On coming to Wycliffe you will find yourself part of a diverse community which draws people in for a host of different reasons. Our full-time students include Anglican ordinands, ‘independent’ students and those on the OCCA course. Our part-time students include those on our Monday evening course and college students from North America on the SCIO programme.
Overall, during any one term, there are about 150 students here. In addition there are our students’ spouses and their children, as well as visiting scholars, pastors and ‘exchange’ students from all over the world. You never quite know who you might bump into at mealtimes!
People come from a wide variety of backgrounds – in recent years there have been up to 19 different nationalities amongst the staff and students. Christians come here from all over the world – the Middle East (some from Muslim backgrounds) and South East Asia, Africa and America – and each brings a slightly different experience.
Some come from churches that are expressly ‘conservative’ (emphasising the importance of teaching from the inspired scriptures). Others come from ‘charismatic’ congregations (emphasising the reality of God’s Spirit at work today). Still others come from communities with a more ‘contemplative’ style (emphasising the value of praying in ways which draw upon the riches of our historic roots).
When you come to Wycliffe, you will find that you have a valuable contribution to make, but that you are also part of a much larger whole.
Men and women coming together to form a truly diverse community gives Wycliffe a sense of variety and dynamism. So what holds it all together?
In addition to our core values, there are three activities which draw us back to our centre in Christ:
At the centre of our common life is a commitment to worship our God, revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are not here just to talk about God but to revere him, respond to his Word, receive his grace and renew our relationship with him. There is a weekly rhythm of prayer: morning worship, private ‘quiet time’, Bible readings delivered by the staff, college communion and informal prayer meetings. Many lectures and most college meetings begin with prayer. Both staff and students meet weekly in ‘cell groups’. After a regular tutorial interview your tutor may often offer to pray with you.
Each of us reads and writes many words, but the most important word is that found in Scripture – the ‘word of life which fires us and sets our souls ablaze’. Our studying is effectively a delving deeper into God’s Word, its truth, its life and power—so that the ‘word of Christ’ can ever more ‘dwell in us richly’.
Finally, we are here not just for our own sake but for the sake of others so that we can be better equipped to ‘hold forth the Word of life’ to others. We can go out into the world with fresh understanding and renewed convictions about Jesus and his transforming power. Throughout your study you will be asked questions about how these truths can be best communicated to others. Many students are involved in outreach both in the city and in the University. Each year there are opportunities to be part of a mission team to churches and communities in the UK and abroad.
In other words our community is made up of those who are seeking to look up to God in worship, to delve down more deeply into Scripture, in order to go out with the Good News.
This dynamic combination gives Wycliffe its unity and common purpose.
Being in Community: Challenges and Joys
Being part of a community and sharing a common space inevitably has its challenges. Yet if you are ready for this ‘risky living’, being willing to give of yourself to others and also to receive from them, you will find Wycliffe to be a truly welcoming community with many new friends to make and many activities to enjoy together.
In addition to Wycliffe’s weekday mealtimes, there are numerous social events: international cuisine evenings, visits to local Oxford attractions and sporting activities. Every day there is coffee and tea in the student Common Room with opportunities for endless conversation: