Tuesday, February 2, 2010


The very best continuing education experience I have had was two weeks at Keble College, Oxford, a few years ago. The subject was “The Eucharist,” the faculty was from Oxford and Yale, the student body (of about 25 people) was made up primarily of Lutherans, Episcopalians, (and even a few evangelicals) from the U.S., and, here’s the thing… it was in Oxford!

Caryl came along, we stayed in college rooms, and while I attended morning sessions, Caryl enjoyed the campus quad, walked the winding streets of Oxford, and enjoyed the cozy aisles of Blackwell’s Bookshop. In the afternoon and evenings we walked everywhere – to 900-year-old pubs, the Ashmolean Museum, the Thames River path, and concerts in the Sheldonian. Of course we visited the “Eagle and Child,” where Tolkien and C.S. Lewis met over pints to discuss their work; The Turf Tavern (Oxford’s oldest), where, supposedly, Bill Clinton “didn’t inhale;” and the “The Trout,” where the fictional Inspector Morse relaxed and pondered his latest murder case.

Yes I know, these are the reflections of a tourist, but, as the old saying goes, “everybody’s a tourist – only in different places.” (I’ve noticed that Brits who come to my native South Dakota expect to see “red Indians;” when I go to the UK  I’m unashamedly looking for the wattle and daub of Merry Olde England.) And a stay of two weeks resulted in a relaxed sense of residency rather than the anxiety of following a tour itinerary.

This experience has caused me to say to anyone who will listen: No matter what your occupation or vocation – doctor, lawyer, Indian chief – find a continuing ed. program in Oxford and sign up because .. it’s Oxford!

You can Google “Oxford summer,” or “Oxford continuing education.” And it doesn’t have to be study: most of the colleges have “Bed and Breakfast” accommodations – meaning you’re staying in a college dormitory and eating breakfast in “The Hall.” Here are a couple of interesting links: Keble College,  (click on “About Keble,” and “Conferences”). Oxford Continuing Education.

Photos: Top: "The Hall," Keble College, Oxford
Bottom: "Mary and Joseph Teaching the Infant Jesus to Read," The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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