My Sabbatical at Ripon College Cuddessdon, Revd Canon Jacob Oyange
Sabbatical leave is something known to many people who are employed and even for those who are working for church. I’m Revd. Canon Jacob Robert Oyange. I have been the Dean of St. John’s Cathedral in the Diocese of Mara, Tanzania from 2005-2009. In 2009 the diocese of Wakefield agreed to sponsor my sabbatical leave in UK, doing MA in ministry. The Bp Platten of Wakefield chose Ripon College as a place to spend my time.
MY JOURNEY TO UK
My trip to UK was well organized by my bishop, Hilkiah Omindo Deya. My passport and visa were processed well and my journey to UK began on 20 October 2009, and the following day I arrived in Dar-Es Salam, where I spent two days and arrived in UK on 24 October 2009. Dr. Tim Naish, (whom I thought was working in the international student’s desk), came to pick me up from Heathrow Airport, with cheerful face. He welcomed me at the college cheerfully (as an African, that was a great sign of welcoming). From there it took us almost 45 minutes to arrive in the College. This was my first time in UK.
LIFE IN THE COLLEGE
After being introduced to some few staff members and few students too who were at the college, (because students were in leave) a wife of the principal Rev. Canon Prof. Martyn Percy who was also working as a chaplain at Oxford University invited me at the choir day celebration. The celebration was well organized and we enjoyed to become part of Oxford University.
The following day was Saturday, I and Irene, a student from USA who also joined the college, we made unforgettable trip to Isle of Wight – Southern coast of England. It was amazing trip. I counted this as part of my Sabbatical time in UK but also study tour. We met with different people from different parts of the world, we talk and shared our views together and in evening we left the Island back to Cuddesdon
Life in the college, according to me was not so much different from our life here in Tanzania, despite that UK is developed country and her technology is very higher. Students in the college were willing to assist and give directions wherever I was in need. Lecturers as well were very generous, they knew time I needed support, they were very kind.
MY TIME IN THE CLASS ROOM
The life at Ripon College Cuddesdon was a life of studying, a life of looking books and worship the Lord. Students and lecturers, everybody playing her/his part according to what they wanted to achieve. This caused my life at Ripon to become a busy life of studying and worshipping. Every time Dr Mark Chapman leads us down to the college chapel for meditation and shares the word of God. This increased my spirituality. However, we visited some colleges for worship and sometimes they came in our college for the same purposes. We go for study tour as part of learning. All these helped me to grow and enjoy and fill happy in my time and within nine months I had already completed five long essays and I remained with one long research essay.
We sometimes had games, and sometimes invite some colleges from within Oxford to come to our College for different games. We had picnic and visiting different places.
Thus, it will be unfair without mentioning names of some great lecturers and the most important people to me during my time at Ripon, despite the truth that, they were many but let me mention few of them. Dr. Margaret Whipp who was the dean of studies, and Dr. David Heywood who was director of Pastoral studies taught me how teach others to learn, Dr. Tim Naish, director of mission who also taught me spirituality subject, Dr. Michael Lakey and Helen Cameron taught me as well, Dr. Charlotte Methuen and Dr. Philip Tovey, lecturer in Liturgy and Church history, and this was wonderful.
My last comment that I would like to make is to, Revd Canon Prof. Martyn Percy, the principal of the College who invited me several times in his house for meals or for a talk. He gave me good time of knowing each other and encouragement. May God bless him.
I would like to conclude this by saying that; I’m still doing my last portfolio which I hope to complete soon as possible. But my desire is to go back to Ripon College once I get time. This due to the profound understanding they brought in my mind and skills I received and immeasurable generosity that they showed me contributed a lot of knowledge and understanding in my ministry and my life. I thank God for you all.
Revd Can Jacob Robert Oyange
The Dean of St. John’s Cathedral/Director of Christian Education