Community life


Training within an intentional learning community can provide you with a deepened, more holistic time of preparation for the challenges and pressures of a lifetime of service to the church.

Your time at Trinity can give you the opportunity to practice the values of Christ’s kingdom, to practice serving God and others within a framework of community. That’s not an easy task, but we invite you to join us in it—come and get stuck into a community seeking to bear witness to Christ’s coming kingdom.

Meet our Student Exec

Our Student Exec are here to advocate for, build, and continually improve both the student experience and community life at college.

The Exec also represent the student voice to staff, faculty, and the trustees, enabling good communication among the different parts of the community and giving everyone a chance to participate in and shape college life.

Partners and children at Trinity

Our students’ partners and children are a valued part of the Trinity community, and we offer many different opportunities for families to experience and enjoy college life together.

Primarily, Connect is a community of people, and our purpose is threefold:

  • To provide opportunities for fellowship for partners of those in full-time study at Trinity College.
  • To provide support to one another, sharing our lives together and seeking God’s transformation in our lives.
  • To be a means by which our members can be equipped for their future ministry, and develop their own unique callings.

Our heart is to be a place where God can prepare us for life after Trinity.

The Connect Week

There is plenty to dip into over the course of the week at Connect. You are welcome to come along to as much or as little as you like!

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, we are operating a little differently from normal, however, every Monday morning, we meet in the Trinity Chapel to worship, study the Bible and pray together. This is also a great time to socialise together and catch up on any great local discoveries you’ve made!

We have various home groups that meet weekly either online or in person, which seek to provide deeper relationships with other spouses.

We encourage all Connect members to find themselves a couple of people with whom they can form a prayer triplet/quad. We believe that they can be a valuable place for sharing your life more deeply with a couple of other members of the Connect community. They provide a safe space to share and pray with each other on a regular basis. We hope that triplets begin to form in the first couple of months of college, although the exec is more than happy to support you in finding a group.

In addition, Connect runs ‘Tea & Tots’ on campus – a stay & playgroup for Connect spouses and pre-schoolers.

We run various events throughout the year, some for just spouses, some for students and their spouses, and some for children. Events we’ve run recently include movie nights, pub trips, scavenger hunts, park/beach trips and kids-free brunch.

How is Connect run?

Connect has an Exec which seeks to support all of its members. The current Connect Exec for 2021-22 are:

Steve Miller (President), Emma Wingrove (Vice President), Danny Brothers (Treasurer), Ally Fitter (Couples Ambassador), Lucy Gowers (Parents Ambassador) and Dave Bush (Spirituality Ambassador). Watch the video below to get to know them and hear what their roles involve.

Connect can only operate with the help of all its members! There will be many opportunities to get involved in the running of Connect over the coming year with a range of tasks. This may be setting up a room for a meeting, giving someone a lift to an event, baking a cake, bringing snacks for children, running PA for worship, helping organise a social, tidying up at the end of a meeting, running a children’s activity, helping to plan our programme of talks each term, helping to run a homegroup, leading worship, helping with prayers… the list goes on! There will be something for everyone, so we look forward to you getting involved! We have found in the past that the more you put into Connect, the more you get out of it.

If you’d like to find out more about Connect (as well as loads of helpful information about transitioning into life at Trinity) you can download the latest Connect Handbook here.

Connect also has a very active private Facebook group and Whatsapp chat for general support, socialising ideas, and local information and advice. You can also email the Connect Exec at connect@trinitycollegebristol.ac.uk.

Meals and worship with students

The daily chapel and weekly Communion services are open to spouses and once a term a student leadership team runs the all-age Light Experiment specifically designed to engage your whole family. Spouses and children are always welcome at mealtimes too, for only a small cost, and we have plenty of high chairs and child-friendly plates and cutlery (please note, this may be dependent upon COVID restrictions).

Further education for spouses

We welcome all student spouses to take advantage of their time at Trinity and audit classes for free (which means you would come to the lectures without having to do any of the assessments). If you are really keen and want to take classes for credit, anyone whose spouse is studying full time is eligible for a 50 percent reduction on fees for many of our programmes, whether you do a few modules or actually enrol on an accredited course.

On-site day nursery

We have our own Ofsted-registered day nursery on campus which, as well as serving the families of Trinity students, is open to the public, so it offers a great chance to get to know other families in the local area. Muddy Boots Day Nursery offers care between 8.00 am – 6 pm, and the children of full-time Trinity students are able to attend for a significantly subsidised fee.

Spiritual formation

We approach your spiritual formation just as intentionally as we do your placement and academic study. We want to walk alongside you in your journey to become more like Jesus Christ, to help you bear witness to his kingdom in all you do, and this happens daily at Trinity within the context of community life.

Times of worship >

Quiet times, personal reflection, and retreats > 

Tutor groups and prayer triplets >

Tutor groups

Our residential community meets weekly for formation in a tutor group of about eight to ten people, often the students with whom you serve in your context church, and a college tutor.

These groups meet for two hours every Wednesday, dividing their time between worship and prayer, theological reflections, serving the wider community in practical ways, and building friendships together.

Read more about spiritual formation at Trinity >

Meet our chaplains

Our chaplains offer a listening, impartial ear, as well as a willingness to pray with and for those within our community, whether you are wrestling with personal issues, or just needing a space to vent.

Read more about our chaplains >

BAME student group

If you identify as BAME (Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic) you are welcomed to join our student-led Trinity BAME group, which meets every 3-4 weeks for lunch, plans occasional socials, and shares ideas, resources, and articles through a What’s App group. The group has four main goals:

 

1. Prepare
Firstly, this group helps prepare us for life after college. Sometimes in ministry, ethnicity may be a factor in how colleagues and congregations respond to us. Whether we like it or not, our ethnicity may matter. This is a group where we can discuss what that’s like, work through some of our struggles, and address these issues as formational issues.

 

2. Develop Our Calling
Secondly, this group seeks to encourage us in our calling. We are all training to be church leaders or priests, and part of that calling is to represent people. When you are in ministry there will be people who will identify with you simply because of the way you look. This presents a unique opportunity for mission, and in this group we will explore what that means in terms of our calling.

 

3. Broaden Our Reading
Thirdly, we’ll have a chance to broaden our theology. Often our thinking, spirituality, and practices are influenced by Western Christianity and culture. In this group, we share articles and resources by BAME scholars, which will sharpen our critical thinking and give an edge to our theological reflections and assignments. It is important for us to find our voices and to be theologically informed as we speak into contemporary issues.

 

4. Support / Networking
Finally, this group is a place of ongoing support, where friendships made at Trinity can continue into ministry. We’ve also struck up a dialogue with the BAME society at Bristol University and the Alternative Asians Association. As a group, we might attend some of their events and join in their conversations, hopefully bringing with us a Christian perspective.

Having fun

Some of the best moments of spiritual formation and theological questioning happen when you’re not in the classroom but just enjoying the company of others on a similar journey to yours.

One of the main forums for that is the chance to have lunch together as a community every week day, the cost of which is included in full-time student fees. There are also regular socials throughout the year, giving you a chance to see how well your fellow students dance, how skilled they are at roasting marshmallows over a bonfire, and how useful they can be in a pub quiz team.

We have a football team, the Trinity Tigers, and a rugby team, the Trinity Wolves, both of whom welcome new players (including both students and student spouses). Or for days when you can’t face the great outdoors you can always take a break from studying in our games room, which has table football, darts, ping pong, and a full-size snooker table.

Accommodation

We know that where and how you make your home has a big impact on what you’re able to gain from and give to the community during your time here, and that’s especially true for those relocating to Bristol to study with us.

We help the students moving to join into our residential community to find housing near Trinity or the parish where you’ll be doing context training during college. If you’re bringing a family with you we can help you think about local schools. If you have a specific part of Bristol you’re already connected to or want to engage with we’ll do our best to explore all the possible local living options.

We can house up to 45 people in our on-site Carter building. In an average year, a close-knit community of between 25 and 30 single and weekly commuter students live in Carter, as well as two other nearby houses. The Carter building offers a separate keycode for residents to ensure privacy, its own large kitchen with adjacent dining area for Carter students’ breakfasts and suppers when desired, and kitchenettes on every corridor with a sink, kettle, and toaster. Lunches are shared with the larger Trinity community in the main dining hall. Read what our Carter reps have put together about life in Carter >

For our students who are married and those with families, Trinity owns or leases many properties that are mostly within a 3-mile radius of college, and we can also help direct you to agencies for private rentals. We recognise that your housing will impact your time at college, and we will prayerfully pursue with you what could be the best fit during your time here.

We would love to talk more with you about which of our accommodation options would suit you best, so feel free to ask us about it at an Open Day or just contact our admissions team to find out more.

Living in Bristol

Bristol is a lively city with a good network of buses, plenty of parks and open spaces, great shops, interesting art galleries and museums, lots of theatres and live music venues, a beautiful cathedral and more good restaurants than anyone on a student budget will ever be able to get through!the-downs-bristol

Given Bristol’s proximity to the Welsh border you can imagine that we get our fair share of rainy days; however, when the rain stops you’ll find we’re wonderfully close to Bath, Wells, the Somerset and Devon coasts, the Wye Valley, the Forest of Dean, Oxford and the Cotswolds and, of course, the well-watered lushness of south Wales itself. You’ll also find Bristol to be a very family-friendly city, with the  We the Curious Science Centre, Bristol Aquarium, Bristol Zoo, free museums like the MShed and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery (your children will love the fossils and rock collection), and the annual hot-air balloon fiesta and kite festival.

Trinity is situated in a quiet residential area, with easy access to the city centre but nicely removed from its busyness by being set within the nine acres of its grounds. We’re also very close to the Clifton Downs, a large grassy and wooded area ideal for walking or running, from which you can see the Avon Gorge and the famed architecture of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Student allotments

At the start of the last academic year, seven students and Trinity Site Manager Dave Snell began work to reclaim an unused patch of land behind Henry Martyn House at Trinity.

They created sixteen allotments that could be used by students, who perhaps didn’t have space to garden near their flats or homes, or who had never grown anything before and wanted to give it a try.

Part of the joy of this has been seeing it begin from scratch—standing there last October and looking at brambles that were almost taller than me,’ says ordinand Ruth Phillips (pictured below, right). With Dave’s tools and help, the group dug up the ground and created beds.

We just dabbled, really,’ says ordinand Jon Ball, who led the initiative through his participation in the Student Exec’s Green Team. Students have tried growing runner beans, courgettes, tomato, corn, carrots, and potatoes so far. ‘Most of us went for the approach of just putting things into the ground and seeing what happened.’

Jon hoped through this initiative that students could garden together as a form of spiritual discipline, experiencing something of what it means to be reliant on the earth and its seasons. ‘In the last month or so we are getting results,’ he says. ‘It was a year’s worth of work for a courgette. It’s really rewarding, but an eye-opener to how long it actually takes things to develop. It’s a challenge to our consumer mindset.’

In addition to the new allotments, the Green Team worked last year to ensure that everyone at college brought only reusable cups for coffee breaks, and collected students’ views about the college’s food and site use to share as Trinity’s leadership works to make systemic eco-friendly changes.

This academic year, new students have joined in caring for the allotments, and a new plot will be given to Trinity’s Muddy Boots Day Nursery for the children to spend time gardening as well. ‘A community has sprung up around the garden,’ says Ruth. ‘We water and help watch and weed each others’ plants.’

As she worked in the allotments throughout the year—helping to clear brambles, plant seeds, weed, prune, and finally see fruit—Ruth felt God speaking to her about her own life. ‘I could feel God talking to me about what needed healing and pruning in my life. And as I saw stuff growing, God was talking about new growth in my life. We’re so disconnected from the land, but it’s part of who we are, as creation, to be connected to the earth. Gardening became part of the rhythm of my life at college, the place I would go to meet with God.’

Posted November 2019

Beekeeping at Trinity

A new student club has formed to learn beekeeping skills whilst at college.

A new colony of bees has been safely installed at college by ordinand Rob McDonald. A trained beekeeper, Rob is leading a new student club, the ‘Bee-Attitudes’. While college has played host to bees for a number of years, this is the first time Trinity has a college-owned and college-operated hive. Ten students, staff, and spouses completed an online beekeeping course run by Rob over the summer and are now getting socially distanced, practical experience working with the hive. A small crop of honey has been harvested with the majority left to get the bees through the winter. Another cohort of trainee beekeepers will be taken through the online course this autumn, ready to help in the spring. The goal is to create a self-sustaining community of beekeepers at Trinity who can then take their knowledge and enthusiasm with them as they follow God’s call around the country.

Beekeeper and Trinity ordinand Rob McDonald

Beekeeper and Trinity ordinand Rob McDonald

Posted October 2020

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