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Cranmer Hall, St John’s College,

3 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3RJ

Cranmer Hall – Diamond Jubilee

Cranmer Hall, Durham Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

Over 250 people, including  former and current staff and students of Cranmer Hall, Durham, and a dozen bishops, celebrated the theological college’s Diamond Jubilee with a special service at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 28 September.

Cranmer Hall, the Church of England’s most northern residential TEI, was founded out of St John’s College in 1958 and has since then trained 1300 ordinands for ministry across the Church of England and beyond, together with Methodist and Baptist ministers.

In his sermon, the former Warden of Cranmer Hall and Bishop of Oxford John Pritchard said, ‘at its best Cranmer Hall has sent out wave after wave of clergy and lay Christians to bear witness to, and to embody, divine abundance.’  He added, ‘Our evangelical heart, combined with a wide welcome, has enriched the training experience no end, and prepared people for the real church, as it is.’

An anthem based on Isaiah 55 was specially composed for the occasion by Cranmer Hall student Amy Ward, and sung by the Cranmer Hall Choir.

Those attending a celebratory lunch afterwards also watched a video message from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, himself a onetime ordinand at Cranmer Hall.  He said he looked back on his time at Cranmer Hall with ‘enormous gratitude and appreciation’.  He added that he thanked God for leading him and his family to train in the North-East.

The current Warden of Cranmer Hall, the Revd Dr Philip Plyming, commented ‘There is so much to thank God for in the last sixty years of Cranmer Hall.  As a former Cranmer student myself I know the strengths of the college from the inside – a generous evangelical tradition, excellent academic courses and an outstanding placement programme.  We are pleased that an increasing number of students from across the Church of England and beyond are choosing to train at Cranmer Hall and prepare fully for fruitful and Christ-like mission and ministry.’

The Principal of St John’s College, the Revd Prof. David Wilkinson, added, ‘Cranmer Hall has a unique place as the only TEI in the Church of England that is also a full part of a university through being part of St John’s College.  I am thankful that the relationships with the University and Department of Theology and Religion have never been stronger, which means that Cranmer students have access to world-class academic teaching and research.  As a College we are also looking to invest in the future and the new £4.3m Learning Resource Centre, due to open next year, will create a study and teaching resource second to none.’

The Rt Revd Libby Lane, Bishop of Stockport and former Cranmer student, was given the inaugural Cranmer Award for Cranmer alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to the Church’s mission.  She said, ‘Training  for ordination at Cranmer Hall, alongside my husband, as the Church of England made the decision whether to ordain women as priests, was life giving and life changing. Cranmer Hall rooted us and all we offer in the transforming invitation of Christ – to come ever closer to Him and go even further for Him.’



  • Picture 1: a group of Cranmer alumni, including the Rt Revd Libby Lane (the first woman bishop), the Rt Revd Chris Edmondson (Bishop of Bolton) and Canon Claude Rutter (one of the first students at Cranmer Hall in 1958)
  • Picture 2: a group of people celebrating Cranmer’s Diamond Jubilee, including the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham (and his daughter, Cranmer alumna the Revd Caroline Taylor), the former Warden of Cranmer Hall and Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, and the Principal of St John’s College, the Revd Prof. David Wilkinson.
  • Picture 3 (from left to right): Revd Dr Philip Plyming, Warden, Cranmer Hall; Revd Prof. David Wilkinson, Principal, St John’s College; Revd Emma Parker, Deputy Warden, Cranmer Hall

St John’s College, Durham, was established in 1909 to train Anglican clergy. Over time it welcomed students studying other disciplines, and in 1958 Cranmer Hall was created to form a separate Hall within St John’s College for those training for ministry. There are currently over 100 students training at Cranmer Hall, including 66 ordinands. This October 31 ordinands are starting training at Cranmer Hall, the largest number for four years. Notable Cranmer alumni include Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Libby Lane, the first woman consecrated bishop within the Church of England, and Steven Croft, the current Bishop of Oxford.

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