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St Johns College

 St John's College

Welcome to St John's College

Founded in 1909, St John’s College boasts a lively and diverse mix of students and is like no other Durham college.

Set in a series of beautiful listed buildings in Durham's historic heart, the College enjoys stunning views of the Norman Cathedral and River Wear.St John's is one of the smallest colleges, and is renowned for its welcoming and supportive atmosphere.

St John's has two distinctive yet engaged communities at its heart: a diverse community of undergraduates, postgraduates and academics studying for University degrees in all disciplines, and Cranmer Hall, a thriving Anglican theological college in which people are educated and formed for church leadership.

The College has a degree of independence within the University, both financially and in its governance. Our students study for University degrees alongside members of other colleges, but we have the freedom to do things a little differently.

Explore St John's College

St John's College,Durham University
St John's College,Durham University
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Find out about student life at St John's Collge


Mon, 8 June 20157:30pmThe Ruth Etchell’s Lecture
Thu, 2 July 20156:00pmSt John's London Convocation
Fri, 17 July 20153:00pmReunion of the 60's
Fri, 28 August 20153:00pm20 Years On Reunion
Fri, 4 September 20153:00pm5 Years On Reunion: Class of 2010
Thu, 10 September 20159:30am to 6:30pmOpen Day - Degree of Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Tue, 15 September 20159:00amConference on Ecclesiology and Ethnography
Fri, 18 September 20153:00pm10 Years On Reunion: Class of 2005
Mon, 19 October 20156:00pmBorderlands
Fri, 23 September 201630 Years on Reunion: Sep 2016


Towards a Theology of Church Growth

Archbishop Justin Welby has written of a book which comes out of St Johns College, Durham, ‘This book is a treasure store which I commend happily, and with delight at the excellent timing that has bought it into being at this point in the Church’s life.’ He writes this in his foreword for Towards a Theology of Church Growth (Ashgate 2015), which is edited by David Goodhew, a member of staff of Cranmer Hall. The volume is to be launched at St Johns on 26 May, 6.15 pm and at St Mellitus College, London at 5 pm on 8 June. In the volume, major scholars - such as Alister McGrath, Sr benedicta Ward, Graham Tomlin, Prof Kavin Rowe and Miranda Threlfall Holmes – explore how scripture, doctrine and church history provide compelling grounds for seeking the numerical growth of the church.



(13 May 2015) » More about Towards a Theology of Church Growth

Racing with the Nationally Competing Clubs Soon?

In a very good show, only the Men's Novice 4 and the 3rd VIII made less than the semi-finals of all the competition. The Men's 2nd VIII demolished a York St John's Crew (and also managed to do what the 1st VIII couldn't do last year in beating them), worked their way to the Semi-Finals and then sadly lost. The Women's IV, in their first ever race and with the pressure of living up to the current winning ways of the women's squad, managed to fly through the first rounds showing promise for the future, but the crew in the Semi-Finals proved too much. 

Whilst the 1st VIII wasn't out in full force as our strongest crew, a mix-match (and we borrowed Trev's brand new Fillippi 8) crew managed to win (!!!!) our category with at least 3 lengths distance in every race - coming home with more silverware and some more British Rowing points!

The amount of points our Men's 1st VIII, and the Women's IV that competed two weeks ago currently have is now very daunting - one more win (and the points that come from it) and we will all move into IM2 - where the likes of Newcastle, Durham, and the nationally competing clubs like to dominate. Nevertheless, one more win and there is a SJCBC crew racing against these crews. This, I believe, has not happened before and is a sign of the current standard of the Club!

(11 May 2015)

When I Pray, What Does God Do?

The question of how, and whether, God answers prayer has been intellectually shaped by the rise of science, the problem of evil and the nature of the biblical records. Scientist and theologian David Wilkinson shares his own struggles with the question of how God answers prayer. Science does not rule out God acting in the universe in surprising ways; the Bible shows a God who acts in the world in response to people's prayers. Yet there is always a mystery about the nature and outcome of prayer, not least in the experience of unanswered prayer. The author shares his struggles with praying in the midst of his wife's long-term illness. What we believe affects how we pray. God is neither a slot machine, nor an indulgent parent, nor a divine dictator, nor a ruler in absentia. How does God work in a world of science? Why doesn't He answer more often? Has God acted in history? How did Jesus pray? How, in a world governed by law and grace, should we pray?


Pre-order at amazon

(5 May 2015)

New Blood - New Mind

The Principal, David Wilkinson, is delighted that St John's College has been joined by Dr Lydia Reid who will be based in the College and working with David and Tom McLeish.


Lydia recently joined Durham University as a postdoctoral research assistant on The Templeton funded project 'Equipping Religious Leadership in an Age of Science’. Prior to this she was working at Nottingham Trent University as a part-time research assistant and lecturer. Lydia's background is in the sociology of religion and she completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Manchester (2006-2014). Her PhD was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and explored religious university students' experiences of studying at a secular institution, as well as their attitudes more broadly to the secular arguments of the New Atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett and Harris).


Her interests lie in qualitative research (particularly the use of stimulus-driven interviews), religion, non-religion and scientific arguments. Lydia is particularly concerned with challenging the notion that religious and secular worldviews ought to be oppositional to one another; indeed, her own research points towards a much more complex and nuanced relationship between the two.

(14 Apr 2015)

Preaching the Psalms

On Saturday 21 February, 84 delegates arrived at Haughton House from various parts of the north east to be part of a day on Preaching the Psalms which St John’s College, Durham University was hosting. The day was organised by Rev Dr Kate Bruce and is part of her series on ‘Preaching’. The day was led by three outstanding speakers.

Dr Richard Briggs began the morning with some instruction on Psalms and the Life of Faith: Then and Now and after coffee continued to unwrap Psalms and Jesus Christ: The Lord is King!

After lunch Rev David Day reflected on various methods and ways of Preaching the Psalms and offered some examples.

Rev Dr Kate Bruce, Deputy Warden of Cranmer Hall rounded off the day by creatively unpacking the unpreachable sermon [Psalm 137].

There was a bookstall available to those attending the conference to dip into and purchase from and a simple lunch was provided, along with breaks for refreshment in the morning and afternoon. The whole day was highly valued by the participants as can be seen by some of the quotes featured below:

(24 Mar 2015) » More about Preaching the Psalms

Women's Head of the River Race

Our Women's composite 1st VIII managed to climb 50 places from their start place (quite possibly one of the highest in the country - I haven't done the maths, but it seems possible given the amount of entries), beating EVERY SINGLE college crew apart from a St Cuthberts crew that very annoyingly beat them by a single, frustrating second, but our crew climbed 40 more places in the start order then they did! In a race that lasts 23 minutes or so, one second represents less than 0.1% difference - so we're quite frustrated by that!​


Our SJCBC/HCBC crew beat crews from DUBC, lots of Universities including UCL, Exeter and Birmingham, and no other college, other than SCSBC came close! As far as I know, the big Oxbridge colleges also fell short of our time, including the big ones like University College, Oxford.


Their result is testament the principle that good equipment (HCBC were providing the boat), but also (and very importantly) hard working rowers from Hatfield College Boat Club, and St John's College Boat Club can do very well! For more click here.


Sebastien de la Fuente

(17 Mar 2015)


Friday (06/03) saw the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, deliver an interesting and thought provoking Borderlands Lecture entitled ‘God's Mission is Restorative Justice’, that was fiercely oversubscribed and attended by over 150 of the College’s members. The lecture threw new insight in to the ideas of Justice and what exactly that should mean in the world today.


The Archbishop’s public lecture was part of his visitation to St John’s College at Durham University whereby he met with as many of the college’s bodies as time could allow. After leading morning prayers at the College he spent time answering questions from staff and later Cranmer Ordinands, before having lunch with students. After lunch with undergraduates and postgraduates, the Archbishop gave his lecture, before meeting with College Officers.


After such an inspiring lecture, we do hope that the Archbishop returns to St. John’s College soon.


The Principal of St John’s, Revd Professor David Wilkinson comments, ‘The Borderlands Lecture explores how theology can be part of the dialogue concerning the big issues that face the world today. The Archbishop’s leadership both on robust Christian faith and on how such faith can make a key contribution to justice in the world makes him an ideal lecturer in this series. Further, the Archbishop’s active support of the work of the College in his role as Visitor is a tremendous encouragement to our work of scholarship, education and hospitality in a world class university’.

(9 Mar 2015)

Calling for Papers

Call For Papers

Conference on Ecclesiology and Ethnography

15-17 September 2015

St John’s College, Durham


We welcome papers that explore the dynamic relationship between the theological and the lived in ecclesiology.


This conference is part of the Ecclesiology and Ethnography network, which seeks to draw together scholars working with theological approaches to qualitative research on the Christian Church. We encourage single and multi-authored papers. All papers are to be circulated prior to the event to enhance conference conversations and interaction.


Established scholars, doctoral students as well as pastor/scholars working in church settings are welcome to propose papers. As per previous years there will be mix of plenary presentations and shorter papers. Proposals are due on June 1. Please send your abstract and title (no more than 500 words), along with contact details to Prof. Pete Ward


The conference will run from lunchtime on the 15th until lunch on 17th Sept. We will be holding our usual folk music evening on the 16th.


We will shortly be posting the booking details for the Conference the Ecclesiology and Ethnography website.


Professor Pete Ward

St John's College/Department of Theology and Religion

Durham University

Professor of Practical Theology MF The Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo.

Professor of Practical Theology NLA University College, Bergen.

(5 Mar 2015)

A Toast to Success

Congratulations go out to two more of our PhD students who have each succeeded in gaining a Phd in their various subjects. This is great news to build on the best undergraduate results in the University from last year. We hope the end of this year is just as successful as well as wishing these now Doctors well in whatever they go on to do next. The photo features Michael Raubach (MCR president) Dr Rosemary Mitchell-Schuitevoerder (PhD translation studies), Dr Adam Willows (PhD theology), Angela Cook (Director of Finance and Administration) raise a glass at a recent gathering in the St John’s postgraduate centre to toast PhD successes.

(27 Feb 2015)

Two Canons in a Week

On Sunday, Revd Mark Tanner, Warden of Cranmer Hall was made a non-residentiary canon at Durham Cathedral and on Thursday Revd Prof David Wilkinson, Principal of the College will become the first Canon Scientist at St Albans Cathedral before giving his inangural lecture in the Lady Chapel of St. Alban's Cathedral asking 'How does God answer prayer in a scientific universe?'

Our congratulations go out to both of them. More information on David's lecture can be found by clicking here.

(23 Feb 2015)

Contact Details

3 South Bailey

0191 334 3500

Conferences & Tourism


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