Prevette Autumn Update – October 1, 2016
As Seasons Change…
Greetings from Oxford, England–we are beginning a special time of year here in northern Europe. Ky and I have always loved Autumn and these colder regions really know how to display their colors and dazzle the eyes. These are the opening lines of the poem Autumn by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (he obviously enjoyed it, too):
Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,
With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!
If you don’t recognize the old English word ‘wain’ it means wagon. And while we don’t see many oxen drawn wagons in present day Oxford, we do appreciate living in a medieval city that honors history while welcoming the future. In recent weeks, Oxford University has come back to life with students from around the world arriving to take up their formal studies. May they be bright and creative and influence the world for good!
We are beginning the Autumn season with thanksgiving and some transition in our lives. In late August we moved from our rented house in North Oxford to a small village 10 miles to the south of the city called Marcham. This is the first time in almost 30 years of living overseas that we have made our home in a village! We still go into Oxford everyday for work at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies but we are enjoying living in a tight-knit community and becoming a part of our small local church. Ky has already found farm fresh eggs and local meat to grace our table. The wild blackberries are ripe for the picking, too!
Much has transpired in our lives since our last update sent in April. Some highlights over these last several months.
Unexpected personal loss and a tribute to a dear friend
One of the great joys of working with the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies is my role in mentoring PhD students and helping to guide the work of highly gifted individuals who have invested many years of their lives in serving the world though ministry and mission.
One of those was my dear friend, Siobhan Miles. I met Siobhan and Glenn Miles when we were working in Cambodia in the 1990s. They had worked for many years with vulnerable and exploited women and children; Siobhan worked with Chab Dai, a ministry dedicated to restoring women who had been sexually abused. In 2012, I encouraged Siobhan to come to OCMS and pursue her PhD in practice-based research. I served as her ‘research tutor’, overseeing and coaching her research. In August, as I was preparing to meet Siobhan here in Oxford, I received a phone call from Glenn saying that Siobhan had suddenly passed away after a brief illness. All of us who knew and loved Siobhan were shocked.
Siobhan was a woman of great integrity and tremendous energy. She brought light and laughter to everyone she encountered. Her dedication to her husband, her passion for her three young daughters, her love for God, her commitment to people in Cambodia who had been wrongfully abused, and her joy in the face of many personal hardships – these are the things I fondly remember of my friend and colleague.
I know that most of you reading this update never had a chance to meet Siobhan. But when I am asked (as I sometimes am), ‘Why are you working in Oxford with a PhD program for ministers and church workers?’ I think if you could have met Siobhan, then perhaps, our work at OCMS would be more readily understood and tangible.
We feel incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to represent you at OCMS and in Oxford. We appreciate your love, friendship and support in making it possible for us to be here.
Bill and Ky Prevette