Inspectors Praise Threatened Chaplaincy College in Llandaff; Glowing Report on St Michael's College Secures Its Future

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Inspectors Praise Threatened Chaplaincy College in Llandaff; Glowing Report on St Michael's College Secures Its Future


Byline: Katie Norman

ACHAPLAINCY college has transformed its future after being threatened with closure.

Just five years ago the Church in Wales had proposed to sell the site of St Michael's College in Llandaff, Cardiff, but the institution has now turned its fortunes around, having just received a glowing report from inspectors from the Church of England's Ministry Division.

Founded in 1892, the college works in partnership with Cardiff University's Faculty of Religious and Theological Studies to train candidates for ministry in the Anglican and Methodist churches in Wales and throughout the world.

It also runs ministry development and in-service training courses for people who are already ordained.

The team of inspectors, who spent a year monitoring all aspects of the college, particularly praised the college's Chaplaincy Centre, which prepares ordained chaplains who can offer counselling in settings such as prisons, hospitals and military operations.

College principal Rev Canon Dr Peter Sedgwick said the report showed the college had a secure future.

"This report recognises the enormous changes in the last five years. It is a tremendous and heartening recognition of the staff in transforming the college. It shows that this is a college with a very bright future indeed.

"I am very proud of the staff in what they have achieved in such a short period. We recognise, too, that there are areas for continued development and these are already being addressed as far as possible."

Inspectors commended all four branches of the college's work - its residential courses, non-residential courses, the Chaplaincy Centre and ministry development.

Set up in June 2008 in partnership with Cardiff University, the praised Chaplaincy Centre prepares chaplains for counselling and guiding people in a wide range of situations, from patients in hospital to prisoners in jail and soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

It also offers a master's degree programme in theology and chaplaincy studies, which has been taken up by ordained chaplains from all over the world.

According to the report, the course gave St Michael's a "national and international reputation" and "leads the way to exploring the interface between theological thinking and public policy".

The college's ministry development work, meanwhile, was praised as a "commendable example of joined-up thinking and planning" and more advanced than similar programmes in England.

Staff were described as "well-motivated and creative under firm but sensitive leadership", and their teaching resulted in "academic achievements out of proportion to the college's size".

The report was also welcomed by Rev Dr Stephen Wigley, chairman of the Wales Synod of the Methodist Church.

"This is a most encouraging report which recognises the significant developments which have taken place in recent years and expresses confidence in the college's future."

Archbishop of Wales Dr Barry Morgan said the inspection's positive outcome meant clergy who train in Wales could be confident they were receiving one of the best preparations for their vocation. …

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