Last Saturday, a party of our Jesus Centre students went on a trip to Oxford.
How many today? One, two , three …. twenty one, yes, twenty two in all. Standing outside the Jesus Centre, we pile on two minibuses, all thanks to YWAM’s DTS Crossroads team who have been staying in Coventry for a month and have organised our Jesus Centre trip to Oxford.
Our first stop … St Michael’s … probably the oldest building in Oxford. We climb up the steps of the 1000 year-old Saxon tower, past giant bells – don’t ring please – we’ll all be deafened! – And out into the rooftop sunshine. Wow! – What a fantastic view of this city of spires and domes and, in the distance we see the now-brown fields of this long summer drought. Emir makes us all laugh by doing a quick dance on the roof! Today is going to be fun!
We wend our way through bustling streets crammed with summer tourists; with twenty two of us, it’s so easy to lose someone! Where is Jerome? Where is Arshak? Where is Ivy?
We peer through the entrance of Tom Tower into Wolsey’s magnificent Christ Church Cathedral and then walk onto the refreshing open space of Christchurch Meadows, with hay-mown fields on one side and Christ Church College on the other, past spacious sports fields and flowers in full-summer bloom and punters navigating the narrow Cherwell.
Oops, the Botanical Gardens is just too expensive for us today so we head back to the Meadows and find a shady patch under a large tree – much needed in the present heat. It’s sharing all round – a truly international picnic of Indian, Chinese (I’ve never had Chinese sweets before) and Middle-Eastern food – not to mention some English Custard Creams and Bourbons.
Refreshed and now back on the road, we traverse through narrow winding streets, past college quadrangles, until we spy the Bridge of Sighs, the Radcliffe Camera and University Church of St Mary’s; its graduation day for some: photographers, proud parents and students pose, the students smartly dressed in gowns and mortarboards.
We walk along Broad Street and some of us squeeze onto that tiny cross that marks the place where brave Bishops, Ridley and Latimer, and Archbishop Cranmer were all burned as martyrs in the reign of Queen Mary but mindful, too, that these celebrated martyrs deaths have been repeated many thousand times over in some of today’s most troubled regions of the world.
And last, we walk up the steps of the imposing Ashmolean Museum – ah, somewhat cooler in here and we saunter around the gallery of the ancient Middle East and then battle the crowds again, weary and happy, finding our way back to our bus. Amazingly enough, everyone is here! Ready to go! It’s been a great day. Thank you YWAM! Thank you so much!
The “Crossroads” or “All Ages” DTS Discipleship Training School is a full-time YWAM (Youth With a Mission) programme of five or six months. It consists of two parts: the lecture phase and outreach phase. The outreach phase involves being out and about in the community, reaching out to those of very varied backgrounds and cultures.
What is the purpose of DTS? The course: “seeks to bring you into a more intimate relationship with God. It also gives you an opportunity to discover your passions and your part in God’s purposes for the world. It is for those who long to follow Jesus in new ways with a different perspective.” YWAM website).