Cruising blissfully down an empty M1 on a Friday morning, friend in tow, M&S caterpillar snacks on the go, and Sarah McMillan blasting out on Spotify, I had no idea what to expect from my first week at Oak Hill whatsoever.
My heart started pounding that little bit more as we drove through Cockfosters, went over the roundabout and began to turn into the Oak Hill site. As the big, white building loomed ahead, I thought of all I’d left behind me: friends, nearby family, a job I loved, dogs, my favourite barista. What will life be like for me moving into a leading theological institution in the UK?
This and other questions floated through the ether of my being as I began to unpack and get settled. Two weeks later, as we approach the end of welcome week, the first week of term, where we have welcomed 47 new students alongside the returning 100, and have run through a host of introductory lectures on character and skills, I am approaching Friday with a happy heart.
I hope students can join me in agreeing that this week we have seen Christ displayed to us beautifully. For me, that has been from the kindness of flowers left on my doorstep to delicious home-cooked meals. I haven’t had a moment when I wasn’t confronted and comforted by God’s love through his people.
Johnny Juckes, President of Oak Hill, has been leading us through the book of Ruth in Chapel. I have seen and enjoyed the loving reality that ‘the God who can fill the fields, is filling empty human hearts’. Teetering on the precipice of new things – new jobs, new homes, new terms, and new people – this welcome week has been one of wonderful welcome.
I look forward to the term ahead and the ways we can love one another above the floor of the law. Here’s to the start of term at Oak Hill!
Kristi Mair is Pastoral Support and Research Fellow at Oak Hill