Return to Trinity

The big wheel of life has turned right around as this September sees me begin, for the second time in my life, a new academic post on the staff of Trinity College in Bristol. It’s a fascinating experience, returning to an institution which I left over 10 years ago. Trinity is bigger than it was when I left and has developed its activities in a number of different ways.  It has developed context-based learning, for people who are training to be Church leaders: this gives them the opportunity to spend a significant part of their time working as an extension of a local church’s ministry team (and there are a variety of types of context available, from urban to rural). It has recently developed a non-residential part-time course which is taken by a variety of types of student, some of whom are training for ordination locally, while others are preparing for, or resourcing their existing Christian ministry. Finally, Trinity now has an open learning section, that offers courses for people living just about anywhere. This is an exciting combination of activities, which will make the college able to adapt to the changing needs of the Church and the changing opportunities which technology provides.

What has not changed is its institutional commitment to Christian mission. But the outside world has changed since I left, with the UK Church having less and less influence upon its culture. Trinity is very committed to the re-evangelisation of these islands, as in the UK (and Europe more generally) the Church faces critical challenges which are of strategic importance to global Christianity. In many respects, we are facing problems today which other parts of world Christianity will face in coming decades.This task requires both theological and spiritual commitment of the highest order, so it’s important that colleges like Trinity, which seek to resource the Church through training, do so with that same level of missional commitment to a deep spirituality and intellectual excellence. So it’s not surprising that I’m so excited to be part of what’s going on here.

At the same time I miss my many friends at St Michael’s. The staff there have all been wonderful colleagues to work with and immensely supportive. Peter, the principal, in particular, was a tower of strength throughout my time. Those who follow this blog may remember the hassle we had with our house-move, one effect of which was that we abandoned our plans to move to Monmouthshire and bought a house in Bristol instead. This meant a 3-hour daily commute for me, so when I was offered the job at Trinity, it meant more time to commit to doing the job and a huge time-burden lifted. Nevertheless, I had a good time at St Michael’s and wish everyone there my best wishes and love. In particular, I will continue to pray for students I taught there as they enter and develop their ministry in the Church in Wales. A very committed and impressive bunch they all are.

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One reply on “Return to Trinity”

  1. Great news to hear of your return, Paul, both as an alumni of Trinity and former Roberts student first time round and a recent London DDO. New horizons for me as I too have moved to work in a different country … just started as an incumbent in Wellington, New Zealand, and getting to grips with A New Zealand Prayer Book. Here’s to new starts! Every blessing.

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