Congratulations to June Osborne on her new role as Bishop of Llandaff

Sarum College wishes to congratulate The Very Revd June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, on her new role as Bishop of Llandaff.

In response to the news, The Revd Canon Dr James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College said:

‘Salisbury Cathedral and Sarum College are friends and neighbours in the Close and we work together across a number of areas of learning and spiritual formation. Our visitors benefit from the life and witness of the Cathedral as we are enriched by the beauty of its architecture and worship.

June has been a friend, supporter and guide to our work over many years of her ministry in the Close. I am particularly indebted to June for her encouragement and wisdom since I arrived in September 2015. She is a person of experience, vision and sound judgement.

The life of the Church of England would be very different today without June’s tireless commitment to women’s ministry and leadership. June is an able teacher and an inspiring communicator.

All at Sarum College wish her well as she moves into new chapter of her ministry as Bishop of Llandaff in the Church In Wales. Her presence will be much missed and we offer our congratulations and prayers.’

Sarum College is an independent and ecumenical centre for Christian study and hospitality with a longstanding collaborative relationship with Salisbury Cathedral. The College was founded in 1995 by a governing body headed by the former dean of Salisbury Cathedral, The Very Revd Hugh Dickinson. Prior to this, it had been an Anglican Theological College, which was founded in 1960 by the then Bishop of Salisbury, Walter Kerr Hamilton. Salisbury Theological College amalgamated with Wells Theological College in the early 1970s; Salisbury and Wells Theological College closed in 1994.

Photo by Ash Mills Photography.

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Sarum Graduate Publishes The Spirituality of Jane Austen

Congratulations are in order for Sarum graduate The Rev Prebendary Paula Hollingsworth, who has just published The Spirituality of Jane Austen: Her Faith Through her Life, Letters and Literature.

Paula completed her MA in Christian Spirituality in 2007, and wrote her dissertation on Jane Austen.

‘A lot of invitations to speak followed,’ says Paula. ‘One of which was the invitation to write a book for Lion Hudson.

‘I really valued the MA course in Christian Spirituality, particularly the way that the modules were held as residential blocks that enabled you to get deeply into the subject, and have good in-depth discussions with other course members over meals and in the bar at the end of the day,’ says Paula. ‘I also appreciated the variety of modules – and in fact audited a number of them, as I wanted to do more modules than I needed. I did particularly enjoy the module on Literature and Spirituality. I have subsequently used much of what I learned on the course in sermons, lectures and Quiet Days – using material from all parts of the course, not just from my dissertation on Jane Austen!’

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, whose six completed novels have never been out of print. Best known for her novels, ‘Sense and Sensibility’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Mansfield Park’, and ‘Emma’, first published anonymously, Austen commented, critiqued and illuminated the life of the English upper classes. But did Austen’s writings highlight anything about her own spirituality? In this celebratory book, Paula Hollingsworth explores Jane Austen’s gentle but strong faith and the effect it had both on her life and her writing. Drawing on Jane’s life story, her letters, her friendships, her books and the characters portrayed, Paula shows the depth of Jane Austen’s spirituality.

Paula is vicar of Westbury sub Mendip with Easton and Priddy, dean of Women’s Ministry, Diocese of Bath and Wells and sub dean of Wells Cathedral.

The book can be ordered online from Sarum College Bookshop. Email the Bookshop to register interest in a forthcoming launch of Paula’s book, The Spirituality of Jane Austen (date tbc).

If you’d like to know more about our MA programmes, why not come to a Taster Day? The next one is Saturday, June 10th (2017).

Sarum College Pays Tribute to Michael Perham

In a tribute to the former Bishop of Gloucester, Michael Perham, who died on April 17th, Sarum College Principal James Woodward said:

“Bishop Michael was a great friend and encourager of Sarum College and our life of learning. He brought his theological and liturgical wisdom into our teaching and was a regular contributor to our MA work.

I appreciated his guidance during the early part of my time here in 2016 and we were delighted to launch his last book The Way of Christ-Likeness here. We remember the way he reflected on his death and faith with candour and without a sense of drama – his courage and pragmatism were inspiring.

We join our thoughts and prayers with many across the community in thanksgiving for a faithful life well lived and offer our sympathy to Alison and his family.

May he rest in peace.”

A Functional Art: Reflections of a Hymn Writer with Timothy Dudley-Smith

Meet renowned hymn writer Timothy Dudley-Smith at the launch of his new book, A Functional Art.

Thursday 1 June at 3.30pm

Timothy Dudley-Smith has published around 400 hymn texts. In this fascinating book, he explores not only the writing of hymns but many other aspects including the study and singing of them. It is not a history, a text book, or an academic treatise, but the personal reflections of an experienced practitioner who has been speaking and writing on this subject, on both sides of the Atlantic, for more than fifty years.

During this book launch we will be joined by the RSCM singers, who will sing a selection of Bishop Timothy’s hymns.

Free and open to all, refreshments provided
RSVP to or 01722 326899

Lectionary Reading Blog for 23 April: 2nd Sunday of Easter or Easter Eve

This is a violent passage. Is it suitable for Easter? Is it suitable for baptism? Traditionally Easter Eve is a time for baptism.

We travel with Jesus through the waters of death to new life. We travel with the Israelites through the sea to freedom from the Egyptians.

One of the questions to ponder in light of this story is what we would like to leave behind in the water and in death. What difficulty or evil is pursuing us? What did we get rid of at baptism? What did Jesus loose in death? We might be like the Israelites, needing deliverance from those things that oppress us from outside ourselves. It is hard to imagine this without violence, even if the text emphasises stillness (v.14 charash = keep silent).

Jesus went the way of peace, he was silent. Following him means we need to think what oppresses us inside ourselves. When we go the road through the valley (or the waters) of death we trust God to go with us. What do we want to leave behind in death? What do we want to die to? I imagine the Israelites not only lost an army of Egyptian soldiers but they also lost some of their fear and their doubt and their lack of trust both in Moses and God when they sang with Miriam a song of deliverance. “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously”. New life indeed.

23 April 2017
Exodus 14: 10-end; 15: 20-21

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Sarum Ministry Graduate Prized for Supporting Vulnerable Adults

A recent graduate of the Sarum College Ministry Course has won a prize as Employee of the Month for developing excellent relationships with vulnerable clients.

The Revd Gerard Mee is a self-supporting minister and a Community Support Worker with County Care, which supports people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health issues.

Gerard graduated from the Sarum Ministry Course in 2016, and is now a deacon and self-supporting minister at St Mary’s, Thorpe, in the Diocese of Guildford and expects to be ordained a priest in June.

Gerard started working for County Care last August, and won the award – and a bottle of champagne – after establishing a trusting relationship with a client who had not been out of the house for four years, with the result that they have now managed to venture out into the community.

Of his ministry in holy orders, Gerard said, “I am a great supporter of self-supporting ministry. I believe I’m following in the footsteps of the French Roman Catholic priests in the 1920s who felt called to start the worker priest movement, serving God and their neighbour in the world of secular employment.

“I have always looked upon the Church as my mother and in my own small way I feel that by being an SSM I am giving something back to my mother who has always been there for me.

“I have always had a strong pull towards being a foot solider of Jesus, and a priestly ministry of subtly acting out God’s love for anybody and everybody.

“The opportunity to offer support to local people living with a wide range of learning disabilities is both challenging and tremendously rewarding. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

“God willing, this exciting journey of serving Him shall be further enhanced when I’m priested at Guildford Cathedral this Petertide.”

Gerard wrote this reflection on his time at Sarum College – and we quote – “as a Northerner from West Lancashire who tells it how it is”:

“Community, is a word so often overused, therefore the best and most honest way that I would like to capture my three years at Sarum College that it was a family.

“Families, as we all know, are diverse melting pots where people are hopefully encouraged to share the views on a wide range of subjects.

“Sarum College is not a theological ‘sausage factory’ where everybody is expected to come out of the other side ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’. However, what Sarum does is provide each student with the permission to explore the various ways that the whole of humanity can touch and be touched by God.

“Another important aspect of any loving family is support and care when, from time to time, we experience wobbles in life. It does matter to Sarum if a student is facing health issues, facing financial challenges or dealing with ‘everyday’ situations. The pastoral care and the way that all the staff rally round is surely the envy of every theological college in the country.”

Wendy Pugh to Step Down as Clerk to Trustees

After four years of wonderful service, The Revd Wendy Pugh is to step down as Clerk to Trustees.

“Wendy has served the Trustee Body with diligence, intelligence and independence,” says James Woodward, Sarum College Principal.

“I shall miss her guidance and unassuming presence that so often articulates key questions and challenges with clarity and determination. Her minutes of meetings are a tour de force always produced quickly and efficiently.

“Above all Wendy understands the ethos and community here at 19 The Close from the inside. She is a regular participant in our learning life. We appreciate her presence and friendship.”

Wendy retired to Salisbury five years ago after sixteen years in parish ministry and, prior to ordination, work as a chartered accountant. She began her retirement with the MA in Theology, Imagination and Culture which she says was a wonderfully mind-expanding experience which has left her with a lively interest in the way spiritual truths are explored and conveyed through art.

If you would be interested in applying for this position, or volunteering at Sarum College in general, contact Christine Nielsen-Craig. Telephone 01722 424812 or email

College Bloggers

We have a new addition to the College blogging team!

Ann Philp, Safeguarding Officer and Pastoral Tutor to Ministry Programmes, began her blogging adventure earlier in March.

Ann’s blog focuses on life and faith as it relates to ageing.

You can read Ann’s blog on her website at where you can also ‘follow’ her blog to receive email notifications when a new blog has been posted.

Ann joins James Woodward ( and Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh ( as the College’s other frequent blogees.

Spirituality in Photography: Book Launch with Philip Richter

Join Sarum College Bookshop for a book launch with Philip Richter as he launches his new book Spirituality in Photography.

Thursday 25 May 2017 at 4pm

Philip Richter is a Methodist minister, currently serving as a Ministry Development Officer in the British Connexional Team. He is a keen amateur photographer and runs courses and writes about photography and spirituality. He co-wrote Gone But Not Forgotten (DLT: 1998). He is a former member of the academic staff at STETS (now the Centre for Formation in Ministry at Sarum College).

“A book to help you use your phone to see, think, pray – and do. As someone who often feels disabled by photographic experts, I found it very enabling.” – David Holgate, Canon for Theology and Mission, Manchester Cathedral

“‘Philip Richter has wisely seen the connection between what has traditionally been called “a rule of life” and the art of taking photographs. This relationship between traditional Christian Spirituality and a contemporary art form is most imaginative. His insights can be of assistance to the novice photographer and the personal quest for meaning in the contemporary environment.” Brother Patrick Moore, Scholar in Residence, Sarum College, Salisbury

Free and open to all, refreshments provided
To book telephone 01722 326899 or email