Settling In at the University of Cambridge

At the end of a 50-minute train ride from London’s King’s Cross station lies the historic city of Cambridge.   There is a charm to this city that makes it a great place to live and study.   The 100,000 residents are huddled together in the English countryside like a copse of trees in one of Tolkein’s tales.   Cobblestoned streets lined with coffee shops and booksellers, churches, restaurants, and pubs wind through the thirty-one colleges that make up the University of Cambridge.  (The European structure varies from American universities.  Each college is a separate entity but is connected to the larger Cambridge system.)  The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209 and is the second oldest university in the English-speaking world.  Only Oxford, established a few years earlier, predates Cambridge and the two institutions are often referred to together as Oxbridge.  Cambridge ranks among the top research universities in the world. 

I am living in a 2-bedroom flat at the Tyndale House, a research centre for biblical scholars.  Currently, 10 residential scholars live on premises with their families while working on projects.  I’ve only just begun to experience life here, but author and pastor John Piper captured the spirit of the place: “My five-month stay at Tyndale House in 2006 was an extraordinarly productive time.  I loved it.  The combination of worship, fellowship over tea and disciplined seclusion surrounded by thousands of relevant books is unlike anything I have ever experienced.” 

Gonville and Caius LibraryI have access to the Tyndale House library just down the stairs from our little flat.  I am also spending a great deal of time at the Henry Martyn Centre, which houses one of the world’s finest libraries on missions and evangelism.  I just found out that there are more than 100 libraries at the University of Cambridge—and the central university library contains more than 8 million shelved books.  Wow!  (In the future, I’ll write about some of the things I’m studying.) 

I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity—to read, to pray, to study, to journal, and to dream.  My studies are just beginning—but I miss my church family already.  You will hear more from me later...