Wesley House in the 1960s
The Tutor's reports to the Governing Body of Wesley House
During WF Flemington's time as Principal, the Tutor, Michael Skinner, presented a report at the annual meeting of the Wesley House Governors. The records of his reports below from the meeting minutes give a flavour of the Tutor's role in the first half of the 1960s.
Michael Skinner with Head Porter, Mr Burnham
Tutor’s report December 1960
In his report Mr Skinner stated that the gap between his piety and the students’ was closing though it was not for him to say which party had moved, nor was it appropriate for him to comment on his industry. The Governors were reassured on this point by Mr Skinner's account of the course that he is taking for two years with the students. The work for the first two terms consisted of a study of John Wesley and Methodism, followed by a study of the Atonement, while in the third and fourth terms the Doctrine of the Church, the Ministry and Sacraments were examined in some detail, and all these subjects were linked with the course in Pastoralia. The importance of the Methodist background could not be over-emphasized since 8 out of 23 in residence had come from non-Christian homes. It was not possible to do this work without leaving some gaps but these were ably stopped by the Principal and Professor Moule. There was opportunity for discussion of the subjects but Mr Skinner felt that there was not really enough time to deal with every aspect of the work as thoroughly as he would like. There was general discussion by the meeting on the subject of practical work and it was recognized that students gained some practical experience through their week-end preaching and the annual campaign. The latter was to be held next summer at Abingdon.
Tutor’s report December 1961
Mr Skinner said in the course of his report that every aspect of the work at Wesley House had a bearing on the practical training of the students for the Ministry and it had been encouraging to hear from those who are now serving the Church that whatever the nature of the work of the ministry, what they had learned while at College was of value to them. The services and meetings on Friday evenings had been of great value and a wide variety of distinguished preachers had informed the men of many aspects of the work of God. In reply to a question about whether the educational work of the church was brought before the students, the principle replied that the Rev G.R. Osborn visited the College from time to time.
Tutor's report December 1962
The Tutor reported that this had been his pleasantest term at Wesley House and he felt that the College was an extremely happy place. Many factors accounted for this, not the least of which was that they had an exceptional Chairman of the students and five men in the third year provided a stabilising influence. The students in the first year were a sound and sensible group, many of whom were exercising a good influence in the Methodist Society.
Tutor’s report December 1963
The Tutor reported that there were nine new men who seemed to be achieving a corporate personality. Four desired to address the Almighty in public in the second person plural. There was a good atmosphere in the College and all seemed to be happy and appreciative of what was being done for them.
Tutor's report February 1965
Mr Skinner reported that the eight new men formed the brightest group for some years. Academically, they were excellent and there were two outstanding members of the group, one who had obtained a first class in his degree and a Blue for Athletics; the other had a double first in Natural Science it was an excellent preacher. The quiet influence of these men was effective throughout the college.
Tutor's report December 1965
Mr Skinner said that he would vary his usual practise and talk about old rather than new House Men. Three were taking Part III, one was offering Dogmatics and two were taking the new section VI on Modern Theology. Help with tuition was being provided by Dr. Vidler, Dr. Max Warren, the Dean of Jesus and the Dean of Clare. Two of these men were going to Fulbourn Mental Hospital for visiting and lectures on the cause and cure of emotional and mental instability. The whole course was exacting but very valuable.
Tutor's report November 1966
Mr Skinner reported that the new men were an unusual assortment with a variety of backgrounds but they were settling down happily and there was a very helpful community spirit in the College. The life of the community had been enriched by the presence of two former House Men, Clifford Hindley and Brian Beck, who had been seconded by the Mission House for three months. They had had a very helpful influence in the college.