A Year of transition

A letter from Thomas Harvey, mission specialist serving in the United Kingdom

February 2016

Write to Judy Harvey: madiganharvey@yahoo.com
Write to Tom Harvey: ttctharvey@yahoo.com

Individuals: Give online to E200358 for Tom and Judy Harvey’s sending and support

Congregations: Give to D506421 for Tom and Judy Harvey’s sending and support

Churches are asked to send donations through your congregation’s normal receiving site (this is usually your presbytery).

Tom serves as the Academic Dean of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (OCMS).  He serves on the Senior Management Team of OCMS and oversees the academic program of OCMS.  He also serves as editor for Lausanne Global Analysis, a bimonthly news journal under the auspices of the Lausanne Congress of World Evangelism, and is an active member of the Global Educators Forum of the Global Diaspora Network, which facilitates diaspora ministry worldwide through informed research.

Blessings from Oxford!  First let me express my deep appreciation for the continued support for Judy and me as we serve in Oxford.  It has been a challenging year for us.  In April my position with the PC(USA) changed from mission co-worker to mission specialist.  What this means is that I am now fully responsible to raise support for our work here in Oxford.

OCMS has sacrificially committed to work with us and the PC(USA) to increase their support for the position and I am working to strengthen our support base among PC(USA) congregations and congregations around the world.  Indeed, we were blessed to receive news in November that the congregation where I served in Singapore has committed $750 a month to help meet the difference.  Further, we are beginning to pray and seek support for an endowed chair to fund the Dean’s position in perpetuity, but that will take some time to put together.  The name of the chair is the John Sung Chair in Missionary Studies.  John Sung was a Chinese evangelist and leader who brought many to faith, thus growing and strengthening the churches of Singapore.  It is a great honor to be considered for this important endowment.

At OCMS it has been a year of transition.  Our executive director, Wonsuk Ma, announced his retirement in June and I was brought onto the search committee for a new director. After a careful and prayerful process, the committee has extended an invitation to Paul Bendor-Samuel, the former international director of Interserve, a mission organization that has had a significant impact on global mission.

I was honored to address a conference held in Bucharest, Romania, on Legislation, Ethics and Religion: an Approach from the Context of Religious Freedom.  It was held at the Palace of Parliament and brought together 120 scholars from universities in Europe and the United States.  The conference was initiated by the Legal Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament in partnership with the Religious Liberty Association and the Institute for Peace Studies in Eastern Christianity: Harvard University. My paper was entitled “Faith, Truth Ethics and the Rule of Law.”  It was well received and will be published as part of a volume flowing from essays presented.

I have also been named as a co-director of the Oxford Initiative on Faith, Corruption and Development.  This initiative will bring together key political, academic, religious, and development leaders to address the problem of corruption globally. Corruption exists everywhere, though in many societies it is systemic and institutionalized at all levels of society. In such societies corruption is not an isolated phenomenon found only within a specific institution but crosses all sectors of society. It may take different forms. Bribery and extortion are the most common examples of corrupt behavior. Others include misappropriation of funds, illicit enrichment, patronage, nepotism, misuse of information or property, state capture and influence peddling. Common to all corruption practices is a violation of trust, an undermining of the common good or interest of the community or society. We have been invited to submit grant proposals that will fund research at OCMS on corruption by scholars from Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as fund an annual consultation that will bring relevant thought leaders from various private and governmental spheres to begin to discuss effective means to combat the scourge of corruption.

Paul, Emma, Joe and Susan joined us in Oxford for Christmas at the cottage.  My big present was to craft a fireplace surround from reclaimed oak (see picture with Paul). Paul, who now works in Dubai as a middle school counselor, flew to Dubai on Valentine’s Day to propose to Caitlin Tarantiles.  She said, “Yes.”  The wedding will be in summer 2017.   Meanwhile Joe and Susan are in Boulder, Colo., where Joe continues his studies in Behavioral Economics.


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