Update from The Principal
An update from the Principal, Michael Volland, on the proposal for a new building on the site.
The Revd Dr Michael Volland
T +44(0)1223 741070
Dear friend of Ridley,
Easter greetings! It is good to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ with you and to call to mind our identity as a sent people who bear witness to God’s message of Life and a hopeful future.
I am writing at the beginning of the Easter term. During the vacation our students have engaged in a wide range of parish and chaplaincy placements and many are now completing dissertations and revising for exams. Thirty-eight of our ordinands are preparing to leave us at the end of this term to go and serve their title posts around the UK. It is an enormous privilege to be part of a community that regularly sends out such encouraging numbers of men and women for service in churches and communities. Our ordinands will leave Ridley dependent on God and expectant about what He is able to achieve through their willingness to be sent out in obedience to His call. Their faith, love and trust in God’s faithfulness give me great hope for the future of the Church!
Having written of my excitement about those who will be sent out from Ridley in June, I want to share news of an important development at the Hall. The Trustees have recently taken the decision not to proceed with the construction of a large building, which would have occupied the Principal’s Garden on the south side of Ridley’s court. The decision was made after months of prayerful consideration and has the full support of the academic staff team. Since the project was conceived over ten years ago, a great deal of work has been undertaken in an attempt to bring it to fruition, with many people contributing time, skills and financial assistance. I am aware that this decision will bring disappointment but, on behalf of the Trustees, staff and students of Ridley Hall I would like to express sincere gratitude to all those who gave generously in support of the building project. The costs to produce detailed plans for what was a very ambitious project and to gain planning permission for it were high, absorbing much of what was given. Planning permission remains in perpetuity and if, in the future, we discern that completing the court with a new building is God’s will for Ridley we would be able to proceed without the need to seek fresh planning permission.
In the last ten years, the theological training landscape has changed almost beyond recognition and with it the expectations and requirements of the Church of England and the other denominations whose ordinands and lay people train at Ridley Hall. We live in a society characterised by rapid change and Ridley Hall remains committed to providing training and formation for lay and ordained ministry that prepares people for proclaiming Jesus Christ. The Trustees recognise that in order for students to be equipped for the challenges of ministry and mission as we now understand them, we need to enhance and develop the buildings that we already have rather than proceed with the construction of a large building that does not serve this purpose. Exciting possibilities for the enhancement of our buildings are being prayerfully considered and the money that remains from what was raised for the proposed building will now go towards this important work on our existing buildings. I look forward very much to sharing our plans as they emerge.
Thank you again for your prayerful support of Ridley Hall. Without it we could not continue to offer effective, Christ-centred training and formation. I would like to invite you to prayerfully consider whether you might be able to give financially to support the much needed development of our teaching facilities and accommodation. I will be saying more about our emerging vision and future plans at Moule Day on 7 June. It would be lovely to meet you on that occasion if you are able to make it. Click here to book a place.
With every blessing in Christ,