At the end of each CRES year in September we have the annual residential at Ripon College Cuddesdon nr. Oxford. We include in the residential some lectures, a field trip, and the final year presentations from our graduating students. There are some more photos on Facebook. This is what happened on September 6th & 7th 2013:
After coffee on arrival Principal Tutor, Dr. Martin Hodson, gave a lecture on the environmental history of the church. We then had lunch and set off in our cars for Oxford for our afternoon Field Trip. This was led by Dr. Andy Gosler and looked at the new Cowley Deanery conservation project. Our first stop was SS Mary & John Church on the Cowley Road, one of the most multicultural areas in Oxford. There we were met by Ruth Conway who explained the churchyard project that had been ongoing there for 10 years now. Then Andy took us on to the Church of The Holy Family, Blackbird Leys, set in an area of urban deprivation.
Finally we travelled up the ringroad to St Nicholas, Old Marston where we were met by the vicar Tony Price, who told us about his church. Andy Gosler told us his vision for a number of walks within Oxford connecting the churches and looking at the landscape history. We were fortunate that it did not rain too much! We were just back in time for the Christian Rural Concern AGM, followed by dinner. We then had a presentation from a first year student, Tony King-Fisher. Every residential we have a visiting speaker and this time we were pleased to invite our retiring external examiner Rev Dr Shaun Henson to give his lecture on ‘Environmental Issues in Science and Religion’. Late night prayers were then led by Rev John Whitehead. Thence to bed!
The Saturday was a beautiful sunny day and morning prayers were then led by Rev John Whitehead in the new chapel. After breakfast we had four excellent student presentations chaired by Dr Martin Hodson:
1) Rosie Ward started with her talk on “The Sawtry Local Food Challenge”. Rosie tried to live off only local food for 7 days.
2) Rosemary Benson prepared a five year plan for her local parish of Evershot in Dorset.
3) Bryony Webb asked “How do environmental projects contribute to the church’s mission”.
4) Tjirk van der Ziel’s thesis title was “Imagine! Man’s World in God’s Creation”
A superb morning with incredible variety.
After lunch the External Examiner met the students in the examiner’s meeting while the rest of the group played a game of boules. By mid-afternoon the results we determined, and the external examiner, Shaun Henson, made the announcement to the whole group. Rosie Ward, Rosemary Benson, Bryony Webb and Tjirk van der Ziel were all granted Certificates, and in addition Rosie, Bryony and Tjirk had distinctions. This was an exceptionally good year with all of the students averaging greater than the mid-60s. Many congratulations to them all!
Our running total is now 25 Certificates (8 with Distinction) and 4 Diplomas. The first CRES graduates were in 2005, and we have had 9 cohorts so far. So we are averaging 3.2 graduates a year! But think not of quantity, but quality, and the changed lives that have resulted. Great stuff!
It was a great weekend, but sadly we said goodbye to three highly influential CRES people: Shaun Henson had been our excellent external examiner for 4 years; John Whitehead had served CRES and CRuC in many capacities over the years; and John Neal was our longstanding Chair and Treasurer. We thank all three for their wonderful contributions to the course, and we are sure they will be back to see us in the future!
Dr Martin J Hodson (Principal Tutor)