University Sermons in the University Church of St Mary the Great
As with many other Cambridge institutions and customs 'Sermons before the University' (to give them their proper title) have a very long history but have been greatly adapted with the passing of time, as circumstances have changed. Today these sermons are given by distinguished clergy and lay people from different denominations.
The practice of Sermons in the University Church dates back to at least the year 1300 and was recognised in the earliest University statutes. Then, and for many years afterwards, there were many more Sermons than there are today. It was not until the latter part of the twentieth century that Sermons ceased to be delivered weekly during Term. There are now six Sermons each year.
All sermons are at 11.15am. Members of the University who wish to attend are required to wear academical dress. All members of the congregation are invited to join the preacher for a glass of wine and discussion after each sermon at the Michaelhouse Centre, Trinity Street.
Michaelmas Term 2007
The Venerable Sheila Watson, Archdeacon of Buckingham.
The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Dr Richard Chartres, of Trinity College, Lord Bishop of London. (Lady Margaret's Preacher)
Lent Term 2008
The Right Reverend Dr John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
Professor John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, University of St Andrews (Hulsean Sermon)
Easter Term 2008
The Reverend Fleur Houston, of Fitzwilliam College, Minister of the United Reformed Church, Church of the Holy Family, Blackbird Leys, Oxford
The Reverend Dr Stephen Orchard, of St Edmund's College, Principal of Westminster College, Cambridge (Ramsden Sermon)
Transcripts of some past University Sermons may be found on the Great St Mary's website.