Theological college in Nottingham ‘no longer financially viable in the long term’
After 156 years, St John’s College, Nottingham, is to close, it was announced this week.
The majority of the 28 employees at the former theological college, including tutors, will transfer to new posts in institutions that have agreed to continue the college’s distance-learning and youth-ministry work; but there will be redundancies by the end of next summer. Students have been reassured that their courses will continue until they have completed them.
A statement issued this week said that the college’s council had agreed, on 11 November, “that the operation of the current configuration of St John’s is no longer financially viable in the long term”, and that the process of closure would begin.
The Principal of the Eastern Region Ministry Course, the Revd Dr Alex Jensen, suggested this week that there was “great fear” in the Theological Education Institutions (TEI) sector that other closures could follow.
“Hardly any college or course is financially sustainable,” he said. “I think there is a recognition in the Ministry Council that there is something wrong. . . The question is if changes will be made before the next college or course falls by the wayside.”
The broader context for theological education was illustrated by figures from the Ministry Division seen by the Church Times this week (News, 6 December), which suggest that the Renewal and Reform target of a 50-per-cent increase in ordained vocations is unlikely to be met by 2020 (News, 2 September).
There have been signs of trouble at St John’s for some time. Last year, there were 60 students at the college, compared with 108 in 2016-17, and 223 recorded in June 2016, according to a report from the Quality Assurance Agency.
For the full story by Madeleine Davies see: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/6-december/news/uk/st-john-s-college-to-close-after-156-years