On Saturday the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester and the Church of England’s spokesperson for Higher and Further education in the House of Lords, hosted a Higher Education Colloquium in collaboration with Winchester University. The keynote address was given by Professor David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University.
The Colloquium provided an opportunity for scholars, senior educational leaders, and church leaders to discuss the contribution of Anglican universities to the debate about the purpose of higher education. The Church of England was one of the first providers of education in this country, building primary schools in the nineteenth century and later establishing secondary schools, teacher training colleges, and universities. There are 11 Universities with an Anglican foundation. The Colloquium explored what contribution the Church of England can continue to make in a new era, especially in supporting and shaping higher education into the future.
Anglican universities educate students in a range of academic and vocational disciplines, encouraging them to focus not only on their studies but also to consider how they can make a positive contribution to their community and to help build the common good. This Colloquium provided an opportunity for participants to consider the evolving role and nature of universities in society and how this relates to Anglican social mission. Insights gleaned from the day will help shape Bishop Tim’s role as the Church of England’s Bishop for Higher and Further Education.
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester said: “This has been a stimulating and enlightening event. Higher Education is not just about producing graduates who are economically productive, it’s also about enabling people to reach their full potential, providing opportunities for cross-disciplinary conversation and study in which to reflect on what it means to live as citizens of the nation and the world. I believe that the Christian worldview and the Anglican tradition has much to offer in this respect.”
Speaking before the event, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said: “This colloquium represents an important moment for the Church of England as it develops further its approach to the future of Higher Education. The Church’s capacity to serve the whole person is unrivalled, bringing together skills and values, high standards of education and development, with a long term vision for their importance. It is especially valuable that David Ford is contributing from his immense experience and deep thinking. I trust and pray that it will be a day full of excitement and hope.”
The Right Reverend Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely and Chair of the Church of England’s Education Division and The National Society said: “It is vital for the Church of England’s continued service of the nation through education that the Anglican universities play a vivid and rigorous part in the delivery of top flight research and teaching in higher education. Along with Church schools FE colleges, we need the example of our Anglican universities modelling the indivisible relationship between a profound Christian ethos and high performance. Authentic and generous scholars and students produce first class results.”