A letter from Tom and Judy Harvey in England
Advent is a time when Christians look back to when Christ came into the world, look forward to when Christ will return and then look to their present circumstances with thankfulness, expectation and relevance.
Looking back, this has been a challenging year at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS). It began with a successful review of our program by the University of Wales that affirmed its excellence and uniqueness. This year we have seen a steady stream of graduates complete the program successfully and be released into their ministries around the globe. From scholars looking at education in Tonga and Burkina Faso, to others doing degrees in the Old and New Testament, to those studying the nature and shape of ministry and faith in the Bolivian highlands, Andhra Pradesh, India or amongst the Masai of Tanzania, it has been a fruitful year of scholarship and preparation.
It has also been a year of mission reflection globally as the international mission conferences of Edinburgh 2010 and Cape Town 2010 drew thousands of missionaries and church leaders from around the globe to reflect on the last century of Christian missions. OCMS played a crucial role in both. As missions have moved from being primarily initiatives by Western missions and missionaries moving from the Northern to the Southern hemisphere or from Western nations to the East to now being missions from “everywhere to everywhere,” OCMS’s graduates from across the globe are sought out to help reflect and give insight and leadership to effective mission today.
What both conferences pointed to was the reality that missions are a global phenomenon and the majority of missionaries and church leadership now arise from non-Western nations. This will only increase in the years to come as the church continues to grow in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Moreover, with ever-increasing globalization this means that as people groups move around the world, the entire face and nature of mission will change.
The challenge for missionaries, and for OCMS in particular, is to remain relevant in a world that is changing rapidly. In this regard, I have been appointed a member of the Global Diaspora Network. This network is drawing together missionaries, church leaders and scholars in order to inform, engage in and enable effective ministry among “people on the move.” At OCMS, we have dedicated the spring edition of our quarterly journal to Diaspora Mission and now have four scholars doing dedicated research in diaspora missiology. This will result in more informed and effective ministry and communication globally.
Given the growth of the church and mission globally, our numbers at OCMS will continue to rise. Thus, we will inaugurate an extension to our library this year, but this alone will not be sufficient. With 118 M.Phil./Ph.D. students, we are beginning to burst the bounds of our current facilities and faculty resources. This is exciting, but a huge challenge if we are to raise the funds necessary to expand our facilities and faculty. Thus, we sense God’s calling to take OCMS to the next level. This year will see a major capital campaign by OCMS to fulfill this vision. Do keep us in prayer in this important endeavor.
As for the family, Joe and Paul will join us for Christmas. Joe is working in North Carolina and will begin as a research assistant in behavioral economics in 2011. Paul is now working for a Christian camp in North Carolina that works with children who grapple with behavioral and family disorders. Emma is active in drama, youth group and preparing applications for college. Judy is active in our church’s Alpha and After Alpha program. We were quite pleased with the result we saw last year as new believers came to a deeper faith and understanding of the gospel.
Advent and Christmas is a time of reflection and thanksgiving. Thus we are deeply thankful for your prayers and support through the year. In so many ways, it has been the most challenging, and at times frustrating, of years and yet one of the most productive and satisfying of years. Given all the indications, next year should prove even more challenging. That said, we draw strength from your prayers, our faith in Christ and the power of his Spirit working among us and the men and women we serve. Thus we covet your thoughts and prayers in this coming year.
Blessings to each and every one of you and upon all the churches that support us in prayer and gifts.
Blessed Advent, Christmas and New Year's Greetings
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 196
How to support the Harveys
Individuals may direct their contributions to one or both of our ECO (Extra Commitment Opportunity) accounts that support our work. [You can give online. See the “Give” box in the left column. —Ed.]
For salary and living support, write the ECO number E200357 on the subject line with our name.
For program support write the ECO number E052057 on the subject line of the check and our name. All ECO checks should be sent to
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
Churches and presbyteries should give to our Directed Mission Support account, D506421. Put our names and account number on the check and send it to your normal receiving site or
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643678
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3678
Please feel free to write to me if you need any clarification.