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Archbishop presents Diploma and MA degrees

Thursday 15th May 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has this afternoon presented two Lambeth Diplomas and one Lambeth degree to three recipients.

Lambeth Diplomas were presented to Mrs Mary Greetham and Mr Jonathan McNabb and a Lambeth MA degree to the Reverend Eric Bramhall.

All these awards follow the submission of theses for examination.

Photos of the occasion are available from the Press Office.

The Lambeth Diploma, in full, the Lambeth Diploma of Student in Theology (S.Th), is awarded annually by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Lambeth M.A. in Theology by Thesis is also awarded annually.

THE LAMBETH DIPLOMAS were established by Archbishop Randall Davidson in 1905 with the intention of encouraging women to study theology. Since 1943, men as well as women have been eligible to take the diploma. Candidates qualify for the diploma either by writing a thesis or taking an examination. This year, the successful candidates have produced theses.

Lambeth Diplomas in 2008 to be awarded to:

Mrs Mary Greetham

Title of Thesis: The Rise and Fall of Nonconformist Cemeteries and burial grounds in England, with special emphasis on the Free Church Cemetery in Faringdon, Oxfordshire.

Certificate in Education, Southlands College, 1943, Diploma in Church History, Open Learning Centre, 1998

Retired Methodist Local Preacher.

Mr Jonathan McNabb

Title of Thesis: Christianity a Kind of Cruelty.

Mr McNabb has a BD Theology from Heythorp College, University of London and also a Post Graduate Diploma in Disability Studies from University of Leeds.

Occupation: Administrative Assistant for Modern Languages, Copleston High School, Ipswich.

THE LAMBETH M.A. IN THEOLOGY BY THESIS was inaugurated in 1990 by Archishop Runcie at the request of the Lambeth Diploma Committee in order to meet a need to provide for the possibility of theological study at a more advanced level than the Diploma.  It was agreed that a limited number of candidates (thirty on the books at any one time) should be allowed to register for the M.A. procedure. These were to be graduates with honours degrees (2:1 or above) in Theology, or closely related subjects, or had gained the Lambeth Diploma with Distinction.

The Archbishop of Canterbury enjoys the right to grant such degrees by an Act of Parliament of 1533 which gave Archbishop Cranmer the right to grant dispensations previously granted by the Pope. The first M.A. by thesis was awarded in 1993. The twentieth is to be awarded this year to:

The Reverend Eric Bramhall

Title of Thesis:   John Bradford c1510 -1555 Preacher, Theologian and Pastor.

Mr Bramhall read History at Cambridge in the 1950s and is returning to it in his retirement.

His last appointment was as Vicar of All Saints, Childwall in the Diocese of Liverpool, 1992-2004, during which time he was also a member of the General Synod and chairman of the House of Clergy in the diocese.

New Research Degrees

Last year the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, announced a new higher degree programme as an expansion of the Archbishop's Examination in Theology.  Applications for PhD and MPhil degrees in Theology are now being accepted with the first awards of the new MPhil degrees anticipated in 2012 and Doctorates shortly afterwards.  Candidates will be examined to university standards in order to qualify.  The scheme will be open to suitably qualified candidates and has been developed with Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) requirements and general university standards in mind, and in a form which provides easy access for students.

Dr Williams said that improving access to higher degree education was a crucial step for the development of the Church's theological resources:

"We have never had a greater need or a greater chance to extend the opportunity of higher degree theological education to those who might benefit from it. I'm confident that this scheme can go some way to overcome the barriers of cost, competition and access which stop good candidates being able to pursue this kind of detailed study.  The Church as a whole has always needed and encouraged the study of theology at its deepest level and this scheme seeks to extend that possibility to those who otherwise wouldn't be able to take advantage of it."

There will be no changes to the Lambeth Diploma programme.

Application packs can be obtained from the Administration Office email:

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