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St Mellitus North West: the St Aidan's Centre

St Mellitus North West: the St Aidan’s Centre launched in September – and its main teaching space at Liverpool Cathedral is already bursting at the seams.

The tide is turning for Christianity in England, and the launch of St Mellitus NW is part of this story. 44 years ago St Aidan’s College in Birkenhead closed, leaving the North West without a full-time ordination course - until now. This new partnership draws on the great history of St Aidan’s – founded so students from all walks of life could train for ordination in the North West – marrying it with the dynamism of St Mellitus College, the fastest growing and now largest theological college in the country.
Our courses in theology and missional leadership provide ordination training for the Church of England, but we are also drawing students from many other churches. All our students – 20 in this first cohort - are actively engaged in Christian ministry and leadership throughout the course, and are drawn from as far distant as Blackpool and Bradford.
Following in the footsteps of St Aidan, formation of Christ-like character is paramount. So on Mondays, our main teaching day, worship sets the context for our teaching. Teaching quality is of a nationally high standard. We have a strong tutorial team including the Dean of Liverpool, Pete Wilcox (Lecturer in Old Testament & Theology), Michael Leyden (Tutor in Theology), and Jeremy Duff (Lecturer in New Testament). All our teaching staff, including the Director, Jill Duff – have doctorates from leading universities, experience of church leadership and continue to be involved in Christian ministry & leadership in their own contexts while teaching on the course. The afternoon programme, Leadership for Healthy Churches, includes an array of practioners across the traditions of the Church of England and other churches from around the North West region.
As part of St Mellitus College, one in six of our morning theology lectures is streamed live from London, and the ordinands join with the wider cohort of St Mellitus ordinands on residentials across the year from churches around the country.
Rev Dr Jill Duff Director of St Mellitus NW said: “I am excited to have our first pioneering cohort with us at St Mellitus North West. Working with them makes me hopeful for the church in the North. Praying for them encourages me that the tide really is turning.”
St Mellitus North West is a partnership between St Mellitus College and the North West dioceses of Blackburn, Carlisle, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester.
St Mellitus College offers an innovative full-time church-based ordination training which has proved popular with ordinands. Since its launch in 2007 it has now grown to have over 550 students, on a wide range of courses, making it the largest theological college in the country.
Canon John Bowers, Chair of the St Aidan’s Trustees said:” “Lighten our darkness” in our evening prayer covers many situations. Light in the form of full-time training for holy orders has returned to the reawakening North West in the form of St Mellitus NW: the St Aidan’s Centre in Liverpool.
The beautiful St Aidan’s College Birkenhead, huge in itself and huge with its outreach served the church for over 130 years until 1969, and now the void is being filled. We old boys of St Aidan’s, the Association and Trustees are thrilled and delighted with the new college to train Christian leaders for a changing world but in the tradition that our Lord is the same yesterday, today and always and following the footsteps of St Aidan in devotion, learning and gentleness.”
For more information, please contact the Director, Rev Dr Jill Duff on

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