Travel to Oxford went without a hitch. In fact, its hard to believe one could land at 6:55 a.m. and be moved into a dorm room at Oxford University by 10:00 a.m. Yet, United Flight #918 was timely; there were six people in front of me at the passport control line; my bags showed up promptly; and when I wheeled everything to the Central Bus Station, the bus to Oxford was leaving in five minutes. (Just Matson luck again.) The Oxford Bus Company runs a direct service from Heathrow to Oxford. The bus was unlike most buses I’d ever been own – it was pleasant, comfortable, uncrowded, was driven by a most pleasant bloke, and it was equipped with seatbelts (mandatory for those from the United States thinking otherwise), and Wi-Fi (free Wi-Fi, which worked fabulously). I’m not sure why you’d travel that seemingly brief journey (80 – 85 minutes) any other way.
I walked my two bags and two carry-ons up Banbury Road from the Gloucester Green bus stop. It was not even 9:00 a.m. and although it was a beautiful Saturday morning, there were very few people on the streets. (I’d learn quickly that the Brits liked to sleep in more than most Americans I know, excepting our daughter Amy.) Before long I arrived at Wycliffe Hall (54 Banbury Road) just north of City Centre (not a spelling error in the U.K.) and just about where “North Oxford” begins – where, I’d learn, one finds some of the most expensive real estate in all of England.
Equipped with a passcode to gain access to Wycliffe Hall, I entered to find no one awake, but an envelope with my name, room number, and key on an entrance table. Now, many may be envious of my opportunity to spend “Six Weeks in Oxford” (and let it never be said that I unappreciative of this opportunity), but I am living in a dorm room with a hall shower and a hall bathroom – and keep in mind that envy is one of the seven deadly sins.
Wycliffe Hall is one of the permanent colleges within the university system at Oxford. (More on that hopefully in a future post, because the system is fairly unique in the halls of higher education.) It is named after John Wycliffe (historically, his name is spelled in numerous different ways: Wyclyff, Wyclif, Wickliffe) who, as a precursor to the Protestant Reformation, promoted the translation of the Bible from Latin into English in the 14th Century, to permit Englishmen to be able to actually read the Bible in their own language — not surprisingly, such an unusual notion was very controversial idea. Wycliffe’s writings were forbidden and he was excluded from the University.
I am staying at Wycliffe Hall because of its affiliation with the Oxford Centre (again, not a spelling error) for Christian Apologetics (or “OCCA”) and for the affordable rent – 130 pounds a week (breakfast included). Not surprisingly. a college such as Wycliffe (which has tradionally taught theology and trained ministers) does not have alumni with the same giving capacity as graduates from colleges such as Christ College (pictured below), whose alumni include Lewis Carroll, John Milton and Charles Darwin. has More about the OCCA and my program of study later.