Thinking Anglicans

Wycliffe Hall Appoints New Principal

Wycliffe Hall announced earlier this week that their new principal is to be the Revd Dr Michael Lloyd.

Dr Lloyd is Chaplain of Queen’s College, Oxford. He brings nine years’ experience of teaching in theological colleges, as a Tutor in Theology at St Paul’s Theological Centre (a constituent part of St Mellitus College, London) and formerly a Tutor in Doctrine at St Stephen’s House, Oxford. He was Honorary Curate and Director of Training at St James the Less, Pimlico. His prior ministry was as Chaplain of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge and earlier as Chaplain and Director of Studies in Theology at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He is the author of a popular-level systematic theology, entitled Café Theology, and is one of the regular voices on the Godpod (a theological podcast).

Dr Lloyd holds degrees in English from Cambridge University, Theology from St John’s College, Durham and a DPhil in Theology from Oxford University, where his doctoral thesis was on the problem of evil. He loves walking, theatre, cricket, music and Handel operas…

Madeleine Davies reports in the Church Times that Students dub next Principal of Wycliffe ‘Dr Evil’.

The press release includes these comments.

The Rt Revd Michael Hill, Chairman of Council said:

“I am truly delighted with Michael’s appointment. He brings a depth of biblical knowledge and theological teaching, together with an experience of the life of theological colleges to bear on this new ministry. We have every confidence that he is the person to lead Wycliffe forward in these challenging times for theological education and training. We look forward to welcoming him into the life of the college and he can be assured of our prayers as he contemplates this new phase of his ministry.”

Dr Michael Lloyd said:

“At a time when Christianity is under more intellectual attack than it has been since the eighteenth century, we need Christian leaders of impressive intellectual ability, rigour and creativity. As a Permanent Private Hall of Oxford University, Wycliffe is in an outstanding position to give its students the academically excellent education that they will need if they are to make the case for the Christian faith in the contemporary climate, and to shape that climate. I am determined that Wycliffe should build a reputation for being a warm, respectful, encouraging and secure place for women to train alongside men, for all forms of ordained ministry. And I am passionate about Wycliffe training students who will speak to the wider society and not just to insiders, and who will be fluent in the language of the culture, and not just the dialect of the church. I am enormously excited by the prospect of working with the Staff, Council and Students towards these goals.”

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rjb
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rjb

I’m not sure it’s a job I’d envy him, but I wish Dr Lloyd well. It may seem a rather churlish observation, but looking over his career description it’s notable that he doesn’t seem to have much parish experience. That seems to be par for the course for Oxbridge chaplains/deans today, but I’m not entirely sure it’s a good thing. Does the church need college chaplains more than it needs vicars and curates?

Stephen Morgan
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Stephen Morgan

So never any ‘mud and bullets’ ministry then? My partner teaches PGCE students how to be primary school teachers at our local uni. She does this after twenty years teaching experience in primary schools. Why is it all right for principals of theological colleges to have little or no experience of parish ministry?

Cynthia
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Cynthia

He seems very interesting. But in addition to the parish experience, I would like to see ministry to the marginalized. I note that after the earthquake in Haiti (2010) I sought out ministers who could help me with the vastness of the catastrophe (I’d been going since 2004 and my school, colleagues, and students were highly impacted, to say the very least). The folks who’d written on suffering and evil were not very helpful. The priest who’d ministered in a war zone was extremely helpful. It just seems like experience is a keenly needed component. But perhaps in a school… Read more »

Paul
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Paul

I write as a fairly new Oxbridge chaplain with three years of parish experience as a curate and twenty five years as a lay member. I find the attitudes expressed about chaplaincy here inaccurate and demeaning: the pastoral issues of young adults and working professionals have been every bit as varied and demanding as in parochial ministry; chaplaincy is not some second class form of ministry compared to parish ministry; academic chaplaincy in particular is not a retreat from the real world, but ministry in a demanding, itinerant, and often aggressively secular sphere of the world. Before we lambast the… Read more »

Bob
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Bob

Perhaps the same argument regarding experience could be said of our new ABC 😉

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

I don’t think the comments critical of Mike Lloyd’s lack of parochial experience are a general attack on chaplaincy. Certainly, as a chaplain in the NHS I don’t take them as such. I think it is not unfair to say, that while chaplaincy in any university is a properly pastoral charge, it is probably the case, and a fortiori so in Oxford, that it hardly the grittiest end of the coal face of ministry. The comments do, it seems to me, have some merit in relation to his new role – which is to prepare his students mostly for parochial… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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All this sounds pretty hopeful for Wycliffe – to move into the 21st century in its prospective treatment of the issue of Women Clergy & Bishops.

JCF
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JCF

“Dr Lloyd did his doctorate, on the problem of evil, at Worcester College, Oxford (hence the nickname).”

Oh, THAT’S why! OK then.

“Born in 1957…his position on the ordination women had changed over the past 20 years. ‘I used to be opposed to it'”

Heavens, he used to be opposed? And he’s only 56??? O_o [I mean, for a priest who’s 86, I can kinda get it, but…]

Well, prayers for him anyway.

Paul
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Paul

There still seems to be a confused sense of what an Oxbridge chaplain does and also what theological colleges are for. Oxbridge chaplains not only have a ‘properly pastoral charge’ but this can often be ‘gritty’ – suicide, mental health issues, relationship problems including abuse, bereavement, just to name a few from this week alone. (I should say I come from and have served in what other commentators see as ‘gritty’ contexts and, while the issues are of a different intensity and demand in one regard, namely the impact of poverty, pastorally they are no different from ‘privileged’ areas; accordingly,… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

I would never have lived in the communities I have served, nor had any chance of understanding them – intellectually or practically, unless I had been a parish priest. I am shortly off to a meeting of our deanery pastoral committee where I, as an urban priest, used to a parish of over 25,000 people, will be getting my head around the challenges facing colleagues who are in the midst of 6 or 7 APCMs in small rural communities. One person cannot carry all the experience. A certain amount of modesty about experience and a resistance to generalising from ones… Read more »

SimonW
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SimonW

In the light of Mark Bennet and Paul’s comments about training and formation, all credit therefore to Canon George Kovoor who this week announced his departure from Trinity College, Bristol, after eight years as Principal. Not only has he engendered in that college and its students a new confidence, but the context based training on offer at Trinity ensures that the training of mainly middle class evangelical ordinands is firmly rooted in the day to day life of quite challenging ‘bog standard’ Bristol parishes. As a DDO, I felt that my ordinands were well served by that approach to theological… Read more »

David
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David

As someone who has been a parish priest and taught in several theological colleges and courses I offer a few reflections. – Colleges are charged with delivering the highest quality of practical training and are also expected to deliver theological training at levels set by Ministry Division and accrediting secular universities. Believe me, it is very hard to do both! I agree with Mark that unless you have worked at parish level it is very hard to know what it is like or teach it to others. But those same parish demands make it very difficult to keep up the… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

SimonW and David – thanks for perceptive comments. There isn’t a single answer, but “formation” is both a crucial word and a dangerous one – it can drift into being inducted into the culture of the clergy of the Church of England as fondly imagined by the person who says the word. And also if “theological studies” can only be done out of context then our models are wrong – ministry is, in part, lived theology – it needs to be informed by studied theology, but the first and greatest commandment does not refer to the mind only, and the… Read more »

Simon Ro
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Simon Ro

The previous principal had substantial parish experience, but things went wrong and amongst other things the relationship with the university was damaged. In making this appointment it appears that amongst other things Wycliffe is attempting to repair credibility with the university. I am sure that Mike Lloyd offers many other excellent skills in addition to this – but I remember the job description did emphasise the academic side of things perhaps more than the practical. Maybe in different circumstances this would have been different.

Charles Read
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Charles Read

What David said about pressures on college and course staff. I’ve worked in both (and in parishes!) The time pressures on staff are worse in part residential courses. Neither they nor colleges are funded adequately so staffing is stretched. I am the only one of my 6 or 7 colleagues to publish regularly – and for me that means a Grove Booklet every couple of years!

The Wycliffe appointment though is very good news – it will bring that college back into being usable by the majority of the church.