Soon we will be leaving for England, and we could not have done it without your love and support.Â This is an impossible trip that God has made possible through your love, generosity and prayers.Â If ever a man knew that the challenge God had laid before him was beyond his ability, it is the man who pens these words.
The Oxford Round Table will be held in Oxford, at Harris Manchester College.Â The subject we are addressing is â€œReligion, Education, Public Schools and Politics: Is There Common Ground?â€Â My presentation is entitled, â€œThe Decline of Religion in Public Education and The Decline of Public Educationâ€.
From the first day that I received the invitation to participate in the Oxford Round Table, I was excited beyond measure about this truly undeserved opportunity.Â At the same time, I was overwhelmed by the financial and logistical requirements and the daunting task of preparing a paper.Â I had to make several weighty decisions before I knew how I would be able to afford the trip and complete my preparation in time.Â It has truly been your prayers, financial support and many words of encouragement that have strengthened my faith and given me the courage to proceed.
We are eternally grateful that many of you have given financially to provide for Gina and me to go to Oxford in order for me to participate in the Oxford Round Table. I believe it is exceptionally important to be involved in these types of forums.
The Round Table is a collegial environment, composed of scholars, leaders and professionals from different parts of the world, gathered together to study and consider issues related to state and national systems of education. The deliberations are challenging, educational and thought provoking.Â The free exchange of ideas is evidenced by the programâ€™s wide array of perspectives.Â Even more noteworthy is that the Oxford Round Table is a secular organization addressing issues regarding Public Schools, and yet there is a place for this evangelical perspective.Â As you probably know, I take this opportunity very seriously, and I am grateful beyond measure for your support.
The meetings take place cloistered within the exquisitely adorned walls of Harris Manchester College, founded in 1786, which is one of the thirty-nine colleges of Oxford University, the oldest English speaking university in the world.Â Everything from the invitation to the final session is handled with impressive dignity, cordiality and professionalism.Â There are two formal banquets held in the medieval dining hall, which are elegantly served and quite delectable as well.
Others of you have thoughtfully and generously given in order that we may spend some vacation time in London and Oxford.Â Our daughters, Natalie and Nancy have saved their money in order to go with us.Â We are humbled by your love as demonstrated so tangibly by your financial gifts, words of encouragement and generous prayers.
For me, this is a spiritual challenge whose summit is far higher than I can climb alone.Â Some of you have prayed with me, and others assured me of your prayers during the planning and preparation, and I assure you, that without your spiritual support, I would not have had the faith to ascend to the peak of this mountain.
Depending on the time, and whether I have internet access, I may try to blog some from England.Â I will post a blog just before our departure, and I will share more when I return.
Ronnie, Gina, Natalie and Nancy