Latest Event Updates

New Academic Year Begins!

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Our ministerial students were in College this week; here they are in the MCR:

Ministerials 2015


The Chancellor at Regent’s

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As the flurry of posts to this website today demonstrates, the last forty-eight hours at Regent’s have been very busy and exciting. It was a great privilege to round off our Alumni Weekend activities yesterday with a visit from the Chancellor of the University, The Lord Patten of Barnes. The purpose of the Chancellor’s visit was to commemorate the successful migration of postgraduate and undergraduate students from Greyfriars Hall to Regent’s Park College in 2008, when the Hall closed. Greyfriars was a Permanent Private Hall of the University run by the Capuchin Order of Friars Minor (a branch of the Franciscan Order) and the successor of a medieval house of study which was suppressed in the sixteenth century. Greyfriars and Regent’s both received licences to matriculate Oxford students in 1957. The Chancellor last visited Regent’s in 2010, when he unveiled a sheild commemorating the arrival of the Greyfriars students, designed by and gifted to the College by Greyfriars’ last warden, The Revd Fr Mark Turnham Elvins (1939-2014).

Lord Patten

Above: The Chancellor made a short speech in which he described Regent’s as one of the University’s hidden gems and congratulated the College for the successful integration of the Greyfriars community. The MCR played its part in this process.


Above: The commemorative sheild, which now hangs in Helwys Hall.


Above: Chris Patten with John Major.

Lord Patten became Chancellor in 2003 after a distinguished political career, during which he served in a variety of ministerial roles under Prime Ministers Margaret, Baroness Thatcher (pm. 1979-90) and Sir John Major (pm. 1990-97), including Chairman of the Conservative Party (1990-92). Lord Patten was also the last British Governor of Hong Kong (1992-97), Chairman of the BBC Trust (2011-14) and the principal architect of the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (p. 2005-2013) to the United Kingdom in 2010.

Congratulations Graduates!

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Many congratulations to MCR members who graduated yesterday. The Principal Emeritus and Dean of Degrees, The Revd Professor Paul Fiddes, led the procession to the Sheldonian Theatre for an 11 o’clock ceremony presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton.  Afterwards, many new graduates and their families returned to Regent’s for a reception in the Hall, which inevitably spilled out into the Quad, bathed in autumn sunshine.

Former MCR members will always be welcome to visit Regent’s and the MCR Exec. wishes all of them the very best of luck in their future endeavours.

Graduation 2015

Above: The Principal, The Revd Dr Robert Ellis, congratulated the graduates and their guests.


Above: One graduate was Ross Maidment (centre), MCR Vice-President from 2013-2015, pictured here with the Chaplain, The Revd Dr Myra Blyth (left), and the MCR President, Matthew Mills (right).

Wine Is Bottled Poetry

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The University is holding its annual Alumni Weekend, when former students are invited to return to Oxford and visit their own and other colleges for a round of exciting events and activities. One such alumni event was a wine tasting at Regent’s on Friday evening, which was attended by some of our own alumni – including a number of former MCR members – as well as many others. Dr Lynn Robson (Lecturer in English) organised the event, in which an excellent wine tasting, facilitated by Regent’s alumna and buyer for the Wine Society, Sarah Knowles (2003, Geography), was interspersed with dramatic readings from poetry and prose on the theme of wine.

Wine Tasting

MCR Refurbishment – Phase 2

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The latest phase of our MCR refurbishment project was completed today, when our new furniture arrived! The new chairs are (mercifully) lighter than the old red sofas and much easier to move; we hope that this will make the MCR a more versatile space which members can use for social and academic gatherings. The Exec. would like thank everyone who has helped with the refurbishment of the MCR and the MCR Study Room in the Library.

The MCR is now well into its second decade – a representative of the College’s Graduate Society was first co-opted on to the Governing Body in 2002/03 – and with each academic year it grows and diversifies, both academically and culturally, making a bigger impact in College! If this trend continues in the years to come, MCR members will need better facilities; hopefully this refurbishment is just the first phase of improvements in the long-term.

As before, here are some ‘before and after’ shots:


After (1)

After (2)

MCR Study Room Refurbishment

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New and returning MCR members will be pleased to see that the MCR Study Room behind the Main Library has been refurbished during the summer vacation. These improvements, undertaken by the MCR and the Library together, represent the most recent phase of our plan to improve the fabric of our communal spaces. They are also the fruit of several years of careful financial management by the MCR Executive Committee; whilst we have taken a loan from the College to pay for some of the work, thanks to the stewardship of the MCR Treasurer we have been able to make a substantial contribution from our savings. We hope that MCR members will continue to use the room and that they will find it to be a conducive environment for study.

Here are a few ‘before and after’ shots:

  Study Rm 3

  Study Rm 4 (2)

There are more improvements on the way; watch this space!

MCR President in the USA

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Matthew Mills (MCR President) was in the USA this week, presenting a paper at a conference of the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was accompanied by a Regent’s alumnus and former MCR Vice President, Ross Maidment. Ross was a mature student in the MCR from 2012-2015; he is now preparing to begin an MTh at Cardiff University and is hoping to be accepted as a candidate for ordination in the Church in Wales in 2016.  His attendance at this conference was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Sir Michael Moritz and Ms Harriet Heyman, The Care Leavers’ Foundation UK, and Regent’s Park College.

The title of the ESBVM conference was The Virgin Mary in Christian Dialogue: Controversy, Convergence and Vision. Ross proposed a re-reading of the Virgin’s fullness of grace (Maria, gratia plena) in light of the concept of ‘the paradox of grace’ proposed by Scottish theologian, Donald Baillie (1887-1954). Matthew was invited to respond to Ross’s paper from his perspective as a Roman Catholic, in-keeping with the ecumenical spirit of the ESBVM. Both of these papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Society’s proceedings.

By presenting at this conference, convened from across the United States, Matthew and Ross contributed to the recent tradition of engagement with ecumenical Mariology by members of Regent’s Park College. In 2005, Dr Timothy Bradshaw, the Senior Tutor, wrote the Anglican commentary on the Mariological document of the second Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC II), Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ. Then, in 2010, Professor Paul Fiddes, the Principal Emeritus and current Director of Research, concluded five years as Co-Chair of a series of ecumenical conversations between the Catholic Church and the Baptist World Alliance, which dedicated an entire symposium to the Virgin Mary. The excellent report produced under Professor Fiddes’ co-chairmanship can be read on the Vatican’s website:

Here are some photographs from the conference:

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The conference took place in Mercy Hall of Misericordia University (above), which was founded by the Religious Sisters of Mercy in 1924.


Above: Ross Maidment, presenting his paper: ‘How might D. M. Baillie’s doctrine of ‘the paradox of grace’ shed light on the notion Maria, gratia plena?’


Above: Matthew Mills (MCR President), presenting his paper: ‘Maria, gratia plena: vision, convergence and controversy’.

Other papers from the conference included:


Above: ‘Mary the Evangelist: Interpreting the Magnificat from an Evangelical Perspective’, by Kathryn Bradford Heidelberger, Master of Divinity Candidate, Princeton Theological Seminary.


Above: ‘Roman Catholic Marian Devotion as Viewed from the Collection of Marian Masses, the Marian Lectionary and The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy’, by Monsignor Vincent J. Gramalia, Coordinator of Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations, Diocese of Scranton.


Above: ‘Defending Salome: An Evangelical Perspective on the Doctrine of Virginitas In Partu’, by Nancy Ritter, Graduate from Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.


Above: ‘Ecumenism and the Blessed Virgin Mary: A Consideration of ECT VII – ‘Do Whatever He Tells You’’, by Michael J. Stell, Teaching Fellow, Catholic University of America, Washington DC, MD.


Above: ‘Blessed Is She’, by The Revd Martin L. Cox, Jr., Lackawanna College, Scranton, PA.

There was also a keynote address from the renowned Catholic scholar, and President of the Mariological Society of America, Professor Robert Fastiggi, entitled: ‘Mary as Active or Passive: An Examination of the Groupe des Dombes in Light of Catholic Soteriology and Mariology’.