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College and University Chaplains

Gavin WortThe Revd Canon Gavin Wort

University Lead Chaplain


The Revd Canon Gavin Wort is the University Lead Chaplain. Gavin leads our Chaplaincy Network which comprises chaplains/faith advisors from several faith or belief traditions: Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. This includes a range of Christian denominations and organisations. Gavin was appointed to this role in September 2018, although he had previously completed postgraduate study at Durham University. As a chaplain, he provides pastoral, spiritual and religious support to students and staff of all faiths, beliefs and worldviews. He is available to individuals from all colleges and departments.

Gavin was born, raised and educated in and around the city of Southampton. He is an Anglican priest who has served in parishes in Southampton and Newcastle. Gavin was also previously Coordinating Chaplain at Northumbria University. He is an honorary canon of Durham Cathedral. Gavin is passionate about interfaith engagement and loves bringing people of different faiths and cultures together to share with and learn from one another for the common good. He is Chair of the County Durham Faiths Network and Vice-Chair of the Newcastle Council of Faiths. Gavin is also an Interfaith Advisor for the Diocese of Durham. He enjoys reading about the exploits of fictional clerical detectives such as Fr Brown and the Revd Sidney Chambers but is far too busy himself to pursue an additional career in crime detection!

Robert BluckDr Robert Bluck

Buddhist Chaplain


Robert is joining the Chaplaincy team to support all students and staff, offering friendship and spiritual care – whatever your religious beliefs or secular worldview.

He is looking forward to leading regular meditation and mindfulness sessions – open to everyone – and is happy to discuss Buddhist teaching and practice with you if you are interested. He is also keen to meet Buddhists of all traditions as spiritual friends, and to help them engage with those from other religions, to promote mutual respect and understanding.

Robert practised as a Theravada Buddhist before receiving lay ordination in the Zen tradition in 2002. Like many convert Buddhists, he is not attached to a particular monastic centre. While teaching world religions for the Open University, he visited British Buddhist centres from all traditions, to become familiar with their different styles and approaches, as part of his doctoral research. As well as teaching and leading meditation, he offers talks to secular, Christian and interfaith groups, and has contributed book chapters and articles on Buddhism. In his spare time, he is a long-distance cyclist and a keen birdwatcher.

Julia CandyRevd Julia Candy

Chaplain at Hatfield CollegeSt Cuthbert's Society


Julia Candy is Chaplain to Hatfield College and St Cuthbert's Society. As chaplain Julia's role involves providing pastoral, spiritual and religious support for all Hatfield and Cuth's students and staff, regardless of whether they have a faith commitment or not. She regards her central role as chaplain to be offering a non-judgemental, caring space where difficulties and problems can be heard, and important questions can be asked without necessarily being able to find an answer.

Julia grew up in the North East of England and went to King's College, Cambridge where she studied Psychology. Following this, Julia studied for a PhD in Psychology at Queen's University of Belfast, exploring the impact political conflict and socio-economic status has upon children's development of national identity and sectarian attitudes. After a couple of years teaching and researching at QUB, Durham University and Teesside University, she began training in the Church of England for Ordination to the Priesthood. During her training she studied Theology and Religious Studies at Jesus College, Cambridge. Julia was ordained in Durham Cathedral in 2010 and served her curacy in Durham. Subsequently Julia has worked in London as a parish priest and a hospital chaplain. She is particularly galvanised by issues regarding social justice and inclusion. Julia has many interests including the theatre, reading (particularly Russian and French literature), attending art galleries and stand-up comedy. However, most importantly, Julia regards herself to be one of the Pet Shop Boys' biggest fans.

Father Andrew DownieFather Andrew Downie

University Catholic Chaplain


Father Andrew Downie serves as Catholic Chaplain to Durham University. He is a priest of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, a native of the North East, and a supporter of Sunderland AFC. Fr Andrew is a science graduate and worked as a solicitor before becoming a priest. He is currently studying part-time for a PhD in the Department of Theology and Religion.

The life of the Catholic Chaplaincy is centred on the Student Mass at St Cuthbert's Church, off Old Elvet, every Sunday at 6:30pm. There is also daily Mass and Prayer of the Church. The Chaplaincy is a lively community, which welcomes students and staff from all over the world. It provides opportunities for prayer, learning and discussion about the Catholic faith, and social action, with other students from across the colleges. As Chaplain, Fr Andrew works closely with the Durham University Catholic Society (CathSoc), which also offers a great social programme for students. He aims to make the Chaplaincy a warm and welcoming environment for all students and staff of the university, whatever their beliefs.

Catholic Chaplaincy website: Durham University Catholic Chaplaincy.

Revd Tim FergusonRevd Tim Ferguson

Chaplain at College of St Hild & St Bede


Tim has been the chaplain at Hild Bede since 2015 and works as chaplain half-time. Hild Bede chapel has a lovely and skilled choir, who assist in leading the worship; there is traditional choral evensong on Wednesdays and a Sung Eucharist on Sunday mornings in term time. The chapel has occasional Taize and Compline services during term time which make the most of the chapel at its most beautiful in candlelight. Apart from regular services, Tim runs regular mindfulness sessions both in college and as part of the university's provision in the Bill Bryson Library. Tim is interested in the contemplative traditions and riches that Christianity has to offer and how they can be in dialogue with other traditions and beliefs and how they connect us with others, especially the oppressed, those who are different and all on the margins of society.

Sam HoleRevd Dr Sam Hole

Chaplain and Solway Fellow at University College


As Chaplain and Solway Fellow at Castle I have a variety of responsibilities. I lead services in our two chapels. I have research and teaching commitments in the Department of Theology and Religion. And I am available for pastoral support to students and staff, of all faiths and none. I am happy to offer support, and to signpost to others who may be best placed to offer you support.

I studied History as an undergraduate and then worked as a History teacher. I returned to university to train for ordination, during which time I did a PhD in Theology. I then spent eight years in parishes in London.

During term-time there are weekly services at Castle as follows:

  • Thursdays at 5.45pm: Choral Evensong with Chapel Choir
  • Sundays at 5pm: Eucharist (sometimes with the choir)

There are frequently other special services. Our Chapel Term card gives full details, as does our chapel and choir Instagram, and all are welcome to these services. The college choir itself is excellent, and regularly tours to places including Prague and Rome.

Mr Tom HudsonMr Tom Hudson

Friends International Chaplain


Tom works for Friends International, a Christian charity, which aims to welcome international students, help them to understand British language and culture (including, where appropriate, the Christian faith), offer them practical care and hospitality, and help prepare them for their return home. Friends International is represented on a number of university chaplaincies throughout the UK. His work includes coordinating 'Amigos', a regular Wednesday night drop-in for international students, scholars and friends, which has been running for many years in Durham city. It is based at St Nicholas' Church, providing a holistic and supportive environment to build friendships with internationals. It also runs various social and cultural activities throughout the year, which help international students gain knowledge and understanding of different aspects of life in the UK. In addition to this, it offers pastoral care to individual students struggling with culture shock, isolation and language barriers in the UK.

Tom is a qualified ESOL teacher and runs a weekly 'conversational' English class where international students can improve their English language speaking. He has a wealth of experience with internationals, having worked overseas for a number of years in Albania and also having taught English in both the charity and further education sectors with asylum seekers, economic migrants and international students in Newcastle upon Tyne. He has also previously worked as an interpreter with the North of England Refugee Service. Tom is also part of the Staff team at St Nicholas' Church, with specific responsibility for international students, contributing to its key aim of welcoming people from all nationalities, cultures and beliefs.

Revd Peter KashourisReverend Peter Kashouris

Chaplain at St Mary's College


Peter Kashouris is the Parish Priest at St Oswald's on Church Street and Shincliffe. He is very pleased to be the Chaplain at St Mary's College.

Revd Dr Elizabeth KentRevd Dr Elizabeth Kent 

Chaplain at St John's College


Liz is available to all students and staff to offer pastoral support and a non-judgmental space to explore questions of life. She holds a weekly drop-in, currently on Wednesday afternoons, and is always available to meet with people by arrangement. As part of the university chaplaincy team, Liz seeks to signpost people to chaplains of other faiths and denominations and to a range of support services.

Liz studied Law at Liverpool University before completing a research Masters in Charity Law and tutoring students in Land Law. She became Methodist Lay Chaplain to Liverpool Uni and Liverpool Hope before training for ministry and studying theology at Durham. Her PhD is on the Church and Eating Disorders.

St John's has a Church of England foundation and includes within it Cranmer Hall, where men and women train for ministry in the Church of England, the Baptist church and a number of free churches. They place a high value on worship in college and the college chapel is the beautiful ancient church of St Mary the Less, on South Bailey.

In term-time the college holds the following regular services, to which all are welcome:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: Morning Prayer, 8.30am in Chapel
  • Wednesday: Choral Evensong 5.15pm in Chapel with St John's Chapel Choir
  • Tuesday 7.00pm College Communion with a range of visiting and local preachers, in Leech Hall

At the end of each term St John's hold a college service in Durham Cathedral, and they also have seasonal services in Chapel (e.g. Remembrance, staff carols, Ash Wednesday, Ascension Day, John's Day).

St John's College also has an excellent Chapel Choir which sings at Evensong, has made recordings with the BBC, and goes on tour each year.

Pandit Bal Krishan GautamPandit Bal Krishan Gautam

Hindu Chaplain


Pandit Bal Krishan Gautam serves as Hindu Chaplain to Durham University.

Bal is originally from India. He was born, raised and educated in Vrindaban, Mathura. He moved to the UK in 2006, since then he has worked as a Hindu Priest (Minister of religion) at the Hindu Temple in Newcastle upon Tyne. As a Hindu Minister, he has sole responsibility for the religious observance in the temple; the formal service twice daily and the pastoral work for the congregation of Hindu people in Tyne and Wear, Durham and the surrounding areas in the north-east. Bal's duties also include presiding over weddings, funerals and other events which take place outside the temple. He also provides specific support for the Hindu Community as per their rituals and tradition as each country has its own religious forms and rituals. He is also a member of 'The National Council of Hindu Priests UK'.

It is a great pleasure for him to be a part of the Chaplaincy Team at Durham University. Bal is available to all students and staff.

Rabbi Aaron LipseyRabbi Aaron Lipsey

Durham University Jewish Chaplain


Rabbi Aaron Lipsey is the spiritual leader of the United Hebrew Congregations of Newcastle and Jewish Chaplain to Durham, Newcastle and Northumbria Universities. Last year in a moment of madness he enrolled on a Masters program in Religions and Theology at the University of Manchester and has spent the last twelve months sheepishly explaining to all who will listen, how the Universities he is chaplain to are great places to study despite not choosing to do so himself.

Aaron is also the Vice-Chair of the Rabbinical Council of the Provinces and is involved in organising conferences and training days for colleagues in the provincial Rabbinate.

He is happy to apply his unique Jewish perspective to any queries you may have about religion, faith and God but be warned that this often means answering a question with yet more questions, such as "why?", "well?", and as a famously wise Rabbi once responded, "why not?".

Aaron's claim to fame is having a last name that sounds like a designer brand and he is proud to be the only plane-spotting Rabbi in the North East. This is really much more cool and exciting than you might otherwise think...

Revd David RushtonRevd David Rushton

Chaplain at St Chad's College


St Chad's is a recognised College of Durham University but it is also an independent Church of England foundation; so chaplaincy is an important part of our ethos. As a Priest in the Church of England, I have responsibility for the worship that takes place within the college chapel alongside my role as a college outreach officer.

Day-to-day, I am available to all students and staff as part of the college welfare support. I hope you feel able to approach me to discuss issues of religion or belief and indeed any other matter which is important for you. I am aware that I may not be the right person for every need, but please do approach me if you would like advice on accessing the appropriate support for your needs.

There are regular services in the college chapel and everyone is welcome to join us for any of our services. You can access the college events diary on the college website.

In term-time we hold the following regular services:

  • Sunday Eucharist (usually choral) 11.00am
  • Choral Evensong or Sung Eucharist - most Thursdays 6.15pm
  • Said Eucharist - Tuesday 1.00pm
  • Lunchtime Prayers - Mon; Wed - Fri 1.00pm

We also have services for Festivals and special occasions (e.g. All Souls, Advent Procession, Chad's Day, Ash Wednesday, Ascension Day).

We also have an excellent College choir that sings at services and usually undertakes a foreign tour each year.

Dr Jed Stevenson

Dr Felicity BreetDr Edward (Jed) Stevenson & Dr Felicity Breet

Joint Quaker Chaplains

Email: |

Jed Stevenson and Felicity Breet serve jointly as Quaker Chaplain to Durham University. They are members of Durham Friends Meeting (as Quakers refer to their gatherings). Quakers are distinctive in their custom of silent worship, and in their commitments to peace, equality and justice, truth and integrity, simplicity, and sustainability.

In addition to their role as chaplain, Jed teaches in the Anthropology Department, and Felicity is a Ustinov College Mentor.

More information on Quakers in Durham is available at Durham Quaker Meeting.

Mr Andrew TinklerAndrew Tinkler

Chaplain at Josephine Butler College, Stephenson, South and John Snow Colleges.


Andrew worked as a secondary school R.E. Teacher for four years spending time in Sunderland and Norwich. Following this, he moved into the charitable sector where he developed a range of social action projects, which were seeking to make positive changes in the local community. This included work to challenge racism and work with young people from different faiths and nationalities. Andrew has also been involved in a community development project, which seeks to work with local people to address social and economic deprivation in the neighbourhoods in which they live. Andrew is passionate about social justice and keen to develop work that can help others. Andrew is involved as a trustee with several charities aiming to develop work of this type across the North East.

As pastimes, Andrew enjoys reading, films, good TV dramas, sport (in particular cycling and football) and loves music and performing. He plays the bass guitar and has also sung in a few bands too. Andrew is a Christian who draws a lot of peace out of attending church and working to put his faith into practice in ordinary life. Andrew describes himself as easy-going and a good listener and enjoys meeting people from all walks of life. He spends his free time with friends and family, has a teenage daughter, and enjoys walking around the North East coast and the countryside.

Father Justin MihocFather Justin Mihoc

Eastern Orthodox Chaplain


I came to Durham from Bucharest 12 years ago for my studies and fell in love with the place and its people. After completing my doctorate, I have been teaching theology (at Durham and Mirfield) and celebrate as a priest in the small Orthodox Church of St Cuthbert and St Bede in Durham. I am available for anyone who is interested in Orthodoxy or is part of the Orthodox Church (of all jurisdictions), and warmly welcome all who want to attend any of the weekly services (mostly in English, with some Greek, Romanian, and Slavonic).

Visit the parish website.

Dr Mahshid TurnerDr Mahshid Turner

Muslim Chaplain


Mahshid Turner is the Muslim chaplain for Durham University covering all colleges, including the Stockton campus. She is based at St. Aidan's College where she can offer confidential support regarding faith, pastoral care and welfare issues.

Some of the activities Mahshid has been involved in include:

  • Promoting understanding among different faiths: organising interfaith events such as the Muslim Jewish Forum and online forums
  • Promoting social activities such as 'ladies social events'
  • Individual and group welfare and faith support: confidential space to discuss any problems
  • Group activities such as Quran circles
  • Support to Islamic Society on faith issues and social and educational activities
  • Islamic education training in various institutions, including schools and universities
  • Trustee for County Durham Faiths Network
  • Scriptural Reasoning
  • Interfaith Steering group comprising students and staff of all faiths and none who discuss and decide on events.

If you would like more information about any of the above activities, please contact Mahshid Turner at the above email address.

Mahshid's door is open for non-judgmental support and pastoral care to all Durham University students and staff.