Girton College Announces the Appointment of New Chaplain

Tim Boniface

Revd Dr Tim Boniface

Girton College is delighted to welcome Revd Dr Tim Boniface as Chaplain and Bye-Fellow from 1 September 2020. Tim comes to Girton from St Nicholas Church in Chislehurst, Kent, where he has served his title-post since 2016. He is no newcomer to Cambridge, however, having trained for ordination at Westcott House in 2012-16, serving the chapel community at Magdalene College, and worshipping with his family at St Paul’s Church on Hills Road, with whom he set up a community singing initiative that continues today.

Revd Dr Boniface has a BA in Theology from Exeter (2006), an MA in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from Nottingham (2012), and a PhD in Theology from Durham (2016). His doctoral thesis – which explored an account of the transcendence of Jesus through the works of Hans Frei and Dietrich Bonhoeffer – was published by Fortress Academic as Jesus, Transcendence and Generosity (2017).

It may not be a coincidence, given Girton’s renowned musical tradition, that Tim is not only a fine priest and respected theologian but also a professional jazz musician, who has, over 20 years, performed and recorded alongside many wonderful British and international jazz artists. Primarily a saxophonist and pianist (he is the saxophone tutor in the Jazz Department at Morley College, London) he can sometimes also be found on flugelhorn, guitar and more.

As well as playing in the mainstream jazz tradition, Tim has recently composed two jazz suites that explore the relationship between jazz improvisation and the reading of Biblical text. The Eight Words (2017) and The Infant: A Jazz Suite for Christmas (2019) are available on CD and digitally; live tours, mainly in church and cathedral spaces, have been enthusiastically received. Find out more on his website: https://www.timboniface.co.uk/recordings

As the role of Chaplain at Girton is part-time, the College is looking forward to seeing Tim’s musical ambitions flourish together with his ministry here.

Tim is married, with two daughters aged 7 and 9, and being a family friendly College, Girton looks forward to welcoming them too as the term unfolds. As a keen and long-suffering supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion FC, Tim will be well-placed to appreciate Girton’s competitive edge on some of the best on-site sports facilities in Cambridge.

The Mistress, Professor Susan J Smith, observed that “Revd Dr Boniface joins the College at a moment that is both joyful – as Girton opens a new chapter after an exhilarating 150th anniversary year – and challenging, as we approach a new term still under the shadow of the pandemic. With Tim’s appointment, we already feel that the life of the Chapel, which has long been a vital part of Girton’s deep tradition of pastoral support and personal growth, is in safe hands.”

Commenting on his appointment, Revd Dr Boniface said “I am looking forward to serving such a lively and well-regarded college community, and to participating in the combination of academic rigour, intellectual and creative freedom, and musical excellence for which Girton is known. Most of all, however, I am delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in enabling a lively and loving college life for all members of the Girton community.”

Published: 26 August 2020