A pioneering training pathway at Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, has received a significant boost with the Vardy Foundation making a substantial gift to support the training of men and women as missional leaders in the North-East and beyond.
The Free Church Track (FCT) was founded in 2016 to support the education and training of missional leaders from across the churches in the North East. Over 40 men and women have been trained at undergraduate and postgraduate level and are now serving in communities from Alnwick to York and Morpeth to Stockton. A number of past FCT students are now ordained Baptist ministers due to a flourishing partnership with the Northern Baptist Association and Northern Baptist College.
The Vardy Foundation provided significant support at the outset of the FCT, supporting the appointment of the first Director, Revd Dr Andy Byers, and enabling generous student bursaries to be made. In the light of Dr Byers’ move this summer to a role teaching New Testament in Cambridge, Sir Peter Vardy has offered a further gift to enable a full-time FCT Director to be appointed, with a focus on greater engagement with local churches and communities throughout the North East, creating the chance for more men and women to come to Durham and train for ministry.
Revd Dr Philip Plyming, Warden of Cranmer Hall, said, ‘I am very grateful for the ongoing support of the Vardy Foundation in this significant and exciting work. It has been so encouraging to see women and men equipped theologically and practically and sent out to serve as missional leaders throughout our region. This gift allows an exciting new appointment to be made which can build on good foundations and see more people reached than ever before.’
Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College, commented, ‘I am clear that this gift is a huge vote of confidence in the capacity of the College and the University to support students from our local area with high-quality education and training, with the goal of seeing local communities across the North East impacted in a transforming way. Cranmer Hall has always been at the forefront of finding new and creative ways to train and equip leaders; this appointment is further evidence of our vocation as a College to serve our local communities as well as the national and international church.’
For details of the new appointment and how to apply please see here