A former officer in the Royal Engineers will be the first Principal of a new training institute for church ministry.
The Revd Dr Jeremy Duff, who served in Cyprus and in the Territorial Army before he was ordained as a priest, has been appointed Principal of St Padarn’s Institute, a new centre for ministry training in Wales which will be launched next year.
Since his ordination Dr Duff has served in his home diocese of Liverpool and is currently Team Vicar in Widnes. He is also a senior reviewer of theological education institutions for the Church of England House of Bishops and a lecturer in New Testament at St Mellitus College, North-West.
As Team Vicar Dr Duff founded and chairs Widnes Street Pastors – a national scheme to look after late-night revellers in town and city centres – and is a member of Halton Local Strategic Partnership, which links the public sector with faith communities.
Dr Duff’s journey from soldier to academic began 25 years ago when he left the regulars to study Maths and Theology at Cambridge University, although he kept his Army career by joining the TAs for four years. Following graduation, he transferred to Oxford University where he obtained a Masters and a Doctorate in Theology.
His first job was as a Fellow and Tutor of theology at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, where he worked for six years. He was then appointed as a Residentiary Canon at Liverpool Cathedral and Diocesan Director of Lifelong Learning. During this time, he also trained for ministry at St John’s College, Nottingham. He has written three books as well as many academic articles and book reviews, and bible study notes for a range of publishers.
Dr Duff is married to Jill, who is also ordained as a priest and is a director of St Mellitus College North-West. The couple have two sons, Robbie, 10, and Harry, 7. His hobbies include walking, wild camping and playing computer games.
The Bishop of Monmouth, Richard Pain, who chairs St Padarn’s Council, said, “It is good to welcome Dr Jeremy Duff as the first Principal. St Padarn’s is an exciting new venture in ministerial learning for the Church in Wales. Jeremy brings a wealth of experience in theological education which will help shape the new vision and relate it directly to mission in the parishes.”
Dr Duff said, “I am delighted to be moving with my family to Wales to take up this role, and look forward to working with others across the nation to equip the whole church to serve their communities in Jesus’ name.
“Ministry like the Army, depends on courage and teamwork. The Army taught me that under ever ‘ordinary person’ there is an amazing human being capable of such humour, endurance, hard work, creativity and loyalty if they are respected, encouraged and led.
“For the Church to flourish, and to contribute to the wider common good, it needs people from all ages and backgrounds with courage, hope and faith in Jesus to take a lead in their communities. God has given gifts to us all, and fanning those flames into fire is my passion.”
Dr Duff will take up his new role on St David’s Day, March 1, 2016, and will be based in Wrexham and St Michael’s Conference Centre, Cardiff.
St Padarn’s Institute, which will be launched next summer, will lead all ministry training in the Church in Wales. This includes education for discipleship as well as training for ordained ministries, both residential and non-residential. It will encompass training currently provided by St Michael’s College, Cardiff, and the St Seiriol’s Centre in North Wales. Its degree courses will be validated by the University of Wales, Trinity St David.
As an all-Wales institute, St Padarn’s will deliver courses at sites across the country. Its main hub and base for residential training will at St Michael’s Conference Centre, Llandaff.