Southwark Cathedral provided the delightful backdrop for St Augustine’s College of Theology’s Celebration of Awards. The service was attended by students, staff, friends and relations and those who received recognition of their awards included lay readers and independent students, as well as those from IME Phase I and Phase II.

In his sermon, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark Cathedral, contrasted the useless ephemera that often pass for gifts at Christmas (“Bath salts and inexpensive scent / And hideous tie so kindly meant,” John Betjeman) with the enduring gifts through which God makes His way into our lives. Andrew remembered how his own mother inspired and informed his faith journey and he quoted the second letter to Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.”

We know nothing more about these women, nothing save their names and the part they played in making Christ known, that faithfulness enduring in Timothy, son and grandson, and in those he, in turn, inspired, and so on across two millennia. A humble witness that doesn’t seek acclaim for itself but for the working of God’s love: this was the ministry the Dean prayed our students would emulate.

Surrounded by friends, family and Academic Staff, students, lay readers, independent students, ordinands, and curates, were presented by the Revd Dr Simon Stocks and given certificates by the Revd Dr Alan Gregory, Principal of St Augustine’s.

Richard Bailey, an Independent student who had gained a degree said, “It was a lovely service and a fitting end to a fabulous journey of learning and faith formation.”