Following on from last week’s guest post, our mission partner Simon Oatridge reflects on a year at Oak Hill College.
“How do you summarise a year in 400 words? Here’s a glimpse of what being an Oak Hill student has involved…
It’s been an enormous privilege to receive such a wide range of teaching and experiences: from Communications Workshops given by a former West-End Shakespearean actor; to a whistle stop tour of the first 1000 years of Christianity. Studying the first six books of the Old Testament, and the Gospels has enlarged my view of God; attending a two-week placement at Westminster Abbey; learning more about Anglican Ministry (from Peter Juckes’ Dad!) and most recently having a week with the Chaplain of St. Luke’s Hospice back in Sheffield. Through it all, it has been good to study alongside others from different denominations, backgrounds, and places, and there was even the chance to set up “The Oak Hill Open” – an end of year golf day for students and lecturers.
Studying Hebrew and Greek has been interesting, confusing, rewarding, painful, and even fun (sometimes). My end of year exams included translating the parable of the sower, Genesis 22 and 37. I’ve come to (mostly) love writing essays, as they have given me the chance to consider a particular topic in greater depth. One assignment involved responding to Richard Dawkins’ view of God as a ‘moral monster’ based on the Canaan conquest in the Old Testament, while another gave me the chance to think more about God as Trinity. Each one has been practical: with essays on biblical youth and children’s work in church, servant leadership, and preaching being particular favourites.
On the first day at College we were told “theology leads to doxology” – which is a fancy way of saying what we study is to cause us to love and worship God. Looking back on the year, I’m so grateful for how this has been a reality, whether in the prayerfulness of lecturers, in ending a lecture by singing together, daily chapel, or the example of faculty who model what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Studying has caused me to rejoice, cry, smile, and silenced me as I have seen something more of the majesty, wonder, beauty and goodness of our God.
It was lovely to see many of you on Sunday. Thanks so much for your ongoing prayers, friendship, and support!”