St Mellitus College

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St Mellitus College
File:Spire of St Mellitus in winter.JPG
Established 2007
Religion Church of England
Dean Andy Emerton
President Graham Tomlin
Assistant Deans Lincoln Harvey
Jane Williams
Founder Richard Chartres, John Gladwin
Location 24 Collingham Road
United Kingdom
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Gender Mixed
Social Media #smclife
Website St Mellitus College

St Mellitus College is a theological college established in 2007 by the Diocese of London and the Diocese of Chelmsford of the Church of England. It has campuses in Earl's Court, Chelmsford and Liverpool, with growing links with other churches, colleges and dioceses throughout the UK and beyond. There are two main parts, the North Thames Ministerial Training Course, which was set up in 1991 and St Paul's Theological Centre which began in 2005. The President is the Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin, and the Dean is the Revd Andy Emerton. St Mellitus is a wholly non-residential college and has pioneered mixed-mode training within the Church of England, integrating academic theological study with ministry placements throughout the course of study.


Named after the very first Bishop of London, whose territory covered London and Essex, the college was founded in 2007 by the bishops of London and Chelmsford to serve the church’s mission in those regions and beyond. It has grown significantly since being founded, and moved into its own premises at St Jude's Church in Earl's Court in 2012, a building renovated specifically for this purpose. The centre houses a range of teaching space, rooms for pastoral care, academic and administrative offices, a growing academic library, space for hospitality and college worship. In 2013, St Mellitus North-West was established at the St Aidan's Centre at Liverpool Cathedral, reestablishing an Anglican training college in that area for the first time in more than 40 years. This new venture is directed by the Rev Dr Jill Duff, in partnership with five dioceses in that area (Blackburn, Carlisle, Chester, Liverpool and Manchester).

Organisation and purpose

The college consists of two main parts, St Paul’s Theological Centre (SPTC) and the North Thames Ministerial Training Course (NTMTC) based in west London and Chelmsford. The college offers courses for many different kinds of students, including:

  • Anglican ordinands looking for full or part-time training, including for self-supporting and pioneer ministry
  • Lay workers and licensed lay ministers (LLMs, also known as readers)
  • Undergraduate students on Certificate, Diploma and BA courses in Theology, Ministry and Mission, or Theology and Youth Ministry
  • Postgraduate students on the popular MA in Christian Leadership, or the new MA in Theology, Ministry and Mission
  • Church leaders from a range of denominations wanting to study theology and ministry more deeply
  • Those looking for an introduction to the study of theology, through the Beginning Theology programme, non-accredited study, or the School of Theology from SPTC
  • Those wanting to learn more about church planting, under the guidance of the Bishop of London's advisor for Church planting and Associate Tutor, the Bishop of Islington, Rev Ric Thorpe

Characteristics and values

'Theology in the context of Worship, Unity and Mission' The college intends that the key values that should mark out its training are:

  • Unity in diversity. The college states that it aims to work with all kinds of Christians and denominations within a "generous orthodoxy, drawing on the great tradition of Christian theology through the centuries."[1] It also aims to be "open to the Holy Spirit's transforming power at work in the church and the world."[2]
  • Innovation and accessibility. From its beginning, the college has been committed to developing new ways of doing theological training and finding new ways to make theology more available and accessible in the church, and forming leaders willing to be bold in innovative in mission for the sake of the Church.
  • Theological excellence. St Mellitus has a teaching staff with extensive experience of theological teaching in colleges and universities. It draws on the expertise of visiting professors such as Alister McGrath, Keith Ward, Richard Bauckham Bishop Rowan Williams and Tom Greggs as well as a wide range of associate lecturers and well-known practitioners in the region, many of them national experts in their field. These visiting professors add to a strong core academic team, including Graham Tomlin, Jane Williams, Lincoln Harvey and Chris Tilling. The college's stated goal is to make first-rate theological teaching relate to the realities of life, mission and ministry in 21st century society, helping to bring theology back to the heart of the church.
  • Prayerful formation. The college wants its students to not only learn theology but also learn how to pray. Worship is celebrated regularly and in a variety of styles, held together by an expectation of encountering God. Theology is taught in the context of worship, and the strong chaplaincy, counselling and pastoral team ensures there is a strong level of support for each student.

Name and link to college mission

The college is named after St. Mellitus, one of the least known but most significant figures in the establishment of the church in London and Essex – a key moment in the conversion of the British Isles.

At the end of the 6th century, inspired by his growing awareness of the needs of this far-flung part of Europe, Pope Gregory the Great sent a group of missionaries to the island of Britain. There had been Christian churches in the island since at least the 4th century, but the land was still largely pagan. This new mission was headed by Augustine, who quickly became a key figure in this new attempt to establish the faith and was appointed the first archbishop of the town of Canterbury in which the new mission was based. After a few years’ hard work, in AD 601 Augustine sent back to Rome asking for help in evangelising the mainly pagan East Saxon tribes. In response Gregory sent a small band of dedicated missionaries to help him, including its leader, Mellitus who was probably a well-off Roman nobleman and whose devotion to Christ had led him to enter the monastic life and later become abbot of the Monastery of St. Andrew on the Coelian Hill in Rome, to which both St. Gregory and St. Augustine had belonged. In 604, with the help of the Christian East Saxon King Saeberht, Mellitus was made the first bishop of the growing city of London, the capital of the East Saxons, with its new church dedicated to St Paul, built on Ludgate Hill at the heart of the city. His jurisdiction covered the city of London, but also the land to the east – what we know as Essex, or the two dioceses of London and Chelmsford.

As a result of the work of Mellitus and his friends, the church grew. Yet it was not without cost. After Saeberht died, his sons reverted to pagan worship. Seeing Mellitus celebrate the Eucharist one day, they demanded they be given the bread, as he had given it to their father, even though they had not the slightest commitment to Christ and his church. Mellitus refused it to them unless they were baptised and, as a result, Mellitus was banished from the kingdom, spending the next few years in Kent and then, from about 614, in Gaul or France. A year later, Mellitus was recalled to Britain by Laurentius, Augustine’s successor in Canterbury. He never returned to his former base in London, however, and in 619 he was appointed the third Archbishop of Canterbury after Laurentius’ death. Despite constant illness he continued in that role until his death in 624. Many miracles were said to have taken place as a result of his prayers, including the quelling of a dangerous fire in Canterbury which threatened to destroy the town and its churches. His story is told in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People (I, 29, 30; II, 3-7).

Publications by college members

  • Looking Through the Cross - The Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2014 (Bloomsbury Continuum) - Graham Tomlin
  • Am I My Brother's Keeper? - Mark Scarlata
  • A Brief Theology of Sport (SCM) - Lincoln Harvey
  • Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul - Reflections on the Work of Douglas Campbell, - ed. Chris Tilling
  • How God Became Jesus - including contributions from Chris Tilling
  • Theology and Economic Ethics: Martin Luther and Arthur Rich in dialogue (OUP) - Sean Doherty
  • The Only Way is Ethics - Sean Doherty


  1. St Mellitus College Prospectus - Theology, Worship, Unity, Mission at Retrieved 8 Sep 2015.
  2. About Us at Retrieved 8 Sep 2015.

External links