Chaplaincy at Canterbury Christ Church




“Time is the context that gives meaning to everything in this world, and conversely everything that has meaning for us in this world, everything that has a place in our lives, exists in time” (Iain McGilchrist)

A Brief History
Christ Church College was founded by the Church of England in 1962 as a teacher training college to address a national shortage of teachers, with its first buildings in Canterbury built on land which had been part of St Augustine’s Abbey. This makes it one of only a handful of universities across the country located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first qualification was the Certificate of Education (cert Ed) shortly followed by the Bachelor of Education (BEd) award and the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). In 1978, the first non-teacher training degrees were offered and validated by the University of Kent. In the late 1980s, we became a centre for health education offering  courses in Occupational Therapy, Radiography, Nursing and Midwifery. We acquired the Salomons Centre near Tunbridge Wells from the National Health Service in 1996 – which is now an important centre for teaching and research in Applied Psychology – and by the mid 1990s there were 7,500 students studying at the College.

In 1995, the Privy Council awarded us the power to grant degrees for taught courses and, in 1998, the College was renamed Canterbury Christ Church University College.Our Broadstairs Campus opened in 2000, introducing higher education provision to the Thanet area. In the same year, we acquired the lease of the Sidney Cooper Centre in Canterbury and the building reverted to its original use as an art school. Staff and students work, as well as touring exhibitions, are now regularly showcased in the refurbished gallery space.In 2003, we acquired Hall Place, an impressive 16th century building just outside the city. Hall Place was renovated and renamed Hall Place Enterprise Centre to reflect its status as the hub of knowledge exchange activities between the academic and business communities.

As a member of Universities at Medway, a partnership between Canterbury Christ Church University, the University of Greenwich and the University of Kent with Mid-Kent College, we opened a new facility at the Chatham Maritime site in 2004. The Medway Campus specialises in health and education programmes and is now recognised as a centre of excellence in these areas. In 2005, the University was awarded full university title by the Privy Council and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Rt Hon Dr Rowan Williams, was installed as our first Chancellor in an inauguration ceremony in Canterbury Cathedral. In 2009, we were also granted Research Degree Awarding Powers by the Privy Council, an important milestone in recognising the quality and impact of our research and academic staff.We expanded significantly between 2005 to 2015 with the development of new courses and research, and the growth of our student community, at its peak reaching 20,000.

The University Centre Folkestone opened in the town’s creative quarter in 2007, followed by a new multi million pound Sports Centre in 2009, and the award-winning Augustine House Library and Student Services Centre on the site of the former 1970s office block Clarkson House in Canterbury city centre.In 2012, St George’s Student Centre opened, home to our Students’ Union and student accommodation, as well arts facilities including St Gregory’s Centre for Music and the Maxwell Davies building on campus. This was followed by the acquisition of the former Canterbury prison site in 2014 and the development of ambitious plans to enable us to realise our 10 to 15 year academic vision, consolidating our Canterbury locations in two sites: North Holmes Campus and Augustine House. 

Today, Canterbury Christ Church is seen as a modern university which is actively involved in public life, from its role in influencing national policy and practice to addressing real-world complexities through its teaching and research. A lot of our work is linked to important social issues from research around migration and HIV diagnosis, to cybercrime and stem cell research. 

Our range of national and international partnerships highlight our relevance to contemporary society and the critical role we play in transforming the social, economic and cultural prosperity of communities and individual lives. Whilst our campuses and centres are in Kent and Medway, a lot of what we do takes us across the globe, with major partnerships in Palestine, Greece, Vietnam, to name but a few, which makes us both a national and global University. Our broad academic portfolio across Arts and Humanities, Education, Health, and Social and Applied Sciences, also means our graduates make a significant impact on society, with many teaching in schools, providing health and social care in the community, helping businesses to flourish, and injecting talent into creative industries.

Feel free to light a candle, leave a message, say a prayer or simply write the name in loving memory of those whom we have loved and lost but whose memory we cherish. Light a candle