Four years ago I began this blog as I was about to make a temporary transition to life in the UK. When I returned to America, I left this method of communication behind. I must say I have often missed it, but I decided to shift to emails to family in friends as a more personal form of “blogging.” While I still like that format, and I don’t feel the need to have a wider audience than that, I have decided to revive this blog as I am looking toward making another similar transition as I did four years ago.
Jessica and I have been offered an incredible and unique experience to leave behind our wonderful lives here in Phoenix for a fledgling school that is officially opening up in September 2021. This school, as it so happens, is in Lower Gornal, England.
Tom and Hayley, the wonderful couple behind this school, have decided to spearhead the revival of England’s Christian heritage through robust education. Their vision is to open a classical Christian school in the United Kingdom, where there are currently none. While there are many Christian schools, and other schools that appear to be classical, there are no schools that merge the two in an inseparable way. In England, this form of education is an unknown. Christianity is known, but mostly as a cultural force, instead of as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Education overall has declined and now mirrors many of the problems seen in our own schools in the States. Yet, unlike the States, there are few alternative options. The King Alfred School, so named for the similar work that King Alfred advanced during his reign, seeks to restore classical, Christian education to the United Kingdom. The vision of the school is to provide a robust education that looks to Christ as the source of the Good, True, and Beautiful and desires to cultivate wisdom and virtue in its students.
While I could say much more about their vision, I will leave it there for now. I hope, even with the minimal description above, it is clear the Tom and Hayley have their work cut out for them. In our few phone calls (and many emails) I have gathered that they are currently in the process of renovating their school building, spreading the word about classical Christian education, fundraising, hiring staff, establishing curriculum, running a co-op as a “trial run,” and getting as involved as possible with the local community to recruit students to their new school. As you can imagine, funds are tight. They have been able to achieve much already, but with their conservative estimates they do not expect to be able to pay salaries to its teachers for the first year–maybe two.
They see their work as missionary in nature and, as I have listened to them, and done my research, I would have to agree. The United Kingdom is advanced in secularization and is very much post-Christian. While the faithful remain, there appears to be a spiritual poverty throughout the land. Into that poverty, Jessica and I have felt called to bring the wealth of classical education. As a result, we have lots to do. As you can imagine, preparing our move from Phoenix, AZ in January 2021 to relocate to the Dudley area in England by July 2021 is a tall order. And we don’t yet have the funding.
Below is the list of the work we have to complete stateside by June.
–Secure funding (we make our pitch to our church on February 7th. In order for this to become a reality, we will need pledged support of $2500 a month.)
-Renew my passport (In process)
-Apply for visas (and pay the NHS fees)
-Store up on insulin and test strips to cover the gap in “coverage”
-Buy one-way flights to the UK
-Last minute visits to friends and family
-Ship personal items, books, and kitchen supplies across the ocean
-Sell everything that is not stored or shipped
There it is! Written out, it seems rather short, but each item will take time. If you are interested in hearing how it all turns out, follow along!
I’m headed back.