Sanctuary at Mansfield: Announcing the Lutheran Council Scholarship

The Council of Lutheran Churches (CLC) is honoured to be supporting Mansfield College, Oxford University, through the funding of a new scholarship. From October 2021, Mansfield will offer a fully funded graduate scholarship for an outstanding scholar who has been forced to migrate from their home and has sought sanctuary in the UK.

According to the UNHCR, while half of refugees worldwide are under the age of 18, only about 3% enter higher education and funding is a major barrier. This Scholarship will cover living costs and, in partnership with the University of Oxford, all fees.

Mansfield College was founded to welcome students to Oxford University who were traditionally excluded from higher education. The College is home to the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and continues to work towards creating a learning environment which holds the principles of human dignity and equality at its core.

The CLC is a communion of churches coming together to support the Lutheran presence in the United Kingdom, and in ecumenical and interfaith initiatives. Its membership includes congregations from nine European churches and the homegrown, Lutheran Church in Great Britain (of which Mansfield’s current Chaplain is a member). The CLC was founded by communities of refugees and immigrants coming together after both World Wars, to build places of sanctuary and stability as strangers in a new country.

We are delighted that through our shared commitment to supporting refugees, we have re-established our historic partnership with Mansfield. From the mid-1950 to the 1990s, Lutheran pastors were trained at Mansfield through a tutorship established by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in co-operation with the CLC. And even earlier, there were strong links between Mansfield College and members of the German Confessing Church, supporting German refugees in Oxford in the 1930s.

This new Scholarship is part of an initiative by Mansfield, working with Somerville College, to engage more closely with people seeking asylum in the United Kingdom. Both Colleges are applying for University Colleges of Sanctuary status. This scheme, which grew from the City of Sanctuary movement, aims at providing the most welcoming and accessible environment possible for refugees and asylum seekers.

Through a varied programme of activities both student-led and College-supported, Mansfield College seeks to ensure members of its community learn what it means to be seeking sanctuary, while also celebrating sanctuary seekers’ contributions to society.

“This scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for the Council of Lutheran Churches to reconnect with Mansfield College, but even more wonderful is this opportunity to support a cause very close to our own hearts and history – supporting those seeking sanctuary.”

The Rt Revd B Jørgensen, Chair, Council of Lutheran Churches


“Mansfield College takes welcoming, supporting and engaging with refugees and other forced migrants seriously. The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, housed on our site, is conducting research on issues of modern slavery, and the College regularly hosts and supports workshops, events and activities designed to welcome and support refugees.

I am delighted that our community was universally so supportive of offering a refugee scholar the opportunity to study at Mansfield, and that Mansfield and Somerville Colleges are working together to apply for College of Sanctuary status.” 

Helen Mountfield QC, Principal, Mansfield College

Image courtesy of Mansfield College: Greg Smolonski © Photovibe