Life at Ridley
The College's founding vision is evangelical and Anglican, and continues shaping our common identity. But this is no closed community. Ridley is part of the wider Cambridge Theological Federation, where Christians from different traditions encounter one another.
And our commitment to mission continually draws us outwards to our changing world:
- Roots Down (into evangelical convictions)
- Walls Down (to others in the Church)
- Bridges Out (to and from the world)
Ridley brings together male and female, single and married, local and international students. At any one time the community includes those training for ordination, pioneer, youth and lay ministry with postgraduate clergy and sabbatical guests.
Enrichment through diversity
A particular strength of the community at Ridley is the mix of those who are here as guests, taking a sabbatical or spending time with us as visiting scholars, and students who are here to study for two or three years. The interaction between men and women at all stages of life and ministry, from the UK and from around the world, is a feature of the college that enriches us all.
Our students benefit enormously from new the different experiences and perspectives brought by scholars and clergy from the UK and abroad, while our shorter-term residents are energised by the ideas and enthusiasm of our ordinands. Sabbatical guests frequently comment on how their time spent with Ridley students has given them a renewed sense of hope and excitement for the future life of the Church in Britain.
"Though we are many, we are one body"
Being male or female, single or married, with or without children within any mixed community can each present its own challenges as well as its own opportunities. Explore the tabs below for a sense of how Ridley cares for each member of its community and aims to provide for specific needs.
To some, the idea of returning to study as a single student can feel strange - like a university undergraduate, you live in on-site accommodation, but at the same time it's a very different situation from one that a first-time student would find themselves in. You will be studying alongside men and women from across the age spectrum, and many already have substantial careers and life histories behind them.
If there is one key aspect to life at Ridley as a single student, it's this: there is space to be yourself and find your own level in what will inevitably be a new environment.
Every year many informal groups arise from mutual interests - whether it be keep fit sessions, guitar jamming or watching films, or just cooking for one another. There is a genuine culture at Ridley of care, and this is particularly noticeable between married and single students - married students will often make their study bedrooms available for guests of single students to stay in at the weekends.
Families of married students are integral to the life of the community. We positively encourage spouses to come with prospective students to our interview days - it is an ideal opportunity for you as a couple to explore your vocation to ministry.
If you are married and considering coming to train at Ridley, you can be assured that your spouse will have full opportunity to be involved as much as he or she would like to be involved in life at Ridley.
And likewise, if you have children, they will be very much embraced as part of the community. University and Federation lectures continue through half-term, but Ridley staff are sensitive to the needs of the family, and do seek to be more flexible during this time wherever possible. For more information on family life within the Ridley community, click the Spouses and Children tabs.
What is Ridley's view on women's ordination?
Ridley has a strong commitment to value everyone's ministry. The Principal and teaching faculty are wholly in favour of the ordination of women, but we welcome students of different convictions on this issue – it is not a criterion of admission.
However it should be recognised that in Ridley and in the Cambridge Theological Federation, of which we are a member, women regularly teach, preach and preside at the Eucharist, and we expect all members to receive their ministry with respect. As in the wider Church of England, we recognise that sincerely held theological differences on these matters can be a source of pain and misunderstanding, and we believe that by the grace of God they can become a strength of learning through diversity.
At Ridley we have a women's support group which meets once a term for an evening of fellowship, prayer and friendship. The evening also provides an opportunity to prepare for particular issues that may arise as women priests after ordination.
The community as a whole benefits enormously from partners being involved many aspects of Ridley life, and we positively encourage you to take up as many of the opportunities available as take your interest and are possible within the routines of your own life.
Thursdays are Community Days, when families are welcome to join staff and students for lunch and/or supper. The centrepoint of our week as an extended community is our Community Eucharist on Thursday evenings.
As the husband or wife of a Ridley student, you will be entitled to a college key that gives access to the main areas of the college (library, common rooms, etc), and opportunities abound to take part in college life. Spouses can (subject to place availability) audit courses, and are welcome to attend the Pastoral Skills classes. Partners also get involved in many of the social activities, including the Ridley Gospel Choir.
All husbands and wives of students are welcome to join SPICE, which meets twice a week for a varied programme of worship, bible study, social events and to hear outside speakers on a range of topics. Cluster evenings enable smaller groups to meet for a meal together at the home of a nearby member. You will receive full information from SPICE when your partner has accepted a place at Ridley.
We welcome and value children as an important part of the Ridley community. Families of students can join in any Ridley or Federation act of worship, in particular on Thursdays, when we worship together as a whole community. Twice each term this is an all-age service, but most weeks it is adult-oriented, with a thriving 'Ridley Kidz' club and a creche available.
The Thursday weekly Chapel service is part of our Community Day, when families are welcome to join students and staff for lunch and/or supper. A number of click-on high chairs are available in the college dining room.
A creche is also provided during SPICE (our partners' group) gatherings on Thursday mornings, staffed by the group.