Intervarsity Graduate Student Ministry-Oxford, England
In September 2018 we moved from New York City to Oxford, England to serve as IVCF Missionaries and for me (David) to begin work on a four year masters/PhD program in Christian Ethics at the University of Oxford. IVCF traces its roots to the Oxford and Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Unions (now the UCCF or “Christian Unions”), which began as a student-driven campus renewal movement in the 1870s. IVCF and our local partner in mission (the Oxford Pastorate) have long carried the banner for intellectually engaged, spiritually transformative ministry to the future global leaders.
Our present mission of ministering to graduate students and faculty at the University of Oxford is very much a ministry of developing these future global leaders for service. More than half of all graduate students at the University of Oxford are international students, many of them coming from non-Western nations such as China, Saudi Arabia, and India—some of the world’s best and brightest. Imagine a world in which these future global leaders now studying in Oxford saw their education not as a “passport to privilege” but as equipment for service. These young men and women are often encouraged to pursue credentials without regard for character; to develop skills without a higher purpose, and to promote narrow national or personal interests without regard for God or neighbor. But what if these students instead chose to follow Christ? What if these gifted students—the world’s future doctors, lawyers, artists, scientists, leaders, educators, and innovators—followed Jesus, giving their lives to the resolution of the crises and challenges of our time out of love for God and for our global neighbors?”
We believe that as missionaries, our specific gifts and past work experiences have primed us to help the Oxford Pastorate in significant ways. First, through developing programs and initiatives that help graduate students 1) to discern the ways God is uniquely calling and equipping them to serve, 2) to integrate their faith with their academic and professional disciplines, and 3) to mature as Christian leaders. Second, we feel uniquely positioned to help support the Oxford Pastorate’s development as a local ministry organization 1) to act as bridgebuilders between often segmented or siloed parts of the Christian ecosystem within Oxford as a university city, and 2) to catalyze graduate student ministry in university cities beyond Oxford through strategic partnerships.
- New Student Welcome Week: We would greatly appreciate your prayers for working with our 12+ church and ministry partners annually to plan and execute welcome week for incoming graduate students. Please pray that we would have good attendance, strong buy-in, and that there would be enough volunteers and resources post-COVID to support a robust line-up of events to welcome new students well.
- Graduate Christian Forum (GCF): We would love your prayers as David and I lead our latest GCF leadership committee through planning and leading the programming for this coming year. It is the only Christian graduate student-led society in Oxford, cultivating key opportunities for evangelism and interdenominational witness.
- Mental Health: David has had opportunities to connect with other dads at drop off at nursery, several of whom are faculty members. Please do pray for some follow up coffee meetings he’s had. Also, please pray for Alissa as she continues to meet with a number of students with mental health needs. We’re grateful for all the many services and support systems the university and our church provides, but we long to see ultimate healing and breakthrough that we know the Lord can provide.
- David’s Research & Writing: We humbly ask for continued prayers for David’s writing and research on Theologies of Higher Education! Please pray for stamina, for time, and for encouragement in writing.
How To Partner
- We would love to have your partnership through prayer: you can email Alissa via email@example.com to receive monthly prayer updates.
- We would love to have your partnership through introductions: if you know of someone who might resonate with our mission, please do make an email introduction. We would be happy to connect with individuals over Zoom or in-person the next time we are state-side.
- We would love have your partnership through financial donations: you can make a one-time or recurring donation through InterVarsity’s website here: https://donate.intervarsity.org/support/davidandalissa