St Mellitus College exists to serve the mission of the Church and was established in a spirit of partnership. As such, we have always worked closely with our diocesan partners to support them in training and mission since the College was launched in 2007. We were delighted when, in 2013, the dioceses of Blackburn, Carlisle, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester invited us to set up St Mellitus College, North West with the aim of working with them to establish provision for full-time ordination training in the region in a multi-directional “partnership in the gospel” that aims to bring together the best of what is offered in different regions to enlarge the vision of all. It has therefore been a joy to see our North West centre flourish over the last seven years, with ever growing numbers of ordinands, undergraduate and postgraduate students studying with us, as well as developing an access course to open up a route into theological study for a wide range of candidates.
However, it has been announced this morning that, following a review of the various training providers in the region, the North West Bishops are seeking to establish a new single institution in the region that can offer full-time and part-time training, with the intention of launching in September 2021. Their decision is at once a cause of excitement, as it means vocations are flourishing, but also sadness as our formal partnership in the North West comes to an end.
St Mellitus College has always supported its Bishops, responding to their invitations to share in the mission and ministry of the dioceses where we work, and so we will seek to bless the new venture the Bishops are undertaking to enable the new college to flourish. St Mellitus College will now be working to consider the future of the North-West centre and what this next period of transition will look like as we seek to support and care for our students and staff team. It has always been a joy to enable ordinands and lay leaders from across the entire country to learn from each other and build lasting friendships, and we will miss the contribution of the North West into our national life. We will be very sorry to lose the vibrancy of the North West students and staff as part of the wider college, however we hope to continue friendships and collaboration going forward.