Jack Hedger is an undergraduate studying at St Mellitus College, East Midlands. Below, he answers a few questions.
When I came to the college I found that there was a group of people like me who loved big questions and mystery. I don’t feel like a stranger to my own tradition at St Mellitus, I feel welcome, and I feel able to be myself.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Jack, I go to St Mellitus East Midlands and I live in Wolverhampton. Alongside my studies I am a churchwarden, a freelance graphic designer, and my wife and I run an organisation called Colab.
What drew you to study at St Mellitus college?
I had always wanted to do some further study, and always had an interest in theology. After some sudden work and life changes, I felt a nudge towards theological study. I had the feeling that Jesus wanted to continue to form and shape me through some kind of training, and came to an open day to see if this was that.
What has been a highlight of your studies?
I had felt, for a long time, like an outsider. Many people close to me had found my desire to ask questions and understand philosophy and theology uncomfortable; even leading to close friends questioning if I was still a Christian. When I came to the college I found that there was a group of people like me who loved big questions and mystery. I don’t feel like a stranger to my own tradition at St Mellitus, I feel welcome, and I feel able to be myself.
How have you been supported during your time at St Mellitus?
As I’ve said, the environment has been supportive and welcoming. At college pre-Covid the team was very ready to chat and were great at noticing us all. This culture overflowed to the students too. During lockdown this has changed, but I know there is an open door from the college. I am also dyslexic, and I’ve found that the college has been able to support me with advice and support when I’ve asked for it.
How would you describe your time at St Mellitus College?
There are many ways that I could answer this question. Overall, it’s been great. I’ve enjoyed joining the community, training and learning, and exploring big topics. But that’s not to say that it hasn’t been difficult too! There have been a lot of opportunities for growth, and there have been moments of helpful challenge from the staff team and the lecturers, as well as the wider reading. I truly feel like Jesus is staying true to the promise of forming and shaping me through my time at the college.
How is your leadership being shaped by your studies?
I’m involved in ministry in my local church, and I think the biggest ‘shaping’ that has occurred is about what is going on behind ‘the thing’. My understanding and respect for my local church’s liturgical practice, and wider, for the Church’s mission and worship, is definitely being shaped. I think my studies are part of what God is doing in me at the moment, refining and shaping me and making me a better leader.