St Barnabas Theological Centre (SBTC) will begin in September. Based in Sheffield at the wonderful new development at St Thomas Crookes, SBTC will provide a new way for people to be trained for leadership in God’s church in the North. It is going to be fantastic and I’m really enthused about it!

That’s why we were pleased to play a short video about SBTC at all The Belfrey congregations last Sunday. You can watch it here:

The vision of SBTC has been brewing for three or four years, as leaders from St Thomas’ Crookes in Sheffield, St George’s in Leeds and The Belfrey in York began to talk and pray about how together we might see a new model of training develop that’s contextualised (ie. allowing people to train locally on the job), missional (learning how to grow church and see new disciples made) and theological (with high calibre teachers giving the best theological education available). This has come together in SBTC – a theological centre in the North for the North, where those being trained will be based in an atmosphere of worship, prayer, faith and expectancy that God wants a growing, vibrant church to change lives, communities, cities and regions.

SBTC has a brilliant Director in Mark Powley. Mark is a great communicator, a sharp thinker and loves the vision of SBTC. As a Board member of SBTC it’s been a privilege for me to work with him over the last couple of years, and he’s doing a great job in getting everything ready for September when the first students begin. Many of these will be ordinands – that is, people who have been approved to train to be Church of England clergy. We expect that many of the ordinands that emerge from The Belfrey in the coming years will train through SBTC.

This Sunday we’ll be saying farewell to 4 Belfrey ordinands who are going out from us to be trained for ordination: Eve Ridgeway, Simon Bray, Mary Jobling and Sam Tyndall. They are all great people and we’re really excited about their future! Eve will be training through SBTC, as probably will Sam. Simon and Mary will be moving to Durham to train at Cranmer Hall – which is also a great theological institution, training students residentially for ministry in the church and headed up by my friend Mark Tanner.

SBTC also offer modules for independent students – for anyone who wants to go learn more about, say, the bible, doctrine, church history, or perhaps learn New Testament Greek. It also looks like other denominations are keen to get involved too as SBTC grows.

So I’m really excited about SBTC. It still needs covering in much prayer – for Mark and the team – and especially for the new students. But it’s all come together in an amazing way. I’m so thankful that we at The Belfrey are part of this, because I’m convinced SBTC is going to be very significant in serving God’s transformation of the North.