A Letter from Thomas Harvey, serving in the United Kingdom
Write to Tom Harvey
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Let me begin with an apology for not sending this out sooner. As you will note below, the last six months have been a challenging, productive, and blessed period, but it has not lent to keeping up with the need to write newsletters.
Let’s begin in January when Tom was a keynote speaker at the International Harmony Conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Focusing on faith and mission, his address challenged secular views that artificially separate culture, nurture, and reason from faith. In fact, such separation is detrimental when it comes to nurturing the peace and reconciliation we seek in our fragile and violent world. Tragically, the very hotel where the conference was held would be bombed in a terrorist attack in April that left 259 dead. Though many have used these events to call for reprisal and violence against Muslims, Sri Lankan Christians, who suffered the worst, continue to work for peace and reconciliation even though they were the primary target. Some of those affected are former Sri Lankan students of Tom during his years at TTC. Join us as we keep the church and the peace of Sri Lanka in our prayers.
In March, over 60 scholars, NGO activists, church leaders, parents and family members gathered at OCMS to develop effective mission for those with physical or mental disabilities, with particular reference to severe intellectual disability. The sessions were informative, challenging and spiritually enriching. Do check out beyondtheboundaries.net for resources generated by the event. OCMS will be following up the conversations in three ways: Bible colleges and theological institutions discussing how to build this into their curricula; missiologists continuing to write and think about disability and mission; and practitioners and activists finding better ways to support each other. If you want to get involved, let me know. Many participants commented on the generosity of service provided by the OCMS team of volunteers. This service is not simply something that enables others; it is an integral part of being a missional community.
Research continues to flourish at OCMS. In April, we welcomed 13 new students from Hong Kong, Ethiopia, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Albania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the U.S. The quality of the students and their level of engagement represent one of strongest cohorts to date.
Tom’s current research focus has been Chinese Christianity and Mission. He has published several articles on current moves by the Chinese Government to impose ideological constraints upon non-registered Christian churches. This has had a chilling effect on religious observance across China as artificial intelligence has now been integrated into pervasive state-of-the-art surveillance to enforce religious policy. This new push to control religious expression confronts a budding mission movement within China’s urban churches that seeks to do mission both within and beyond China’s borders. Tom convened a series of lectures at OCMS that looked at the implications of all this for Christians and Muslims in China. These lectures are being brought together for publication with an Oxford publisher.
Do keep Tom in prayer as the growth of OCMS’s research and new programs has added to an already heavy workload. Also, Tom has been in conversation with leading universities in the UK interested in the OCMS program and possible collaboration going forward. Meanwhile, the UK is completely overhauling its oversight of higher education, and it is Tom’s job to navigate the new structures and regulations that are putting many Christian academic institutions out of business due to increased costs and compliance regulations imposed.
Latest on the Harveys
Judy continues her pastoral work with St. Andrews Church in the Cutteslowe Community of Oxford. We did get away briefly for a trip to the Peak District and a visit to Chatsworth House, but a twisted knee for Judy meant that Tom got most of the exercise on the walking tour.
Paul and Caitlin are now foster parents in Raleigh, North Carolina, of a lovely 8-year-old from Durham who had her first trip to Disneyland this past week and loved it. We also received the wonderful news that Joe and Susa are expecting in December/January.
Supporting OCMS Research that is Making a Difference
Unlike many institutions, OCMS students are able to come and study only by scholarships that OCMS provides. We have powerful alumni, rich in the Spirit yet of humble means. Thus, OCMS continues its work through the gifts of generous churches, individuals and institutions committed to the mission of the church globally. By supporting us you support OCMS, our students, and the Mission of God to reach all men and women for Christ. All the funds raised for Tom’s position as Academic Dean free OCMS to dedicate its resources for scholarship assistance for our students. We are deeply grateful for your faithful support.
Prayer Items for OCMS and the Harveys
At OCMS we seem to only get busier, and with both Judy and Tom engaged full-time, it is a special but challenging time for our ministries. Do keep OCMS in your prayers.
Tom and Judy
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Tags: Tom Harvey
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