18 Jun

CANCELLED: Thinking Theologically about Higher Education

Due to recent announcements from the UK Government, it has been ...

22 Jun

Summer School 2020: Spirituality in Contemporary Culture

Led by Glen Marshall and Graham Sparkes with contributions from Sam ...

09 Jul

Lay Preachers Conference 2020

PRAYER – Conference for Lay Preachers’ and Worship ...


A Christmas Reflection – 2019

Sometimes tears are unexpected. Most mornings for me begin in the ...

New Staff Appointments for 2019-20

Northern College is delighted to announce the appointment of two new ...

A Christmas Reflection – 2018

Lo He abhors not, the virgin’s womb My son was at that age when ...

History and Governance

LKH is a federal institution combining on one site and in a common teaching programme what were previously separate Free Church denominational theological colleges based in Manchester. At the end of the nineteenth century there were six such colleges. Two merged and one left after Methodist reunion, leaving four that now make up LKH. These represent the Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed and Unitarian traditions. In addition there is an Open College that receives students from a variety of church backgrounds who have chosen to study contextual theology, and in the last year these five colleges have been joined by the Urban Theology Unit based in Sheffield that offers postgraduate teaching and supervision.

Until 1973 the four original denominational colleges occupied separate sites scattered around South Manchester. During the period between 1973 and 1985 they moved one by one onto the Baptist College site, which was the only one of the four to have a modern suite of buildings, having replaced its Victorian buildings in 1964. The name ‘Luther King House’ was adopted in 1984. The site was transferred to an ecumenical trust in 2002, jointly owned by the Northern Baptist Learning Community, Hartley Victoria College (Methodist) and the Northern College (United Reformed Church).

These three colleges, together with the Unitarian College, have an association with the University of Manchester going back for more than a century. Until 1994, students took their degrees at the University where college staff also taught, while the internal teaching focused on ministerial skills and denominational emphases. In 1994 LKH became an affiliated college, teaching its own degree programmes validated by the University of Manchester. While in the recent past it partnered with the University of Chester in offering a Foundation Degree, the validation of all its HE provision returned to the university of Manchester in 2012. The great majority of those currently preparing for ministry and ordination do so by studying for the BA in Contextual Theology.

The LKH Educational Trust is a company limited by guarantee and is registered as a charity with the Charity Commission. It is a private college with an undergraduate provision recognised by HEFCE for public support. The formal objectives as stated in its Memorandum of Association are:

The advancement of education in areas of Christian faith, practice and dialogue and in particular:

The provision of learning opportunities for members of churches and other interested persons:

  • the sharing of theological resources with and among local churches and communities;
  • the preparation of persons for accredited forms of ministry;
  • the provision of opportunities for post-graduate research;
  • the provision of an educational establishment together with ancillary services.
  • To advance education generally.

The LKH Trustee Board includes representatives of Northern Baptist Learning Community, Hartley Victoria College, the Northern College, the Unitarian College and the Urban Theology Unit. They provide the link between LKH and the particular governing bodies of the constituent colleges and, together with the President, ensure that LKH is both responsive to denominational issues and also able to provide a coherent way forward. Alongside these representative directors, there are also several independent directors appointed to the Board.

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