What is a ‘Scholars’ Consultation’? A fly on the wall’s perspective…

14 July 2017

When you hear the word “consultation”, perhaps memories of doctors’ appointments or examinations come to mind. But when we talk about Langham Scholars attending a “consultation”, there are no surveys, Government papers, surgeons or waiting rooms in sight. I had the privilege of attending a Langham Scholars’ consultation in Cambridge earlier this year, as a ‘fly on the wall’. It was extraordinary.

Global Diversity

Scholars take a well-earned coffee break!

Thirteen men and women from across the globe, who are studying for PhDs through the Langham Scholars programme in UK universities, gathered for an action-packed week of presentations, training, discussion, worship, prayer, outings and, of course, good food!

Westminster College was the venue of this consultation, organised and led by Dr Iain Shaw, Associate International Director of Langham Scholars, (ably assisted by his PA Elizabeth Hitchcock).

It was an opportunity for these PhD students to present their work to their colleagues and receive vital feedback and advice. I was honoured to sit in on two such presentations, the first by Henrikas Zukauskas, followed by Rula Mansour from Palestine, whose thesis is on church conflict management.

Fascinating insight

It was a fascinating insight into this topic, in the context of a part of the world crippled by violence in the name of religion. These Langham Scholars are tackling hard-hitting contemporary issues head on with a Biblical, academic and critical eye.

Langham Scholar care coordinator Liz McGregor delivered an lecture on the importance of discipleship, recognising the opportunity for evangelism and disciple-making while studying at a University. She referenced the pioneering work being done by Langham Partnership and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity on the topic of overcoming the sacred-secular divide. Liz encouraged the Scholars there to read this article on a recent consultation of theological leaders.

Valuable advice

Dr Peter Williams, Principal of Tyndale House, delivered a talk on ‘Handling Scripture Faithfully’.

Dr Peter Williams, Principal of Tyndale House, gave a talk on ‘Handling Scripture Faithfully’. He also gave some extremely valuable advice on nurturing one’s own relationship with God while studying. Speaking of sad cases where marriages have been sacrificed on the altar of PhDs, he implored the Scholars to prioritise family life while they studied.

The Scholars themselves greatly appreciate being able to gather for these consultations once a year. Langham Scholar Gustavo Monteiro, who is from Brazil and is studying in Edinburgh, said: “I’ve come across very talented, very interesting fellow believers and Scholars that are doing things that I have no idea about, and I’m getting a glimpse of what they are doing.

“It really helps me get a better vision of how the church of God in different contexts is developing so it’s a very interesting moment to have contact with these other Scholars, building relationships, hopefully a longstanding camaraderie.”

Alleviating the burden

He also highlighted the incredible support he receives from Langham, both personally and financially. Liz McGregor is a “superb point of contact”, and is “always there” to help with anything they need.

Gustavo commented that Langham Partnership has alleviated their burden by financially supporting him as he studies and cares for his family.

Langham Scholar Meron Gebreananaye Tekleberhan, from Ethiopia, said she felt as if she had been
welcomed into the “Langham family”, as they navigated the move from Africa to Durham.

Never alone

“When we came here, having Liz and [her husband] Malcolm here to check up on how we were doing made all the difference. We never felt alone, disconnected or abandoned.”

She said the most obvious way that Langham has supported her and her family is financially. You can partner with us in supporting Langham Scholars like Meron and Gustavo by donating here.

Please remember Langham Scholars in your prayers: you can download the PrayerMate App and subscribe to the ‘Langham Partnership UK and Ireland’ feed for regular prayer requests.

From every corner: 13 men and women, along with Langham staff, gather for a photo at Westminster College, Cambridge.

Victoria Marsay, Digital Content Producer, Langham Partnership UK and Ireland.

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