Sherburn House Charity

0191 372 2551 (Administration) | 0191 372 0421 (Care Home)

About - Staff Vacancies

Chaplain Vacancy - St John’s College, Durham and Sherburn House

An exciting opportunity to work as an ordained Chaplain within the contexts of both a leading university and a place of residential care and sheltered housing in the north-east of England.


Chaplain of St John’s College, Durham and Sherburn House Charity



This innovative post offers the opportunity for creative and pioneering chaplaincy within and between two distinct contexts: a university college and a centre for supported elderly living.  Both St John’s College and Sherburn House are places with a clear vision for development and growth in the area of chaplaincy and spiritual support, and both contexts are excited by the possibility for connections to grow between students and older people, leading to a mutual improvement in spiritual and emotional well-being.



There is growing interest in the potential of intergenerational living and supportive relationships.  The example of Humanitas Deventer, a care home in the Netherlands where students can live for free in return for 30 hours ‘community living’, has attracted worldwide interest.  The increased focus in the university sector on student mental health and wellbeing, together with the value of wider community engagement, is coupled with a recognition in the elderly care sector of the importance of relationships beyond institutional boundaries. 


St John’s College and Sherburn House are historic institutions committed to the spiritual and emotional wellbeing of all those in their community.  The appointment of a joint Chaplain offers a unique opportunity for pioneering ministry within and between both communities; there is the potential for students to be part of the life of Sherburn House via visits and activities, and also for residents of Sherburn House to share their experience, wisdom and insights with those earlier on in life.


While the exact nature of the role and relationship would be established during the early phase of this joint post, we are positive about the potential of this role and the opportunities it brings for a fruitful ministry.


St John’s College

Founded in 1909 as an evangelical Anglican foundation, St John’s College is a recognised college of Durham University and has over the years pursued a two-fold vision: to offer training for church leaders within a world-class university while also offering Christian hospitality to students from a wide range of academic disciplines at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  There are currently over 700 students who are part of St John’s College, across two halls – John’s Hall (undergraduate and postgraduate) and Cranmer Hall (theological college).  St John’s College is led by the Principal, the Revd Professor David Wilkinson, and is currently engaged in exciting development plans involving the construction of a £3.5m new Learning Resource Centre offering state-of-the-art teaching, learning and research space for students across the whole college.


St John’s College has a reputation for being small, friendly, fun and positive; it is a Christian foundation but welcomes students of all faiths and belief.  The Chaplain is to engage actively and positively with all in a community which has the breadth in personal, intellectual, social and spiritual perspectives that is to be welcomed in a university context. This involves listening, praying, making space and providing pastoral care for those who need such provision.  The Chaplain supports the welfare team within College and attends the weekly meeting of the Senior Tutor and resident tutors, advising on matters of faith and spirituality and offering other support as necessary.


The Chaplain has a key role offering spiritual and emotional support across the whole staff and student body, with a particular focus on the life of John’s Hall.  S/he oversees the main weekly act of worship – the College Communion – which takes place on Tuesday evenings in term-time.  S/he works with the Warden of Cranmer Hall to oversee the work and life of the chapel and has particular responsibility for supporting and developing the work of the Chapel Choir.  The Chaplain manages the Choir Director is the main point of reference for the Choir (including awarding of Choral and Choir Director scholarships).  The Chaplain has a lead role in fostering vocations among the student and staff body; in the past this has taken the form of leading a vocations group.


For more information please see the St John’s College and Cranmer Hall websites



Sherburn House

Sherburn House dates back to around 1181 and was originally a leper hospital.  Still on the original site, it is now offers residential care and supported housing to those living in, or from, the north-east.  It is currently undertaking an ambitious and exciting redevelopment programme, investing over £5m in upgrading its buildings to enable it to offer the highest possible standards in care and supported living.  Located on a beautiful five-acre site just three miles east of Durham, Sherburn House is an outstanding context in which older people can experience a caring and supportive community.


Since its inception spiritual care has been at the heart of Sherburn House’s work.  The Chapel, which dates back to the twelfth century and is located right at the heart of the community, offers regular worship (Sundays and Wednesdays) for the residents of Sherburn House and their guests.  The Chaplain plays an important role in the life of the community, offering pastoral and spiritual support to residents and staff


Running alongside the physical upgrade of the site, the Trustees have requested that the Chief Executive, Pauline Bishop, and her senior team, develop further the work of Sherburn House through increased community engagement and pastoral support.  The new Chaplain will play a key role in this work and will need to go beyond existing models of pastoral and spiritual care to engage proactively with the whole community and strengthen a sense of cohesion and identity, as well as making spiritual support accessible to all.


For more information please see the Sherburn House website


Person Specification

The person appointed to this post will be a priest in Anglican orders and will have the following qualities




Excellent interpersonal, organisational and communication skills

Experience of working in a university sector

Proven ability to relate well to a wide age range: students, adult staff, older people

Experience of work with older people

Demonstrable passion for, and skills in, chaplaincy provision and its potential for mission

Postgraduate qualification

Vision to realise the potential in this new opportunity for intergenerational chaplaincy

Ongoing scholarly or academic interest relevant to university or older people’s community

Demonstrable capacity to develop and implement successfully new ways of ministry

Willingness to contribute to a further area of community life, such a music, arts or drama

An exceptional level of self-awareness and ability to serve in a collaborative and resilient manner, showing flexibility where required


Commitment to proactive presence and engagement within community life


Capacity to understand the specific dynamics of a university college and a supported living environment


Excellent pastoral sensitivity and wisdom


Experience of working with people with significant mental and/or physical disabilities


Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team



Salary and Benefits

The post is being offered on a full-time basis, for three years in the first instance, renewable for a further two years.  There will be a 50/50 split between the two areas of ministry, and exact details (which may well vary outside term-time) will be discussed and agreed with the successful applicant. 


The appointee must work within the policies and procedures both of Sherburn House and St John’s College and will be managed by the Principal of St John’s College and the senior management of Sherburn House. 


The stipend offered will be that of an incumbent in Durham Diocese, currently £25,590 and relevant expenses (including travel from Sherburn House to College and expenses incurred in the course of carrying out College duties) will be reimbursed.


Accommodation (a 2-bedroomed flat) is available at Sherburn House.  Living in or close to Sherburn House is desirable.  In the event that the appointee does not wish to accept this accommodation they may be eligible for a housing allowance.



Collegiate meals are provided free of charge in the St John’s College communal dining rooms in term-time and during periods of ‘vacation residence’ (subject to availability) for the better performance of college duties.  A spouse and dependent children are included in this provision when accompanying the post-holder.  Meals are not provided at Sherburn House.



Working hours are flexible to meet the requirements of both organisations.  During term time there is an expectation that more time may be required in College.  In vacations (including Christmas and Easter periods) the post holder will be required to provide services to Sherburn House.  The post is nominally 35 hours per week including evenings and weekends as required.


Probationary period
The post is subject to a 6 month probationary period. 


Annual leave

The post holder is entitled to 27 days annual leave plus statutory holidays in addition to University statutory holidays and customary holidays (or days in lieu of those, which fall in term-time).


DBS Disclosure

Enhanced DBS declarations are required for both organisations at the time of taking up the post.


Date of Appointment and Tenure of Office:  January 1st 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter


Applications should be by letter or by email with accompanying CV and should contain the names, addresses, email details and telephone numbers of three referees.


All documents should be posted or emailed to:


The Principal

St John’s College,

3 South Bailey




For an informal conversation, please speak to the Principal at St John’s College tel 0191 3343895 email



Volunteering Opportunities

Are you looking for a way to help and give something back, to support the older people in your community? Are you interested in sharing a little of your time, energy and experiences to make a difference and put a smile on someone else's face? By giving just a little of your time, you can really help someone to get the best out of life.
We are looking for volunteers to help within our residential care home Beddell House, preferably on a long term basis. There are so many ways you can contribute such as helping with activities, organising interest groups, assisting at mealtimes, reading to residents and more. We'll help you to find the right opportunity to suit your own interests and time commitments.
We are looking for someone who is enthusiastic, kind, caring and compassionate, interested in befriending older people and sharing mutual interests. We are passionate about our residents and welcome any ideas or suggestions to make every day a special day.  If you would like to help make someone smile we would encourage you to get involved by contacting us on 0191 372 2551 or by downloading an application pack.

Volunteering is subject to two references and an enhanced DBS check.


Our Mission Vision & Core Values 

Our mission is to provide relief in need to people living in the beneficial area through the provision of care, housing and grant funding.


Our vision is to improve quality of life for all vulnerable people.


Our core values integrity, quality, care, dignity and respect.


These values will run through everything we do.