A letter from Tom Harvey in England
Dear Friends and Partners in Mission,
OCMS has crossed the Jordan. On Tuesday, August 28, 2012, OCMS Executive Director Dr. Wonsuk Ma signed the Memorandum of Co-operation with Middlesex University (MU) establishing the OCMS and MU Joint Collaborative Research Programme for the qualification of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). This culminates a three-year journey begun with the gradual demise of the University of Wales (formerly the second largest university in England and the university that has our programme and issued their degree to OCMS scholars since 1991).
Joining Middlesex University is the fulfillment of prayer and prudence. MU has a solid reputation in UK higher education. Ranked higher than the University of Wales, it will enhance OCMS’ solid reputation in research degrees and greatly enhance MU as a leading research university in theology and missiology; the London School of Theology, very likely the best-regarded evangelical theological institution in the UK and Oak Hill School of Theology, one of the key institutions recognized by the Church of England, have their degrees validated by MU. Thus, MU offers a good "home" for Christian-based higher education research institutions. Unlike at the University of Wales, as MU students our scholars will be granted full privileges of the university, including access to MU library facilities and online learning around the globe.
Bringing this all about has not been an easy process, but it has been fruitful. We have had to rewrite the Programme Manual (116 pages) twice in the past nine months. First to ensure that our course conformed to the new Common Academic Framework of the University of Wales and then again to conform to Middlesex University. Nonetheless, with both rewrites we worked to improve the programme on all fronts. What we are left with is a streamlined and workable programme that better fits the needs of students, faculty and staff.
There is still much work to do. Eighty OCMS students will need to transfer from the University of Wales over to MU. OCMS faculty, staff and administration must adjust to a new programme and calendar. On top of it all, like all private colleges and research centres in the UK, we will be subject to an accreditation review by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) in October. This will be a major review of the whole OCMS programme and provision so that we might be granted “Highly Trusted Status” necessary if an institution is to offer student visas. The QAA will review the OCMS programme based on the MU Programme that is currently more theoretical than actual. We are well prepared, but do keep this key matter in prayer.
OCMS is celebrating with our successful Ph.D. candidates who completed their Ph.D. examinations. Students from Indonesia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, U.S.A., Russia, Bulgaria and the Congo passed their exams. Indeed, we have had a record number of graduates this year and the pace will continue into the years to come. We are expecting a full cohort in October with 10 students from Africa. This is an answer to prayer in that due to a host of Africans successfully completing the programme we were looking to see their numbers revived in the programme.
Meanwhile, Tom was able to attend key conferences in San Jose, Costa Rica, Toronto, Edinburgh and Boston over the summer. In Boston, Tom presented a paper on the churches of China at the Christian Faith and 21st Century China Conference. This was a remarkable conference in that it included key scholars and leaders from the official government churches of China and the unofficial illegal house churches or “Family Churches” as well as a host of Neo-Confucian scholars from China and Taiwan. The ability of church leaders to meet informally outside of China represents a great step forward in developing the church in China in the 21st century. Further, the conference will be held in Europe next year and OCMS is a possible venue.
Judy is continuing her work with St Andrews Church. She is developing a mentoring programme and working with the “Young Mums” group at the church. Emma was involved with the “Holiday Club,” which saw 170 children attend for the holiday week. We didn’t see the boys this summer, but they are staying busy in North Carolina. Emma returns to Durham University for her second year in October and Tom will be off to Nairobi for the International Council of Evangelical Theological Education. Thus we have a busy schedule planned for the fall.
Do keep us in prayer in that this will be an eventful fall.
Tom, Judy, Joe, Paul and Emma
25 Hayfield Road
Oxford OX2 6TX England
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 268
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