I am delighted to announce two new positions at Oak Hill, both of which are significant and strategic steps in our development and growth as a college.
We’re thrilled that the Rev. Chris Stead has been appointed as the inaugural Mike Ovey Fellow, beginning in September 2018. The Mike Ovey Fellowship was established in the weeks following Mike’s death, given his passionate plea in recent years that we train the next generation of theological educators. Chris trained at Oak Hill after several years practising as a barrister. He is currently finishing a curacy at Grace Church, Highlands, as well as being a visiting lecturer at Oak Hill.
The purpose of the Mike Ovey Fellowship is to raise up theological educators for the future, so the fellowship is in two parallel parts. On the one hand, Chris will be receiving intense theological education as he pursues PhD studies at Aberdeen University. On the other, he will be delivering theological education here at college, teaching on various doctrine modules, as well as providing pastoral care for a fellowship group of students.
Chris is married to Abi, and has four children. Ava is two, with another daughter on the way. Their older siblings, Nathanael and Tilly, are in the care of their heavenly Father. It’s fitting that it is Chris who is the first recipient of this fellowship. Not only was Mike a mentor for Chris, but both have a legal background and so think and teach systematic theology in a way that takes theological consequence seriously.
Chris says: ‘I am humbled and excited by all that’s happening in and through the fellowship, and am immensely grateful to Oak Hill for this chance to explore what theological education might look like for me. In an obvious way, I wish this opportunity hadn’t arisen, and that Mike were still stirring and inspiring future generations of church workers in theology here at such an amazing college. I hope to do Mike proud; and even more important, I hope to glorify the triune God in equipping well his ambassadors to proclaim his gospel.’
We are also excited to announce that the Rev. Dr Andrew Nicholls has been appointed as Director of Pastoral Care, a role he will take up in September 2018. This is a new and important strategic role to oversee and model pastoral care within our college community. At recent college open days I have been speaking about our culture as being fractured, fragmented and fragile. The reality is that those training for ministry into this world, come from this world. Our residential model of living and learning in community means we have a unique context in which leaders in training can be formed and transformed with the gospel in preparation for a lifetime of serving others. Andrew will play a central role in directing this care.
Andrew was a junior doctor and UCCF staff worker. He was a student at Oak Hill in the late 1990s, before planting two Co-Mission churches in Kingston. From 2013, he has been one of the pastors at Dundonald Church, specialising in small groups and pastoral care. One of his training courses, Real Change, co-edited with Helen Thorne, is shortly to be published in the US with New Growth Press.
In 2005, Andrew founded the Options Wimbledon Pregnancy Resource Centre, a crisis pregnancy centre. More recently, he has become Deputy Director of Biblical Counselling UK and a course leader for the BCUK Certificate Course. Andrew is married to Hilary, and they have two children: Silas (16) and Toby (14).
Andrew writes: ‘My family and I love serving at Dundonald Church. So why go? The new role at Oak Hill College, as Director of Pastoral Care, is one of very few I would consider leaving a job like this for. It’s a rare opportunity to be involved in training pastors at a leading theological college in how to care for people with God’s word. It will involve running the pastoral care within the college community and connecting the riches of the Bible to the realities of students’ own lives. Combined with training modules I will help teach, this is a great way to equip those who will serve in many more churches for many years to come.’