Who is David Hilborn?
The Revd. Dr. David Hilborn is the Principal of Moorlands College. Prior to taking up this role in January 2019, he had served as Head of Theology at the Evangelical Alliance, and Assistant Dean of St Mellitus College, and Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham.
Where it all began...
David does not come from a churchgoing home. He recalls his mother reading him a children’s book on Jesus’s parables when he was a child, and his aunt Nellie gave him a Bible when he was four, which he still has. Otherwise, Christianity was not prominent in his life until some school friends persuaded him to go to Sunday School at his local Congregational Church in West Wickham, Kent. Later, aged 15, youth group leaders at the same church, and a local OM mission team, were instrumental in his making a clear commitment to Christ.
David went on to read English and Linguistics at Nottingham University, where he was active in the Christian Union and presented a gospel music show on the campus radio station. He did youth work in inner city London and trained for ordination in the United Reformed Church, gaining an MA in Theology at Mansfield College, Oxford.
He then led two United Reformed Church (URC) congregations before completing a doctorate on the language of worship back at Nottingham University under Canon Prof. Anthony Thiselton (pictured left), who is now Emeritus Professor of Christian Theology at the University of Nottingham and the University of Chester. 1
The Evangelical Alliance:
After a third ministry post in the URC, David was appointed Head of Theology at the Evangelical Alliance (EA) and served in that role from 1997-2006. He continues a close association with the EA to to this day, as a Board Member and Trustee. Plus, he chairs the Alliance’s Theological Advisory Group. 2
In 2001 David collaborated with the Baptist theologian Ian M Randall to co-author the official history of the EA, called 'One Body in Christ: The History and Significance of the Evangelical Alliance' (Paternoster Press, 2001).
At the same time, he was made an Associate Research Fellow of the London School of Theology. During this period he developed a wider ministry that included speaking at Spring Harvest and other major Christian festivals and conferences.
A Calling to the Church of England:
David joined the Church of England in 2002 and was an assistant minister in two London parishes, during which time was appointed to lead the North Thames Ministerial Training Course, one of the partners in what would become St Mellitus College.
St Mellitus College:
In 2006 David became the Assistant Dean at St Mellitus College, London. There he played a formative role in the colleges foundation in 2007, and then its continuing development until 2012 when he moved back up to Nottingham. Interestingly, St Mellitus College is named after one of the least known but most significant figures in the establishment of the church in London and Essex. In AD604 Mellitus was made the first bishop of London, which then was small but growing city. His jurisdiction also covered the land to the east, what we now know as Essex. Mellitus was later to be appointed as the third Archbishop of Canterbury. 3
St John’s College, Nottingham:
From 2012 until late 2018 David served as Principal at St John's College, Nottingham. The college is an Anglican and interdenominational theological college situated in Bramcote, about five miles west of Nottingham. With its core values rooted in equipping Christians for mission in the world of change 4 it has trained 1000's of students for mission over the last 150 years. St John's has had many notable alumni including: Michael Green (theologian and evangelist), John Goldingay (Bible scholar), Kate Bottley (Journalist, Presenter and Broadcaster) and Canon J.John (evangelist and leader of the Philo Trust | JustOne - image right) 5
In addition to his duties at St John’s, David served on the ministry team of St Luke’s, Gamston and on the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission.
David was appointed as Principal of Moorlands in January 2019, which coincided with his being asked to chair the Association of Bible College Principals. David succeeded Revd. Dr. Steve Brady, who returned to pastoral ministry after 20 years at the helm of Moorlands. David is only the fourth Principal in the college's history. At the time of his appointment he said:
“It is a wonderful privilege to be succeeding my good friend and brother in Christ, Steve Brady, as Principal of Moorlands... My profound prayer is that by God’s grace I will be able to build on his legacy while fulfilling Moorlands’ aim of securing its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers and extending its national and international reach.” 6
And there's more!
David also serves on the joint Anglican-Pentecostal Theological Steering Group. He is a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies and the Society for the Study of Theology. He continues to write and edit books and has published on themes related to Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity, as well as more generally on theology, society and culture including: God and the Generations: Youth, Age and the Church Today (with Matt Bird), Movement for Change: Evangelicals and Social Transformation (both Paternoster) and The Atonement Debate (with Derek Tidball and Justin Thacker - Zondervan Press).
David’s wife, Mia, is a senior hospital chaplain. They have two grown-up children: Matthew (26) is completing a PhD in Spanish studies at Durham University and Alice (24), has just moved from Medical Communications management to study for a Masters in Public Health Policy at King’s College, London.
David greatly enjoys cricket, and, with Mia, takes in various folk and roots music festivals each year. He also loves New York City.
(from and interview with Wessex Filling Station's Brian Edgeley.)
- Canon Prof. Anthony Thiselton. See: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/development-and-alumni-relations-office/your-community/meet-our-alumni/honorary-graduates-2019-5
- Evangelical Alliance Board members and Trustees. See: https://www.eauk.org/about-us/who-we-are/board
- St Mellitus College: for the college history and story of Mellitus see - https://www.stmellitus.ac.uk/about-us/our-history
- St John College Nottingham. For more information on their Vision and core values see: https://stjohns-nottm.ac.uk/about-stjohns/vision-and-values/
- St John's College Notable Alumni. See: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_John%27s_College,_Nottingham
- Moorlands College - Meet our new Principal. To read more about David Hilborn and Moorlands College see: https://www.moorlands.ac.uk/2018/10/12/new-princip...