In July 2016, Mark Scanlan joined the St Mellitus College staff team as Tutor in Theology and Youth Ministry. Below, he answers a few questions.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I grew up in Epping in Essex where both my parents were (and still are!) very involved in the parish church. I decided to give my life to Christ at the age of 11 and through a combination of committed youth leaders, school Christian Union, summer camps and good friends my faith grew as a teenager. From the age of about 16 I began to sense quite clearly that God was calling me into youth ministry and so after completing my A-Levels I took a gap year working on the youth team in a church in Birmingham. This gap year confirmed my calling to and passion for young people in the church. Since then I have been involved in youth ministry in various churches, including most recently over ten years at Stopsley Baptist Church in Luton but also spent some time working with Urban Saints (where I also met my wife, Linda!). Alongside this from 2009 – 11 I studied for an MA in Youth Ministry at King's College London and from this developed a desire to pursue further academic study and reflection on the churches work with young people. Consequently from 2012 I have been working on a PhD in Youth Ministry and Ecclesiology through Durham University.
What were you doing before you started at St Mellitus College?
Before starting at St Mellitus College in summer 2016 I had been mainly concentrating on my PhD research whilst also working alongside the leadership team at Urban Saints as a theological consultant whilst they underwent a significant review of their mission and ministry. Until early 2016 I had also been serving as an Elder at Stopsley Baptist Church where I am still a member, volunteer youth leader and attend with my wife and two children.
What do you most wish to share with your students?
A passion for the place of young people in the life of the church and a desire to see our work with young people informed by deep theological reflection. The place of interaction between formal theology and the practice of ministry is, I think, the most exciting place to be. I hope that the students on the Theology and Youth Ministry programme become lifelong learners and reflective practitioners with longevity in their mission to and with young people.
And what do you do when you are not at St Mellitus College?
When not in college I am still striving to complete my PhD! Outside of this I am a keen village cricketer and have been captain of Lilley CC for the last few years. I also enjoy running and as a family we are involved regularly as runners and volunteers in our local parkrun. Finally, when I get a free evening, time with a good book or thought provoking film are much appreciated.