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Honorary Fellows


Mr Michael Bird

Michael Bird was a Director and Managing Director at the Johnson Service group from 1960 until 1994, before becoming Chief Executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce from 1994 to 2002. From 2004 to 2011 he chaired the Audit Committee of Durham University Council, and was the Trustee Pension Fund at St. Cuthbert's Society. From 2003 to 2014, he worked on the St John's College Council, first as University Council Representative, and then as Vice President and as the Chair of the Finance Committee. He currently chairs the Dyers Housing Association, and is a trustee of several charities.



Mr David Day

After teaching for 15 years in secondary schools, David Day moved into higher education, holding appointments both in Theology and Religious Education. For eighteen years he held the post of Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, Durham University and for seven years was Principal of St John’s. During that time he established the Centre for Christian Communication, was involved in the planning and building of St Margaret’s Garth and taught preaching and communication in Cranmer Hall.

David's publications include The Contours of Christian Education, Beyond the Here and Now, A Reader on Preaching (all jointly with Prof. Jeff Astley), A Preaching Workbook, Christ Our Life, Pearl Beyond Price, and Embodying the Word – a Preacher’s Guide. He was the series preacher for BBC 1's Christmas is Coming. In 2016 he received the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lanfranc Award for Education and Scholarship.



Very Revd Dr Philip Plyming

Philip Plyming is Dean of Durham and leads the life and mission of Durham Cathedral.  After attending a local comprehensive school in Sussex, Philip studied German and Russian at Cambridge University followed by Theology at Durham University while training for ministry at Cranmer Hall from 1998-2001. His PhD was awarded by Edinburgh University for research into Paul’s hardship narratives in 1 and 2 Corinthians, and his book Being Real: The Apostle Paul’s Hardship Narratives and The Stories We Tell Today is published by SCM.

Philip served his curacy at Christ Church, Chineham, an ecumenical church in the Diocese of Winchester, and was ordained priest in 2002. During his curacy he led a team which ran a popular Youth Alpha course and planted a youth congregation.  In 2006, Philip was appointed Vicar of Claygate, in the Diocese of Guildford, a church which in 11 years grew from three to five Sunday congregations and also planted a further church nearby. From 2012 Philip additionally served as Area Dean of Emly, introducing a Deanery Growing Leaders course used by a range of churches.  Philip was elected to the General Synod in 2009 and served until 2021, serving on a range of committees including the Simplification Task Group.

Philip was Warden of Cranmer Hall, St John’s College, Durham, from 2017 to 2023, where he taught New Testament and Christian Leadership and also started and hosted the popular podcast Talking Theology.


Rt Revd John Pritchard

Born in Salford, John Pritchard read jurisprudence at St Peter's College, Oxford, graduating with a BA degree in 1970, before studying Theology for two years at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He was ordained in the Church of England as a deacon in 1972 and as a priest in 1973. From 1972 to 1976, he served as a curate at St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham, and from 1976 to 1980, he was Youth Chaplain and Assistant Director of Education in the Diocese of Bath and Wells. In 1980, John he became priest in charge of Wilton, Taunton. From 1988 he was Director of Pastoral Studies at Cranmer Hall and, from 1993, the college's warden. In 1996, he became Archdeacon of Canterbury. In 2002, he was consecrated as a bishop, following which he served as Bishop of Jarrow until 2007, when he became Bishop of Oxford.


Prof Peter Shaw

Peter is a founding partner of Praesta Partners, a specialist coaching organisation. Formerly a Director General in the UK Government, he has coached senior leaders and teams across six continents in the private, public and voluntary sectors. He has written 27 books on aspects of leadership. Some have a specifically Christian perspective, including Mirroring Jesus as Leader and Living with Never-Ending Expectations. Other books bring a Christian understanding on leadership issues to a wider readership.

Peter is a Geography graduate from Durham University. He has Master’s Degrees from Bradford University and Regent College, University of British Columbia, as well as a PhD in Leadership Development from Chester University. He is a Licensed Lay Minister (Reader) in the Church of England. He is currently an LLM at the Busbridge and Hambledon Benefice in the Guildford diocese.


Sir Nigel Sherlock

Sir Nigel Sherlock joined the St John’s College Council in 1984, where he played an active part in raising funds for the Leech Hall. His professional career was centred around Investment Management, but he also sought in a number of ways to contribute to improving the well-being of those living in the North East, including the ethnic communities. He was Chairman of Council of Newcastle University, a Founder member of the Tyne and Wear Community Foundation, President of the North East Chamber of Commerce and has had a long standing involvement with the Church of England, both regionally and nationally. He was Chairman of the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra (now the Royal), and headed the fundraising Committee for the Sage Gateshead Concert Hall. He is a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. Finally, he also served as Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear (2000-2015).


Rt Revd Mark Tanner

The Rt Revd Mark Tanner is the Bishop of Berwick in the Diocese of Newcastle, a role he has occupied since his consecration in October 2017. Prior to this he was Warden of Cranmer Hall and one of the Vice-Principals of St John’s College. He has served as Vicar in Doncaster and Ripon, as well as an Area Dean, a member of the General Synod, and a part-time Army Chaplain. He also served as a Youth Worker in Coventry. His writings include The Introvert Charismatic and A PCC Member’s Essential Guide. He studied Maths at Christ Church, Oxford, before reading Theology and Ministry in Durham as part of his ordination training at Cranmer Hall. He holds an MA in Applied Theology from Liverpool University.


Rt Revd James Newcome

James Newcome read history at Trinity College, Oxford. After a year spent driving an ambulance in Hertfordshire he trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. A curacy in Watford was followed by a return to Cambridge as tutor in the Cambridge Federation and minister of an Ecumenical Project in Bar Hill. After eight years as DDO and Director of Ministry in Chester Diocese, he became Bishop of Penrith in 2002, and Bishop of Carlisle in 2009. He is lead bishop for Health and Social Care in the House of Lords and serves as Clerk of the Closet to HM The Queen. He was President of St John’s College Council from 2011 to 2018 and was National Chaplain to the Royal British Legion from 2016 to 2020. He is currently Deputy Lieutenant of Cumbria, and co-chair of Rose Castle Foundation. 


Revd Dr Stuart Bell

Revd Dr Stuart Bell is a Methodist minister and an Honorary Research Fellow, with a research focus on the history of conflict and religion. He has written widely on religion and the First World War, including Faith in Conflict (2017) and he co-edited with Prof Tom O’Loughlin of Nottingham University a centenary critical edition of Studdert Kennedy’s The Hardest Part (2018). He has just completed the co-editing of a collected volume to be published by Boydell, British Christianity and The Second World War, in partnership with Canon Prof Michael Snape of Durham University. In that book, his chapter examines the arguments propounded by the non-conformists who did not support pacifism in the 1930s.