Guest Blog: Called to Risk by Grace

Alex Clare-Young, one of our students and an ardent blogger, has kindly shared the below piece with us;

As a second year student at Westminster College, I am starting to explore my faith and calling in new ways. In particular, I am getting back in touch with my artistic side! You will be able to tell from the image that I am sharing with you that I am no professional artist. Faith and vocation, however, sometimes just can’t be explained in words alone.

This picture was inspired by my classmate Stephen, as he shared words about calling with us as part of his assessed service. What is it really like, then, to find ourselves here? Well, I can’t answer for everyone, but this is what it is like for me.

I am invited to unending change. Ministers are called to grow and to learn for life. The Church grows and learns and changes and shifts, particularly in our post-post-modern (???) age! Formation and ministry are not static. Change overflows!

My lips, heart and mind are set on fire and I am called to take this flame to others. I read Scripture and wonder what it is like to be touched on the lips by a burning coal, or to see a bush that burns but is not consumed, or to be refined like a precious metal. It all sounds a bit extreme… But it is what formation feels like. I am constantly challenged, burnished, polished, melted, passionately on fire for what I believe in. We are burned but not consumed, and we must not hide the flames.

Like all Christians, in fact like all people, I am welcomed, pardoned, cleansed, promised transformation. Both in this community and by the grace of God I am welcomed as the whole truth of who I.  I am pardoned when I mess up, say something stupid, offend someone, misunderstand the gospel or cause separation instead of inspiring wholeness.

I am invited to proclaim a dangerous, maverick, radical message that has cost many their lives and has the power to break down walls. And I am called to do this whatever the risk.

I am called in You and You in me. In all of this change, fire, welcome, promise, truth and brokenness God meets us and we meet God.

So what is it like to be here? Does this blog clarify anything? Probably not. It is indescribable. What I want to leave you with, though, is this: I am privileged to be called, I am privileged to be here but… but God does not call me to speak from my places of privilege but out of my places of oppression and for and with all those who have been marginalised. Thanks be to God.

Could you be eligible for a Sabbatical Stay at Westminster?

The Cheshunt Foundation is pleased to annouce that there is sabbatical space available for Easter Term 2017.
If this is something of interest to you then please do take a look at the Cheshunt Foundation on our website and, should you wish to apply, please email the tutorial office or call on 01223 33 06 49 in the first instance. Priority is normally given to those engaged in active ministry in the churches listed below.

• The Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion
• The Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches
• The United Reformed Church
• Unaffiliated Congregational Churches

This would be a wonderful opportunity for anyone seeking a space for private study.

New plaque commemorates Westminster’s refurbishment

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve got a new brass plaque at Westminster! It commemorates our refurbishment and renovation project, which was completed in 2014, and thanks all the individuals, congregations, Synods, the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church, and other donors who made the refurbishment possible. It’s in the Entrance Hall, in pride of place next to the plaque marking the opening of Westminster College in Cambridge in 1899.

On the table below the plaque lies a bible and a book of our student photographs dating back to the 1880s. Above them all is a stained glass window showing the burning bush, the symbol of the Presbyterian Church of England; and the coats of arms of Mrs Gibson and Mrs Lewis, the twin sisters who were our most generous benefactors when the college was built. There’s even a tiny hare – namesake of the architect, Henry Hare.

Come and admire our new addition to the College, and see how some of the key strands in the history of Westminster are brought together here!

Charcoal Gospel DVD Launch

We are excited to announce that our Principal, Neil Thorogood, will be launching his DVD ‘Charcoal Gospel’ on Wednesday 22nd February at Westminster College. All Cambridge Theological Federation members are welcome to join us from 5pm-6pm. Refreshments will be available throughout.

Neil will be giving a short introduction to his work, there will be the chance to view the original art work, and you will be able to purchase the DVD for £9.99.

If you are unable to make it to the launch, the DVD is also available to purchase from the URC Shop and from Reception at Westminster.

A day of preparation for Lent – Saturday 18th February

Happy New Year to you all from Westminster College.

This month is a time when people often purchase their diary for the New Year. Looking ahead to 2017, we will be holding a day of preparation for Lent on Saturday 18th February and welcome you all to book now while the date is fresh in your minds.

The day will aim to equip and prepare worship during Lent with will be led by members of  our Westminster teaching staff.

The day will include a two course lunch and time for reflection with others.

Please feel free to read more about the day on our Upcoming Events page

We look forward to welcoming you to start 2017.

Two exciting new vacancies…

Westminster College is excited to announce two full time job vacancies within the teaching staff team.

 

Director of Studies in Church History and Doctrine

Following the move of the current post holder to a URC pastorate we look to appoint a new Director of Studies in Church History and Doctrine.

This is a General Assembly appointment to Westminster College. It is open to lay people and ordained ministers from within the United Reformed Church or from partner denominations within the World Council of Churches. Candidates will have already been awarded a relevant PhD or will be close to completion. You will be excited at joining Westminster in a role that connects Church history more generally to the doctrine and life of the Church, and you will have particular expertise in teaching the Reformed tradition and interests in connecting it to the roots and current realities of the United Reformed Church. Given Westminster’s wider role as one of the United Reformed Church‘s Resource Centres for Learning, you will also have gifts in bringing doctrine and history to life in local congregational settings and amongst lay people. You will be committed to teaching undergraduate and postgraduate programmes through our partner universities of Cambridge, Durham and Anglia Ruskin whilst being equally at home in delivering resources for local church events. You will relish sharing fully in Westminster’s worship and tutorial life, participating fully in our teaching staff team and playing a positive and active role within the wider ecumenical setting of the Cambridge Theological Federation within which Westminster finds its home.
For the complete application pack please visit our ‘working at Westminster’ page.
Applications close at 12:00 noon on Friday 3rd March 2017.

 

Director of Church Resource Development

The Governors invite applications for the newly created post of Director of Church Resource Development.

This post, funded from within Westminster’s own resources, continues to build upon our wider Resource Centre for Learning work across the United Reformed Church. It is open to lay people and ordained ministers from within the United Reformed Church or from partner denominations within the World Council of Churches. You will have experience in delivering and developing training for church members, lay preachers, Elders and others in leadership within local congregations. You will be passionate about Christian discipleship in contemporary contexts and eager to help and encourage churches as they equip, sustain and develop their ministries and members. You will be enthusiastic in both responding to the direction set by the denomination and its Synods and a creative innovator able to identify new opportunities for Westminster’s service and work in these areas. You will have gifts in collaboration and will be keen to work not only with the teams at Westminster but with the wider networks of educators and enablers in posts across the denomination. You will not be expected to play more than an occasional part in the academic provision of the college through its undergraduate and postgraduate awards, or in the committees and structures of the Cambridge Theological Federation. But you will be expected to play a full part in the worship and formational life of Westminster. You will focus as much upon being available to deliver material and resources locally as in shaping events that bring people to Westminster. You will have gifts in developing resources for the web and of value to those who must access them at a distance. You will play a key role in helping us engage with and respond to wider United Reformed Church agendas and initiatives for discipleship and formation.
For the complete application pack please visit our ‘working at Westminster’ page.
Applications close at 12:00 noon on Friday 3rd March 2017.

Westminster and Windermere: Exploring Advent Retreat, 14-16th December

adventWe’re delighted to share that Neil Thorogood and Sam White will be travelling up to The Windermere Centre to lead the centre’s annual Advent retreat from 14th to 16th December.

We’re looking forward to delving into the Advent narrative through art and story-telling. You will have opportunities to reflect on Bible texts generating words and images to tell the story. Join us in a beautiful part of the world for friendship, worship and good food.

This is part of our on-going partnership in which The Windermere Centre deliver courses at Westminster and Westminster reciprocate.  As such, this event is being run on a Pay What You Can basis and rather than contacting Westminster to book, please visit The Windermere Centre website and explore the programme in more detail.