Cross-cultural learning

Last summer three Trinity students engaged in learning experiences that broadened their understanding of the global church, and what it can mean to be a Christian and to be a vicar.

Ordinand Rebecca Heath-Taylor completed a placement in Harare, Zimbabwe with a charity called Cross-Over. Cross-Over aims to meet the educational needs of poor communities where family units are under extreme pressure. The approach allows students to remain within their families while at the same time providing emotional support and counselling together with practical and relevant education. The project is community-based and currently has 85 children and 9 mentors. ‘I was staying with a Shona-speaking family who live just outside Harare, and who lead a peri-urban Shona church,’ says Rebecca, whose parents were born and grew up in Zimbabwe. ‘I was working in Cross-Over’s “pop-up classroom”, where I supported the regular teachers, developing their curriculum and teaching resources as well as teaching some of the children myself. It was a really special time, where I witnessed the love of God in the teachers and the children they served.’

PhD student Sam Rylands spent a week in Russia this summer alongside other Church of England ordinands and clergy for the opportunity to dialogue with ordinands and clergy in the Orthodox Church. The group travelled from Moscow to a monastery in Diveyevo and finished with a trip to a seminary in St Petersburg. ‘I was struck by the unashamedness of their faith,’ Sam says. ‘With all the church there has been through because of persecution, it gives them a boldness in their identity.’

Ordinand Matt Stone travelled to Malawi for two months, spending four weeks of that time at a placement in an Anglican church in a small town. During his time there, he primarily shadowed the priest and preached a few times through a translator. ‘The priest would visit the people with illness who couldn’t come to church, and honestly a lot of his time was spent trying to find solutions to help people get food—it was a very hand-to-mouth existence there. I had wanted to see what church was like on the other side of the world, and some of the people I met were some of the poorest people on earth. This experience really opened my eyes.’

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