Tell us a bit about yourself
I'm a designer, house church leader and undergraduate student living in Falmouth, Cornwall.
What drew you to study at St Mellitus College?
I'd been leading in my house church for a while when people started coming to me with questions that I didn't really have the answers for, which gave me a desire to learn more myself - they've enjoyed a lot of second-hand theology wisdom so far! I can now see how much of a difference studying theology alongside other students and lecturers who are based in a local church makes - discussions don't stay abstract for long as we're always reflecting on how the theology were learning applies to our church contexts. Additionally, as I was part of a non-denominational new church, where we seemed to be figuring everything out on the fly, I thought that there was a lot that I could learn from the rich tradition and spiritual disciplines of the Anglican Church.
How would you describe the culture at St Mellitus College?
Of all the Christians spaces I've been in, St Mellitus College is probably the place where I've felt like I can most be myself. When I'm leading my church there's a pressure to have all the answers and a position on every issue, and in other Christian groups I've felt like I need to hold certain beliefs or worship in a specific way. But at college there's a real openness to questions, doubts, and different traditions. In the college community I've become friends with people whose faith looks really different to mine and they've challenged my assumptions and taught me so much.
What difference has being at St Mellitus College and your studies had on your life and faith?
Coming from a fairly anti-intellectual church background I was bracing myself for a major faith challenge, half expecting everything to unravel as soon I opened the first textbook! And, yes, there have been moments of questioning my own convictions and realising that some issues are far more complex than I had first thought. But I'd say that my faith has been strengthened through my studies - although I'm now less certain about many things, I'm far more certain about the most central things. Being at St. Mellitus has also given me a lot more hope for the future of the Church. Being all the way down in Cornwall you can feel a bit disconnected from the UK church, so it's inspiring to be part of national college and hear/see what God is doing in communities all over the country..
What tips or advice would you give a prospective student thinking of studying here?
For me it's made all the difference to study theology in a worshipping community. Starting the day singing and praying together is a great reminder that we're all worshipping the same God. And that really helps when you're presented with tough content in a lecture, as you can trust that the lecturer loves God and the Church, and is challenging you to build your faith. The same goes for people on the course who you totally disagree with, having a moment of unity at the start and end of the day helps you see them as brothers and sisters. It sometimes feels like we're constantly praying at college, even at the start and end of lectures, but I love how that puts the focus on God and builds and expectation that He will speak to us through what we learn.
What have you enjoyed the most about studying at St Mellitus College?
Lunch! I know that doesn't sound very studious, but it's the moments of catching up on what's going on in everyone's lives and churches, continuing discussion about the last lecture and grilling guest speakers over sandwiches and crisps that I really treasure.
In three words describe your time at St Mellitus College
Stretching, empowering, fun (& carb-heavy!)
Sarah is an Independent Student on the Undergraduate BA (Hons) programme, studying at St Mellitus College, South West