As the lockdown and practices of 'distancing' continue unabated I hope that you are keeping safe and well, and are finding new ways of forming and sustaining community and communion. Do stay in touch with your personal tutor and with Sr Bev as appropriate.
I indicated early in the lockdown that face to face activities would cease until the beginning of June. Since there is no prospect of an early change we are working on the assumption that this will continue for the second half of term as well. We have already put in place the plans to move learning to online modes and we are grateful for the constructive and positive feedback that we are getting about the online learning we are providing. However, I need to confirm that the Foundation Event at the beginning of June will not take place. Not being able to celebrate with leavers their time at Queen's is going to be very difficult, so we are thinking about how we can help mark an 'ending' for those leaving this summer or completing programmes of study and we want to keep open the possibility of doing something later when large scale gatherings again become possible, but it is too early to make any concrete plans for this. Other events we planned to celebrate our 50th anniversary as an ecumenical college are also deferred. We hope that David Chapman's lecture will take place in the autumn and we also hope that Professor David Ford will be able to come on Wednesday September 16th in the evening to help us reflect on John 17 and Jesus' prayer that we 'be one'. Put this in your diary as a sign of hope!
I trust you will have seen the news about the appointment of Professor Clive Marsh to be the next Principal. I am thrilled by this decision and know that Clive will bring huge gifts and experience to lead the Foundation through the next phase of its life. Please remember him in your prayers as he prepares to take up his new responsibilities and for colleagues at Queen's as they go through a period of transition.
I last wrote at the end of March about the outcome of our Periodic External Review and the judgement of confidence without any qualifications by the reviewers. This is an outstanding and rare result. The report is published at https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-03/Queens%20PER%20report%20final.pdf Please read this and ensure that others are aware of its strong endorsement of the quality of our learning and formation for the Churches' ministries.
Finally, I am pleased to report that Governors of Queen's and Trustees of St John's College have agreed to transfer the Distance Learning programmes from St John's to Queen's. This is a significant development for Queen's which will expand the number of independent students and which has the potential to develop substantially our capacity to offer online learning, especially for lay learners. We are excited by this and will be working hard over the next few months as we plan to welcome current students and staff to Queen's for a new start in September.