Wycliffe Hall praised for its worship in latest inspection

11 September 2015

STEVEN HUGHES/COMMONS

"Enthusiastic for the gospel": Wycliffe Hall

"Enthusiastic for the gospel": Wycliffe Hall

WYCLIFFE HALL has been given a vote of confidence in its latest inspection. The theological college was reviewed by a team of inspectors in May, who passed it in 13 out of 16 areas.

The report concludes: “We have confidence, with qualifications, in Wycliffe Hall for preparing students for ordained ministry in the Church of England.” The inspectors report that the Hall is “a community enthusiastic for the gospel, with an appetite for learning and formation”.

In the previous inspection in 2011, four areas were singled out for attention, including recruiting more female ordinands, and the practice of worship in the college chapel. The latest report finds that building a “critical mass” of women ordinands has not taken place, but that Wycliffe is trying to encourage more women to apply.

In the second and third year of the ordination programme, there is only one female ordinand, but four (out of 19) in the first year are women.

After two internal reviews of its worship in the college chapel, after criticism in a 2009 inspection, the report says that Wycliffe now organises services in a way that “meets the need for familiarity with and confidence in leading worship characteristic of the Church of England”.

Those presiding at communion are robed, the lectionary is being followed, and more attention is being given to observing the Church’s liturgical calendar.

Among the strengths of the college, the inspectors single out its effective administration, “buoyant community with a clear sense of Christian commitment”, and an environment in which deep engagement with the Bible and theology is considered central to faith.

The report also recommends that Wycliffe should increase students’ exposure to other faiths, and that teaching on diversity and pastoral care should be strengthened.

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