University Sermons

A University of Cambridge tradition since 1300

A University of Cambridge tradition since at least 1300, the Sermons Before the University challenge us to consider faith more thoughtfully.

University Sermons have inspired the Reformation, the Abolitionist movement, and more.  Each year prominent women and men from many different traditions deliver Sermons on topics of particular interest to students.  The services are very simple, last about an hour, and are open to all.


Huslean Sermon 2021

The Revd Dr Ayla Lepine

"Life is a Complicated Business": Groaning Inwardly and Growing Up

28 February 2021 at 11.15am (livesteam only)

Livestream only, at


The Hulsean Sermon originates in the will of John Hulse, of St John's College, who died in 1790, and is to be preached around 'The Truth and Excellence of Revealed Religion, or the Evidence of Christianity'.

A Canadian historian of art and architecture with a particular interest in the Victorian period, Ayla Lepine has been Chaplain of King's College since September 2020, returning to Cambridge from a curacy at St John's-at-Hampstead, London. An ordinand at Westcott House 2015-18, she is also a member of Jesus College, and took both BA and MPhil degrees during her training. A first degree in History of Art at the University of Victoria was followed by postgraduate study in theology at Oxford and a PhD in History of Art at the Courtauld Institute, written on the late Victorian Gothic Revival at Oxford and Cambridge. Subsequent appointments have included postdoctoral fellowships at the Courtauld and at Yale, and teaching posts at Warwick, Nottingham, and Essex. She is a trustee of the UK charity Art & Christianity.

Dr Lepine has co-edited Gothic Legacies: Four Centuries of Tradition and Innovation in Art and Architecture (2012), Revival: Memories, Identities, Utopias (2015) in the Courtauld Books Online series, and Modern Architecture and Religious Communities 1850-1970: Building the Kingdom (2018). She has also published essays on the Gothic Revival in journals including Architectural History, the Sculpture Journal, and British Art Studies, and is a contributor to King's College London's Visual Commentary on Scripture.

Mr James Anderson-Besant, Assistant Organist of St John's College, will provide music to accompany the Sermon.


Upcoming University Sermons

All sermons begin at 11.15am at the University Church, unless otherwise noted. Members of the University of Cambridge are asked by University statute to wear academical dress. Those present are invited to take refreshments with the preacher at Michaelhouse after the Sermon.

Lent Term 2021

28 February 2021*    The Revd Dr Ayla Lepine, Chaplain of King’s College (Hulsean Preacher). The church will be closed during this Term's sermon, but it will be ivestreamed to YouTube

Easter Term 2021
23 May 2021     The Most Revd and Rt Hon. Justin Welby, Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury (Ramsden Preacher)


Recent University Sermons


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• Café: 01223 693216

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