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Great St Mary's

Sermons before the University of Cambridge

University Sermons have been given at Great St Mary's since 1300. All are welcome to these historic University of Cambridge services.

University Sermons

The earliest statues of the University of Cambridge established the Sermons before the University. Given at the University Church since 1300, these Sermons challenge us to consider faith more thoughtfully. Each year prominent women and men from many different traditions deliver Sermons. The Sermons address a wide range of topics of particular interest to students. In addition, college choirs perform great works of choral music during the service.. The services are very simple, last about an hour, and are open to everyone.

Members of the University of Cambridge should wear academical dress if attending. However, if you forget your gown, don’t fret. All are welcome and those present are invited to take refreshments with the preacher at Michaelhouse after the Sermon.

All sermons begin at 11.15am at the University Church, unless otherwise noted.

University Sermons for 2019–2020

Michaelmas Term 2019
  • 20 October, The Revd Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton.
  • 3 November, The Revd Canon Prof Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Canon Professor, Christ Church, University of Oxford.
Lent Term 2020
  • 26 January, Professor Peter Ward, Professor of Practical Theology in the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham
  • 23 February, Professor Rae Langton, Fellow of Newnham College and Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy (Hulsean Preacher)
Easter Term 2020
  • 31 May, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, Resident Bishop of the San Francisco Area, United Methodist Church of the United States of America (Ramsden Preacher)

20 October: The Revd Nicky Gumbel

University Sermon text: John 14:1-6

The Reverend Nicky Gumbel, of Trinity College, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, will preach the University Sermon in Great St Mary’s, the University Church, at 11.15 a.m. on Sunday, 20 October 2019.

Revd Nicky Gumbel

The Revd Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton

Nicky Gumbel took a degree in law at Cambridge, was called to the bar in
1977 by the Middle Temple and practised until 1983 when he began
ordination training at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, taking another degree in
theology. A Christian from his undergraduate years at Trinity College, he
subsequently worshipped at Holy Trinity Brompton and on becoming a
deacon in 1986, joined their staff as a curate and has remained there
since, becoming the Vicar in 2005. Operating on five church sites, the
parish hosts the St Paul’s Theological Centre, the Church Revitalisation
Trust and the Alpha Course.

He is renowned for pioneering the Alpha Course, which had been running
since the late 1970s and for which he assumed responsibility in 1990.
Promoted as ‘An Opportunity to Explore the Meaning of Life’ with its
distinctive red, question-mark logo, it has been outstandingly
successful as a means of introducing those outside regular church-going
to the Christian faith and now operates in over 100 countries. Other
courses have also been developed relating to marriage and parenting.

Nicky Gumbel’s numerous publications include ‘Questions of
Life'(1993),’A Life Worth Living'(1994) and ‘The Jesus Lifestyle'(2007).
He and his wife Pippa write a daily Bible in One Year commentary, which
is followed online by more than one million people.

The Chapel Choir of Sidney Sussex College will sing at the service. All
are welcome and there will be a drinks-reception in Michaelhouse
afterwards. Members of the University wear their gowns.