Praise for St Stephen’s

27 March 2015


ST STEPHEN'S HOUSE Theological College in Oxford is praised as "a community at ease and comfortable with embracing a variety of perspectives", in an inspection report that highlights its importance given the decision to ordain women bishops.

The periodic external review report, published by the Ministry Division on Tuesday, expresses confidence in the college. Of the 16 criteria assessed, the review team had confidence in 12. The remaining four were marked "confidence with qualifications".

The report notes the continuing need for a theological college in the Catholic tradition. The team praises the college's "deliberate practice of hospitality to all traditions". Ordinands included women, Evangelicals and liberal Anglo-Catholics, "all of whom spoke favourably of their experience. . ."

It notes that the normative daily mass is celebrated once a week by a female member of staff, but also suggests that it explore "creative ways" to enable a woman to celebrate the sung mass "on occasion". It also states that the lack of a full-time female tutor "does not fully meet Church of England policy", and recommends the appointment of one. The percentage of female students is also below the recommended 15 per cent.

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