Notes from a large island

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I am just back from a three week trip to America visiting church partners and people interested in what is happening in Oxford.  Judy joined me for the last week.  We had a great time, covered ten states, and I slept in 8 different beds!  Here are some impressions:

  • America does not fit the image that the rest of the world portrays of it.  It is a diverse, fascinating, positive and friendly place full of good people.  Having been in a good number of countries that have a particular reputation in the wider world, I have learned that the reality is always much more complex.  America is no different.
  • Trinity Church has many friends.  From Houston to Grand Rapids and Columbus to Chicago, there are people praying for us, and supporting us financially.  Some of them will pass through Oxford in the next few months.
  • Oxford is potentially strategic for Europe.  Christianity in Europe has imploded over the last generation.  For the first time millions are identifying as non-religious.  It is now the second least reached region after the Muslim world.  Alongside that, bible teaching churches, though small, are consistently growing across the continent.  The need for resources, training and support is, however, enormous.  America is rich in resources, but often ill equipped to understand post-Christian ‘old world’ Europe.  In many ways Oxford sits between these two worlds.  The potential to use this to bless Europe is, I think, significant.
  • Trinity is a wonderful church to belong to.  I enjoyed preaching to hundreds, and a couple of dozen, and worshipping with several thousand, but I was glad to get home.  Don’t underestimate the good things that Christ is doing in our midst.

 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21)