A letter from Tom and Judy Harvey in England
Latest News of the Harveys
Oxford Centre for Mission Studies
Dear friends and supporting churches!
The last eight months have been challenging to say the least. Tom was a delegate to both the Edinburgh 2010 conference and the Cape Town 2010 Lausanne Congress. Both were great opportunities to connect, share and learn about world mission. At Edinburgh 2010, Tom served as a convener for the study group on mission and spirituality; this entailed gathering, editing and writing sections of the official compendium of conference papers now published by Regnum Books, the publishing arm of OCMS. At Cape Town 2010, Tom was named to the Advisory Board of the Global Diaspora Network (GDN). Diaspora refers to the global movement of people of various ethnicities due to war, famine, natural disasters or financial distress. Globalization has increased this movement dramatically and the GDN is tasked with training and empowering ministers and missionaries to work with those caught up in this global movement of people. Tom’s role with the GDN is to put together a five-year plan to develop diaspora mission and missiology that will train faculty and provide relevant curriculum that can be used globally to train ministers and missionaries working with diaspora groups of people.
In August the University of Wales (UW), which validates and confers OCMS degrees, informed us that a thorough revision and review of the UW research degree regulations and programs across the UW was ordered. In preparation, OCMS as a UW collaborative research center was to provide an extensive self-evaluation document (66 pages) as well as to revise and rewrite our code of practice to conform to the new UW research degree regulations and meet with the University Review Panel to ensure we fully met the new criteria. Leading up to the review, indications were not good. Communications with the UW Research Degrees Board were adversarial and terse. Further, news had reached us that a significant number of UW-affiliated institutions had lost their validation status, which is the death knell for an academic institution in the UK. In turn, the new regulations threatened to constrict the program making it difficult to recruit and train global Christian leaders from Africa, Asia and Latin America, who though rich in experience often lack the credentials or research skills required when they apply for doctoral research. The great legacy of OCMS has been to take these very individuals and train them to be capable researchers who empower transformational mission globally. Indeed, our graduation rate exceeds that of most universities in the UK.
Thus, we were concerned but fully ready the day of the review panel. The discussions were frank as we presented our program and students to the panel. In the end, the panel commended our program and noted that our students were the very sort of scholars that should be encouraged to do doctoral research. They assured us that our program would not be hobbled and special consideration would be given to enable the sort of students we recruit who are on the cutting edge of global mission engagement among the poor and marginalized of the earth. After the tension of eight months of uncertainty, hard work, prayer and perseverance, OCMS can continue to expand and deepen its work and impact globally.
The last few months we have faced other crises as well. In December Julie Ma, who is our tutor in missiology and wife of our Executive Director Wonsuk Ma, was struck by a cerebral aneurism. Emergency surgery was undertaken to halt the bleeding as she was kept in an induced coma for three weeks. The doctors felt she would be lucky if she survived and held out little hope for a full recovery. In January Julie woke from her coma and much to surprise of her physicians slowly and steadily has regained her faculties. Two weeks ago she chaired the student seminar at OCMS.
Our spring cohort of scholars arrived this week from China, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Korea, South Africa, Canada and Colombia. They are looking into issues of poverty and development, practical Christian education in China, and apologetics in Taiwan, and one scholar will examine mining, justice and redemption. In terms of successful completion of degrees, last year was our best year in the history of OCMS with 10 students receiving their degrees including students from Bolivia, Nepal, Malaysia, India and Burkina Faso. In July we will host a conference on the upheaval in the Middle East with leading Middle East scholars addressing critical issues arising in light of the dramatic events in the Middle East and responses from OCMS students from Bethlehem, Yemen and Tunisia.
In terms of the family, Judy has been made a member of staff at our St. Andrews Church. St. Andrews has a growing ministry to young families and she has taken on a needed role in discipleship, counseling and care. Emma has been hearing back from various colleges and now must decide where to go. Do keep her in your prayers as this is a difficult decision and pray for us as we grapple with the financial burden. Joe continues to work in Durham and as a researcher at Duke. Paul is working as a counselor for a camp for boys with various familial, behavioral or emotional struggles.
We will be coming back to the United States in August and September and will be visiting churches so we hope to see many of you soon. We will be contacting you soon as we formulate our plans.
Tom, Judy, Joe, Paul and Emma
How to support the Harveys:
Individuals may direct their contributions to one or both of our ECO (Extra Commitment Opportunity) accounts that supports our work.
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 and our Name. [You can also give online. See the “Give” box in the left column. —Ed.]
All ECO checks should be sent to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 196