This is an update from Thomas Fink-Jensen from Holy Trinity Utrecht, who is being supported in part by the chaplaincy with an annual grant, and primarily by the Church of England, as a postulant in training for ordained ministry.
I am writing you just before Hilary Term at the University of Oxford begins, and am (therefore?) still full of good cheer and happy memories of our visit to the Netherlands over Christmas. It was a great joy to be back in the church in Utrecht, and see many familiar faces and friends again.
The last 1,5 years have flown by. Sarah and I got married,I started my ordination training and am already half-way through now! Having worked for two years at Pusey House and St Barnabas in Jericho, I am now experiencing the Evangelical and ‘low church’ environments of Wycliffe Hall and (for my placement) St Andrews, Linton Road. Both communities have warmly welcomed us, and we enjoy the fellowship and different style of services at both places –combining these with visits to Pusey House and St Barnabas whenever we can.
We live in a little house rented via St Barnabas, right under the church tower. This is most convenient as we need neither a clock in our house – looking out of the window suffices – nor an alarm, being woken up every morning when the bells start ringing at 6.45am!
The way my studies are organised means that I am in the second and final year of my academic studies in a Bachelor of Theology. I have weekly tutorials, but am mainly occupied by writing weekly essays. The topics I have covered so far include Early Christian Liturgy, Augustine, Paul, the Old Testament, the Gospels, and Patristic history and theology. These present a varied and challenging set of subjects which I am privileged to enjoy.
My third year will comprise a longer summer placement, and then a more ‘practical’ year of diving into topics such as preaching, pastoral care, death and bereavement, and mission and evangelism. God willing I will then finally finish in June 2019, heading into a curacy – a first post working under a priest who (D.V.) knows what they are doing and can teach me ‘on the job.’ Those are prospects which already need to be on our minds and in our prayers and for which we would appreciate your prayerful involvement as well.
In the more immediate future, the coming term not only holds papers on Christian doctrine, and 19th century philosophy and theology (do let me know if you can comprehensively explain Kant to me!); but we are also expecting a girl to be born in early March. So far both Sarah and baby have been doing really well, but do please remember both in your prayers as well. The combination of a young baby and revision for my Finals – exams – in June will no doubt be an interesting experience, but we are really excited about the upcoming months regardless.
Please do remember us in your prayers, and know that you often are in ours.
Wishing you all the best from Oxford,