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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Westminster College Cambridge

Westminster College Appeal Westminster College is a theological college, preparing men and women to serve as ordained ministers. Owned by the United Reformed Church and working closely with two universities in Cambridge, it also provides sabbaticals and in-service training for those already ordained and for lay preachers, and offers a variety of learning facilities for lay people. Westminster College thus rejoices in a wide and diverse community of students, guests, visitors and teachers, welcoming many from other churches and traditions as well as from the United Reformed Church.


Founding Westminster College

The College opened in 1899 when the Presbyterian Church of England transferred its ministerial training college from London to Cambridge. In 1967 Cheshunt College, which trained Congregational ministers, moved its work to Westminster ahead of the union of the two churches in 1972. The college’s name commemorates the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647, prepared for Parliament by an assembly of divines who met in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey. The original handwritten copy of the Confession is preserved in the College archives.


A Development Plan for Maintaining Excellent Facilities

Westminster College works closely with ecumenical partners in the Cambridge Theological Federation, sharing with staff of other houses in teaching theological students from Anglican, Methodist, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions as well as from the United Reformed Church. (One of the Archbishop’s tutors whilst he studied as an Ordinand at Ridley Hall, Cambridge was the late Martin Cressey, then Principal of Westminster College.)

In recent years the college has greatly extended its role as a Resource Centre for Learning in the United Reformed Church. Yet it has become increasingly clear that proper fulfilment of this role requires a more attractive and serviceable college building. Built in the Arts & Crafts style, Westminster College is a Grade II listed building; though well maintained, it has been little modified since it was first opened.

In 2009 the governors determined that the college’s facilities must be brought up to date if it were to continue to inspire its users and to provide what they need. They therefore drew up a development plan so that what were once excellent facilities might be made excellent for today.

The plan is being funded by a £7,000,000 appeal, launched in February 2011, by 2013 had raised over £6,700,000 – enough to allow us to begin the construction programme in June 2013. Students have now moved into new en-suite study bedrooms in the residential wing, and we look forward to completing the project, including library, archive and office facilities, by summer 2014.

Meanwhile the United Reformed Church has moved to fill the vacant Principal’s post, after the Revd Dr Susan Durber took up a post at Christian Aid in September 2013, and the Revd Neil Thorogood will lead the college from January 2014. All of us in the college welcome this nomination warmly.

Everyone at Westminster College – governors, staff and students – has been greatly encouraged by the lively interest that the Archbishop has taken in our development project. His patronage of the appeal means a great deal to the college, and his inspiring speech at our Patrons’ Dinner has helped us approach our goal.

We believe that God is calling us to complete this task so that Westminster may continue to inspire people in their lives and in their work, to the glory of His name.

The Revd John Proctor, Acting Principal

Canon Brian Long, Governor and Appeal Convenor