may work together as one body,
in the power of the Spirit
and for the sake of your glory. Amen

Sarum College to Host Social Travel Conference this April

sitetopSarum College is the venue for a new conference – Social Travel Britain 2015 – for travel and tourism businesses and their communications teams.

The conference takes place between Friday 17 and Sunday 19 April and will also feature the first-ever UK Social Travel Awards, recognising the best digital innovations and social media campaigns in British tourism over the last 12 months.

The new event will showcase the best initiatives in digital marketing and social media and address the key issues that are shaping Britain’s digital marketing future. There will also be workshops, industry debates and knowledge-sharing sessions.

For the full conference line-up and details on how to book your place, including an early bird discount until the end of January, visit

Conference in the Media

Library Refurbishment This February

033  Sarum College 25thFeb14Sarum College Library will be closed from Monday 2 February to Friday 20 February whilst we carry out an extensive refurbishment.

Those of you who know our well-loved library will know that it is looking a little tired these days. All that will be changed in February as the result of a legacy from Miss Heather Mathews, a member who loved coming to the library and appreciated the personal touches we offer.

These works will see the main library room completely re-fitted with a new carpet, pale walls, more electrical sockets, new lighting and improved heating. These improvements will make the library an attractive, comfortable space for staff, volunteers and readers.

During the refurbishment process there will be no access to the main library room (and the books in it) and we will only be able to lend books that are normally in rooms 2 and 3 (270.8 to 999 in the classification scheme) or which we’ve retrieved in advance.

If you think that you might need any books during February, please send a list of the titles to the library by Friday 30th January. Books from current reading lists will be available in one of the other library rooms and the catalogue and loans system will be working as normal during these three weeks but other services may be limited.

Contact Jayne Downey, Sarum College Librarian for all enquiries  |  01722 424803  |  01722 424800 (main reception)

Book of the Month: January 2015

cry of wonder_webCry of Wonder by Gerard Hughes

This is the final book by Gerard Hughes, as sadly he died soon after its publication. His previous books include the popular God of Surprises, God in all Things and In Search of a WayCry of Wonder is a work of maturity, as Hughes reflects on 70 years of life as a Jesuit.

Part autobiography, the author relates episodes from his long career. This included three years’ theological training in Germany eleven years after the Second World War, a number of years spent a Chaplain at Glasgow University and superior at the St Beuno’s community in North Wales.  Hughes looks back over his life, and in particular at recurring memories, and finds meaning which he did not always see at the time. He encourages the reader to do the same with our memories, and there are exercises at the end of each chapter to aid this process.

The book is one of big themes – ‘Unity’, ‘Peace’ and ‘Holiness’- each theme forming one of the three parts of the book. As he says in the introduction, “I write for anyone who is interested in the ‘why’ questions of human life”, and Hughes is keen that the reader keep a critical faculty.

‘Unity’ starts as ecumenism, and develops into the idea of the inter-relatedness of all, which has consequences for how we life our lives, and how we care for the earth. ‘Peace’ makes us confront our reactions to, for example, nuclear weapons.  How do we square the Sermon on the Mount with war? Is there such a thing as a just war?

‘Holiness’ introduces us to some of the teachings of Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits, and some of the famous exercises. Hughes had been leading retreats using the exercises for 60 years so is the ideal person to expound them for the reader.

Throughout the book runs the theme of wonder, found through stillness, through contemplative prayer or through walking. “If we can be still and listen to our hearts, we shall discover that we are not alone” he says.

So, there is much in this book to ponder. Big themes for a New Year, and a book  to return to throughout the year.

Reviewed by Jenny Monds, Sarum College

Special price of £11.50 in the shop (posted out for free) or £9.50 + postage from until 31st January 2015. RRP £12.99

Bookshop Bestsellers: December 2014

Sarum College Bookshop1. Life and Times of Hengest by Bryan Evans, Anglo-Saxon Books £14.95

2. Santa is Coming to Salisbury by Steve Smallman, Hometown World £4.99

3. Walking Backwards to Christmas by Stephen Cottrell, SPCK £7.99

4. Meeting God in Mark by Rowan Williams, SPCK £8.99

5. Acts and Omissions by Catherine Fox, SPCK £9.99

6. Retreats 2015, Retreat Association £8

7. Sounding the Seasons by Malcolm Guite, Canterbury Press Norwich £9.99

8. Cry of Wonder by Gerard W Hughes, Bloomsbury £12.99

9. Longing, Waiting, Believing by Rodney Holder, BRF £7.99

10. Mecca: The Sacred City by Ziauddin Sardar, Bloomsbury £25