Yesterday I read a blog posting which was celebrating the war in Ukraine and calling all Christians to rejoice in this “clear sign of the ending of the ages and the return of Jesus in our lifetime”. After I had recovered from my shock and sadness I was reminded of the important and urgent work that we do in mission research using our skills in integral missiology to guard against such travesties of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian triumphalism aside, our media is full of over simplistic interpretations of the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, ignoring many cultural, historical and ideological issues along the way. The joy of being part of the OCMS research community is its deep commitment to rigorous research which seeks solid foundations on which to build effective missional responses to the challenges of human existence, war being just one of these.
As the restrictions of the global pandemic begin to ease in Europe (but not in all parts of the world – South Korea is now facing its worst outbreak) we are beginning to see our scholars and students returning to Oxford for much needed residencies. We are learning afresh how to be community. Not only to study together but to eat, play and worship together in a community that honours and builds up each of its members. In a few weeks’ time another part of our community, the Integral Mission Leadership cohort, will gather in the south of England. Please pray for their time together.
Our Executive Director and Chaplain, Paul and Liz Bendor-Samuel are currently on sabbatical for three months so we would value your prayers for them and for the great team of staff and students that I am now working with here in Oxford as Interim Executive Director. One of the privileges of being OCMS is the fact that so many of you take a real interest in our work as do the many visitors we receive week by week, such as the Syrian academic with us this week who is seeking ways to preserve the life and traditions of the Church in Syria where years of war have decimated Christian communities.
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel. With Easter on the horizon we move forward in hope.
Interim Executive Director