New home for Christian teaching in London

Theological college St Mellitus is looking forward to further growth after opening its new campus in London yesterday.

The campus is part of the college's response to the rapidly rising number of applicants, and offers new state-of-the-art facilities for distance learning.

St Mellitus College, which was named after the first Bishop of London, was jointly founded by the Dioceses of Chelmsford and London in 2007 and now serves 110 ordinands and around 400 other students from Chelmsford and the capital.

The success of St Mellitus reflects church growth across London and the South East. Between 2003 and 2010, church membership in the Diocese of London increased almost 13,500, up from 60,600 to 74,100.

The new campus is at St Jude's Courtfield Gardens, a grade II listed former parish church that has undergone a £7.3 million conversion to serve the students of the college.

St Jude's pulpit, which was built in 1870, and the Victorian brickwork have both been preserved.

The multi-million pound conversion has enabled the creation of four lecture spaces, five seminar rooms, and a central library.

Reverend Dr Graham Tomlin, Dean of St Mellitus College, said: "We have been surprised and delighted by the growth of St Mellitus over the past five years.

"This new building will give our students fantastic facilities for study, community and worship.

"It helps the college move to a new stage of its life and opens up new possibilities for the college and for the wider church and community."

A service of blessing for the new campus was attended by the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, and the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell.

The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, said: "St Mellitus was a missionary bishop who worked to make Jesus Christ known to the London of his day.

"This new institution is a vital part of our spiritual ambition in our own day to make Jesus Christ known and to build a civilisation of love."

Bishop Cottrell, said: "The generous orthodoxy of St Mellitus College provides an excellent training for those preparing for ordained ministry, offering flexibility and breadth in its full time and part time courses.

"In Chelmsford Diocese we have seen a marked increase in people in self-supporting ministry, our numbers rising from 68 in 2003 to 104 in 2010. Our partnership with St Mellitus has made a major contribution to that growth as we work to re-imagine ministry across Essex and East London."