After two years of severe disruption for many scholars in the OCMS Guided Research Programme (GRP) we are again welcoming a steady stream of researchers to Oxford, seeing new research projects start and helping others to complete. The topics being researched are varied and challenging and our scholars courageous. In the Philippines Sally first faced an inability to conduct research interviews because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, then passed through a period of personal sickness, only then to be hit by the recent typhoon which ripped the roof off her house and left her bringing relief supplies to her community. Undertaking a complex research project in these conditions takes grit and determination. Sally is researching whether Christian development programmes help establish vibrant communities of Jesus followers.
Living and working in northern Nigeria with the constant threat of terrorist attacks is never easy. However, in this context, three of our postdoctoral GRP scholars are currently engaged in very different and important research projects. Ernest is nearing completion of his research during which he has developed a new curriculum for, and approach to, the training of Nigerian Anglican priests so that they not only become effective theologians but also receive formation as mature Christian leaders with a real passion for the gospel and disciple-making. Gideon is just beginning a research programme which builds on his extensive work of community reconciliation and conflict resolution between Muslim and Christian communities that have been plagued by violence. Grace (name changed) will shortly begin researching the impact that reading the Hadith has on Muslims’ understanding of Mohammed and how this influences their religious practice, especially in radical movements such as Boko Haram.
The global pandemic has delayed or affected in other ways almost every GRP research project, but it is interesting to see that amongst those now applying to join the GRP, several scholars wish to research the impact of the pandemic on Christian ministry and explore the new reality of integral mission.
Revd. Canon Mark Oxbrow
Director, Guided Research Programme