Closure of the Portsmouth Pathway in July 2024
In January, the Diocese of Portsmouth gave notice of its decision to withdraw from the partnership with Ripon College Cuddesdon and to close the Portsmouth Pathway. This will bring to an end the partnership between the diocese and Ripon College Cuddesdon, through which Portsmouth’s ordinands and trainee Readers have been trained since 2015.
Since then we have been in discussion with the Diocese about arrangements to bring the Pathway to an orderly end, with a clear focus by both parties on minimising the impact on the academic programmes of existing students. Both parties have now agreed that the partnership will end after the 2023/24 academic year, in July 2024. All those currently studying as part of the Pathway will be able to complete their training in partnership with us by this date, or through alternative provision by us if their planned programme extends beyond July 2024. In conjunction with the Diocese, we will be speaking to all existing students individually to ensure that everyone’s training needs are being met during this time of transition.
All Portsmouth ordinands and trainee Readers beginning their training from September 2023 will do so under new arrangements.
The term-time study evenings take place on Tuesdays at inner-city St Luke's Church. The evening includes a shared meal, worship led by students and formal learning. Weekends and week-long residentials take place at Ripon College Cuddesdon near Oxford.
The student body forms a strong community in itself but St Luke's is also a living and developing community of God's people in the heart of Portsmouth and this setting roots us in all the real-life issues of a growing church in a deprived urban context. It is a rich vibrant place for students to participate in theological reflection and personal formation.
Students are also rooted in their own sending churches, where they integrate their study and training with the reality of belonging to God's people in a particular place. We believe this experience of relating to St Luke's and also to the home church, gives students much greater range and depth in their spiritual formation for ministry.
As well as the strong bonds students form with fellow ordinands, on this Pathway they also train alongside Readers, adding to the rich diversity that already exists within our student body. With deep roots in the dioceses we serve, students get to know the people, resources and partnerships of their diocese, as well as becoming part of the large and supportive network of the pathway community.
On the weekends and week-long residential held at Cuddesdon, students also encounter other part-time students on the other regional courses, pioneer ministers as they train in partnership with Church Mission Society, people training as licensed lay ministers, as well as visiting preachers and scholars. Connecting with these diverse networks of people helps students to build their appreciation of distinct vocations and prepares them for collaborative ministry in the future.
Closure of the Portsmouth Pathway
The Diocese of Portsmouth has given notice of its intention to withdraw from its partnership with Ripon College Cuddesdon and to close the Portsmouth Pathway.
The formal notice to close the Portsmouth Pathway was given on 18th January 2023 and discussions between Ripon College Cuddesdon and the Diocese are in place to effect a smooth and orderly transition for students and staff to any new arrangements. Initial discussions assume the closure of the Portsmouth Pathway at the end of the 2023/24 academic year, although the Diocese has indicated a desire to bring this forward to the end of the current academic year if feasible. Ripon College Cuddesdon and the Diocese of Portsmouth are committed to working collaboratively and constructively together, and with students, over the coming months.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the matter further, please speak to Richard Wyld (Director of the Portsmouth Pathway) or Anthony Rustell (Director of Mission and Ministry, Diocese of Portsmouth).