Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from Manchester (and proudly so), but I moved to London four years ago to take up a school chaplaincy post. By vocation, I am a priest as well as a trained teacher. I consider myself physically active, but truthfully, I am a rather lacklustre rock climber and run so infrequently that I lost a pair of trainers last year, and it took me two months to notice.
Why did you choose Postgraduate study?
It's often said that you can tell what year a priest was ordained by the age of the publications on his bookshelves. I was ordained ten years ago, and while I was still reading, I was only reading sporadically. My bookshelves were filled with up-to-date books, but they were mostly half-read. I wanted to continue learning, but I felt I needed some direction and focus for my reading and a community to hold my feet to the fire when the temptation arises to put that reading down.
Why St Mellitus College?
I'm studying part-time (one day a week) alongside work. I was drawn to St Mellitus because it is a college that meets in person (rather than remotely) and is an unashamedly Christian community. Of course, it's perfectly possible to learn theology in a secular environment and to find the experience, spiritually, and intellectually, fulfilling. However, I was much more excited by the prospect of spending time studying alongside others; reading and scrutinizing theology with fellow Christians for whom the material is not merely academic but a personally formative interest.
What has impacted you the most from your studies at St Mellitus College?
I have been surprised by how my studies have seeped into my life beyond college seminars. My chaplaincy and teaching work has been enriched; there are specific areas of study that have been relevant to this work, but the scholarly endeavour has also subtly reshaped the way I approach less obviously related areas too. Likewise, my faith has been strengthened and I have a renewed hunger for a deeper understanding – in my study, prayer, and reflection. I find myself reaching for my Bible or prayer book not out of obligation but of genuine desire and enjoyment.
How would you describe the culture at St Mellitus College?
St Mellitus is a delightfully eclectic community – a mix of ages, backgrounds, courses, ministries, and churchmanship – and we all mix in together. While there is an undeniably evangelical flavour to St Mellitus (perhaps most obviously on display in the relative informality of the worship and the proliferation of denim). I am of a more catholic persuasion, and I am certainly not alone. The warmth and joyfulness most characterise this community. One might say that in seeking wisdom, we are seeking God, and seeking Him joyfully. In short, I look forward to meeting each week with my cohort.
What have you enjoyed about studying at St Mellitus College?
My fellow students and I are a close-knit little cohort. As obvious as it may sound, there really is a collegiate feeling to our group, but this is not necessarily guaranteed for a part-time post-graduate course. The staff are supportive and approachable, and knowledgeable and passionate about their subject area. I have noticed that their enthusiasm is perhaps what is most infectious of all. The course is intellectually stimulating and well-structured. The quantity of reading can be fairly demanding at times, and the themes covered require close attention, which can occasionally be a struggle at the end of a busy working week, but this is all part of the challenge we embark on together.
In three words describe your time at St Mellitus College.
Joyfully learning together.
Myles is an Independent Postgraduate studying at St Mellitus College, London