Introducing the Exec 1: Ben (President)

What is your name?
Ben Somervell.
Photo of Me at Chad's 2
What is your Executive Position?
Which year are you in?
Second year.
Which College are you based at?
St Chad’s College.
What is the name of your course?
Theology and Religion.
What are your specific areas of interest within your course?
The Calvinism-Arminianism debate, the Song of Songs, Old Testament Studies, Systematic Christian Theology, said liturgy and preaching.
Where is home for you and what is the name of your home church?
A small, historic market town called Ormskirk in West Lancashire in the North West of England. My home church is the Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul, Ormskirk which is the only church in England to have both a tower and a spire at the same end.
If applicable, which denomination or none do you belong to and, again if applicable, which tradition or none within that denomination?
I am a regular and actual communicant of the Church of England and choose to describe myself as a central Anglican Christian. This means that I am the “via media” (middle way as Cardinal John Henry Newman termed it) between Anglo-Catholicism (“High Church”) and charismatic/conservative evangelicalism (“Low Church”). So I personally like services and Churches with stained glass windows, hymns, an organ, a choir, said liturgy from Common Worship and medium-length sermons.
What is your favourite Church service in Durham?
College Communion at Leach Hall in St John’s College at 7pm on Tuesday evenings in term time. It has a brilliant mixture and balance of formality (Choir Dress and the said liturgy of Common Worship) but combines this with some modern music but not too lively worship. The sermons are always excellent and concise and there are often distinguished guest preachers.
Who is your favourite unsung Christian theologian/thinker?
Herbert McCabe.
What is your favourite thing about Durham?
Its extraordinary beauty.
How did you first hear of DUECC?
I saw its 2017 relaunch lecture advertised on Facebook.
What do you most like about DUECC?
The people and the atmosphere that they create and develop. When I went on the 2018 Lindisfarne retreat, I encountered many very friendly, welcoming and accepting devout Christians who were also simultaneously highly intelligent and rationally curious. They were never eager to dodge ignore, or brush aside the important questions which have baffled theologians for centuries. Equally, they did not answer with platitudes or simple, inadequate easy answers. They attained the perfect midpoint. I had hitherto met hardly any such people.
What has been your favourite DUECC event?
The Lindisfarne retreat. Many lovely people went and the services, the music and the teaching were all excellent as was the beautiful, peaceful island of Lindisfarne which allowed one to stop, to withdraw from the business of the world and to relax, recuperate, think and pray.
What would you like to focus on in your role?
I would like to significantly increase our social media presence and to increase awareness of DUECC. I would also like to increase the frequency of both social and academic events and to increase the diversity of DUECC members.

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