A farewell to Dr Justin Stratis
This spring is the last one Trinity will have to explore the Stratisphere, linking Bonhoeffer to 80’s action hero MacGyver while trying to figure out who makes the best chicken wings.
After 9 years with us, our much-loved Dr Justin Stratis, Director of Postgraduate Research and Tutor in Christian Doctrine, moves to Canada this summer to join Wycliffe College in Toronto as their new Professor of Theology. The role, in Justin’s words, is a “perfect fit” where he will continue to teach Anglican ordinands and train ministers for the church, something he has always felt called to do. He will continue to supervise his doctoral students and is looking forward to working within a new multi-denominational context.
They prayed about this as a family and Justin was prepared to give them veto power over the decision but he said it was miraculous that the whole family was on board. He was also keen to say that the hardest part of all this was “leaving their home.” Bristol has been the place they have lived the longest and their roots and relationships here run deep. As a family they are excited to start this new adventure in a country they’ve never visited before.
“Working with Trinity students has been the thrill of a lifetime”
He leaves us well and hopes that Trinity will continue to flourish.
Although he’s betraying us for Canada, Justin is wonderful. All of the “Stratisphere” know he’s the tutor you want to see you through Trinity. The levels of banter are off the scale but he’ll have your back and although he just claims ‘I’m paid to care,’ we have a sneaking suspicion he really does. Most will have experienced the joy and bewilderment about being confused over what you even believe any more in his doctrine lectures but they’re not dull.
There are not many lectures who can work both Miley Cyrus and rap into classes to aid the teaching of doctrine (Miley’s just being Miley…God’s just being God). Nor are there many who have a Bishop’s palace in their Just Eat delivery history, DJ at parties well, and ensure the bulk of Pastoral Group socials take place at the pub
Gosh, we will really miss him…
Ruth Phillips, Ordinand
My first experience of Justin was with a wig at an open day. Where it seemed that his moto was ‘theology is cool’. Sadly due to lockdown many of us haven’t managed to get to know Justin as much as we would have liked to, however it is hard to miss the impact Justin has had on the college. I think I speak for a lot of people that his love for making theological study accessible for students, as well as challenging and aiding student to think deeper about their own beliefs, is an asset to Justin’s teaching. His pastoral heart, love for hip hop and just being a general rebel will be missed greatly. On behalf on all the students thank you for everything you have given to college Justin and we will continue to pray for you as you take up your new post.
Will Gowers, Student Exec President
Justin leaves a huge gap at Trinity. We’ll miss his teaching, of course, and his leadership of our vibrant PhD programme. But what many won’t know is the hidden impact he’s had in his nine years at Trinity. He brought profound theological expertise to many important strategic questions, challenging us all to think deeply about the life and future of the college he loved. He gave his all to this place, and fully expected to stay until he retired. He shared a passion for theological education that is heartfelt and infectious. He was instrumental in hiring an amazing tutor of New Testament.
I will miss having him nearby as a friend and comrade. I’ll miss him rating my sermons (though I’ll always have that one time I got an 8). I’ll miss dropping by his office when I’m struggling with a theological question (or just struggling). He taught me a lot, challenging me to read widely, and diversely, and to think more deeply about God and all things in relation to him. He made me better. And that is, after all, what a teacher does. I’m also annoyed that from now on I have to buy my own chicken wings.
Dr Jamie Davies, Tutor in New Testament & Tutor for Independent Students
Since he took over the postgraduate research programme, Justin has built it into a thriving, lively community. The research conference has become an annual highlight. He has shaped it as a supportive environment for emerging scholars to cut their teeth, further enhanced by the high-profile visiting scholars he has managed to bag for it. His familiarity with each student and their personal circumstances speaks volumes for his careful and prayerful oversight. He is held in very high regard by the faculty and students of both colleges and will be missed enormously.
Revd Helen Paynter PhD, Tutor in Biblical Studies and Coordinator of Theological Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence, Bristol Baptist College.
Justin is an outstandingly learned theologian and exceptional teacher who has also been a devoted pastoral tutor to generations of students. In the short time I have been at Trinity I have loved attending the Systematic Theology seminars deftly chaired by Justin at which I have continued to be stretched and enriched in my own theological thinking. The Trinity College and Bristol Baptist College postgraduate research programme has thrived under his leadership, as this video demonstrates. Although we will miss Justin sorely, we are delighted that he has the opportunity to serve in such a prestigious institution where he will continue to form future Anglican clergy and we wish him and his family every blessing for the future.
Revd Dr Sean Doherty, Principal, Trinity College Bristol