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Durham University

Welcome to

The Vann Fellowship

A Living Memorial to Christians in the Armed Forces

To mark the centenary of the First World War, Durham University is aspiring to raise £1.2 million to endow the Vann Fellowship, a unique three-year postdoctoral fellowship dedicated to the study of the relationship between Christianity and the armed forces - in the past, in the present, and into the future.

Thanks to the great generosity of several supporters, £150,000 has already been raised to fund the inaugural Vann Fellowship, which commenced in October 2018. Fundraising will continue to raise the £1.2 million needed to endow the work of the Fellowship in perpetuity. This endowment will enable Vann Fellowship holders to study and illuminate the relationship of Christianity and the armed forces across time and space, across Christian traditions, and across many subject areas. Its scope ranges from ethics and psychology to history and biblical studies, examining such crucial issues as moral and spiritual injury, spiritual resilience, moral and religious leadership and inter-faith relations in an operational context.

The Fellowship is named in memory of The Revd Bernard William Vann VC, who was killed in action on 3 October 1918, the fourth and last British clergyman to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War. The inaugural Vann Fellow, Dr Brian Powers, took up his post in the autumn of 2018 to mark the centenary of Vann’s death and the end of the First World War centenary commemorations.

The Vann Fellowship is attached to the Department of Theology and Religion’s Michael Ramsey Centre for Anglican Studies, but is open to the study of all Christian traditions. Through a rolling programme of three-year postdoctoral fellowships, it will recruit the best postdoctoral scholars from across the world, scholars with new expertise and fresh insights into the study of Christianity and the armed forces. Holders of The Vann Fellowship will be required to liaise with the national and international media, to deliver and publish an annual lecture on their research, and to write an original academic monograph by the end of their fellowship.

If you would like to support the Vann Fellowship, please visit the online donation page.

For further information, contact Mr Tim Guinan of the Development and Alumni Relations Office: +44 (0) 191 33 46470

Read research updates and discussion from Dr Brian Powers, the inaugural Vann Fellow, at Faith in the Midst of Violence, the official blog of the fellowship.

Vann Fellowship Dinner 2019

On 12 November 2019, Durham University hosted a private dinner at Cavalry and Guards Club in London to raise funds for the Vann Fellowship.

Dr Brian Powers, the current Vann Fellow, delivered the Inaugural Vann Lecture, 'Hope in the Wound: Resurrection and Moral Injury'. The full text can be downloaded here.

Read also the address given by Lt Col Chris Keeble at 2018's Vann Fellowship Dinner; the text is available here.

Below is a selection of images from the dinner.