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St John's College, Nottingham - Discipleship, Mission and Leadership in a World of Change


Public Announcement from St John’s College


David Sally reception1 web


Following on from our announcement on 11th June about David Hilborn’s leaving St John’s after a period of research leave, we are pleased to confirm that the leadership role at the College is to be taken up by the Revd Dr Sally Nash, who will become Team Leader from the end of the current term (July 6th) and for the months following, as David undertakes his research and departs formally at Christmas.

Sally has been associated with St John’s for twenty years and leads the Midlands Institute for Children, Youth and Mission (MCYM) based at the college. She will provide essential continuity for St John’s as we address exciting opportunities for our future. Sally is licensed as an Associate Minister to a parish in Birmingham and has published books and articles on ministry and chaplaincy as well as youth work and children’s ministry.

She will be supported in this role by Bishop Mike Hill, former Bishop of Bristol, who will act as consultant and wise counsel. Bishop Mike has much experience of the world of theological education, and is already working in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham.

David Hilborn says of this plan: “I am delighted about Sally’s appointment as Team Leader at St John’s. She brings great knowledge of St John’s and essential continuity to the positive transition we have undertaken on our own account, and in relation to the promising discussions we have been having about wider partnerships. She and the college as a whole can be assured of my prayers for the next phase of St John's life and ministry.


The Revd Dr David Hilborn has confirmed that he will be stepping down as Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham this Christmas. His day-today duties will cease at the end of the current academic year, following which he will be taking an overdue period of research leave in the autumn term, prior to departing formally at the end of December. During this research leave Dr Hilborn will be writing a new book on intergenerational mission and ministry and will also be developing the work he has previously been doing for the Church of England on Anglican-Pentecostal relations. He will continue to chair the Evangelical Alliance’s Theology Advisory Group, in connection with which he will be collaborating with others to enrich research and training on evangelical civic, cultural and media engagement. Details of his next permanent role will be announced in due course.

Dr Hilborn became Principal of St John’s in 2012, having been Assistant Dean of St Mellitus College from its inception in 2007. In the past six years he has led St John’s through a significant period of transition from a model centred on full-time residential training to one oriented to part-residential and non-residential training, with greater relative emphasis on contextual, part-time, blended and distance learning for students from a wide range of church traditions and backgrounds. More recently, he has played a key part in plans to reshape regional ministerial training on a more collaborative pattern that reflects his own 30-year involvement in Christian unity, leadership formation and theological teaching. Through the late summer and autumn Dr Hilborn will be handing over this and other leadership responsibilities and the Chair of Council will be in touch with you shortly about the new arrangements.

As he announced his departure to colleagues, Dr Hilborn said, “It has been a great privilege to lead St John’s, and to work with such dedicated staff and students. We have drawn deeply from the best of our history, and thanks to the prayers and commitment of so many, we can look forward to the future with hope. I wish the trustees well as they work with the Leadership Team take the vision and mission of the college forward. The past few years have been a time of considerable change and challenge for theological education and ministerial training in general. We at St John’s have faced our share of changes and challenges in relation to that, and some that have been more particular to our own, local context. But through it all, I have been truly blessed by God’s grace towards me in my role as Principal, and to all of us as a community of Christ’s disciples. May St John’s flourish under God’s guiding hand, and in the power of his Spirit. As I move on to the next phase of my adventure with God, please be sure that I will be praying for the college, and for all of you.”

The Chair of the St John’s College Council, Chris Smith, said:

We – trustees, staff and students - have all been immensely grateful to David for his commitment and hard work over the last six years in shaping a future for St John’s College, and for tackling numbers of challenging issues. Alongside his demanding role, he has maintained his high academic standing in the world of theological education, not least with his recently awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy through Durham University.


We wish him the best of good fortune and every blessing in the next stages of his ministry, and thank him for his great contribution.