We’re looking for a new secretary

 Helen Billam

We’re looking for a full-time project secretary to join us from January on a five-year, fixed term contract. This is a hybrid role based at St John’s College, Durham, with up to three days a week working from home.

Job title: Project Secretary

Responsible to: ECLAS Project Co-ordinator

Responsible for: Provision of secretarial support to ECLAS research project

Grade: Grade 4, St Johns College Graded Pay Scale

Salary range: £23,150 per annum.

Pension: St John’s College Group Personal Pension Plan

Contract type: Fixed term: 1st January 2023 – 31st December 2027

Working arrangements: 35 hours per week, working at St John’s College Durham, with the option of working up to three days per week from home.

Holidays: 27 days annual leave plus statutory holiday and Durham University customary days.

Closing date: 17:00 2nd December 2022

Interview date: 9th December 2022


About St John’s College

St John’s College is one of the smallest Durham colleges, renowned for our welcoming atmosphere. Founded in 1909 and set in a series of beautiful, listed buildings in the heart of Durham city, our community enjoys stunning views of Durham Cathedral and boasts gardens and lawns stretching down to the River Wear. Each year we have around 270 students resident in the College – undergraduates and postgraduates studying for degrees at Durham University, as well as students of Cranmer Hall, a theological College within St John’s. The College has a degree of independence within the University, both financially and in its governance, meaning that we have the freedom to do things a little differently. Throughout the year, the College’s Christian ethos translates into warm hospitality. All our different staff teams work closely together with our students to create the unique John’s experience.


Job summary and purpose

This project seeks to transform the quality and increase the level of serious engagement with science amongst Christians around the world, by focusing attention on the role of senior church leaders in shaping church leadership in an age of science.

We will target strategic leaders in conferences, provide training resources for a much larger number of trainee leaders, develop a range of flagship local engagement projects, and seed 4 hubs of science-engaged theology around the world. All of this will be underpinned by original research, which will itself be a significant contribution to public understanding of the relationship between religion and science.

This project will research the attitudes towards science of current strategic leaders both within the main denominations but also in new churches and parachurch movements and explore how their leadership and thinking shapes the assumptions, priorities, practice and theological beliefs of leaders and laity within their organizations. It then will provide an already trialed form of conference where strategic church leaders are brought into transformative dialogue with senior scientists and theologians, so that they can own science as a key partner of theology and thereby of the Church’s ministry.

This work includes continuing established “Senior Leadership Conference”, “Scientists in Congregations”, and “Science for Seminaries” award programmes, with both UK and international components. It also involves ongoing support of senior church leaders in their thinking, media work and preaching.

The central team to enable this project will be based in Durham working with the Revd Prof David Wilkinson and the Revd Dr Lucas Mix. Team members will also interact regularly with the other Principal Investigators: the Revd Dr Kathryn Pritchard and the Rt Revd Dr Richard Cheetham in London, and Dr Amanda Rees in York.

The secretary will work at St John’s College in Durham, with the option of working up to three days from home.


Key Responsibilities

  • To provide administrative support for the Durham-based Project Co-ordinator and Deputy Project Co-ordinator
  • Help with meetings by scheduling, drafting agendas, and taking minutes
  • Assist with budgets, planning, and correspondence related to Senior Leadership Conferences and Scientists in Congregations programmes
  • Archive records for the project including agendas and minutes, reports, budgets and other project documents
  • Liaise with St John’s Finance team to keep track of spending in real time
  • Track grant outcomes and outputs for reporting
  • Support other ECLAS team members in project activities as needed.


Person Specification

Essential criteria

  • Excellent English language skills, both written and oral
  • Excellent team-working and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently and exercise personal initiative
  • Good time management skills and ability to focus on the delivery of assigned tasks
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and Teams

Desirable criteria

  • Proficiency with Google Suite
  • Knowledge and understanding of church leadership structures and networks.


How to apply

The application should include:

  • Letter of application, indicating how you can fulfil the essential and desired criteria
  • Current CV
  • Names and contact details of two referees (including current or most recent line manager)

Applications and any informal enquiries should be submitted by email to

The deadline for applications is 17:00 2nd December 2022.

Interviews will be held in person at St John’s College, 3 South Bailey, Durham, DH1 3RJ on 9th December 2022.

Article By Helen Billam


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