RZIM Zacharias Trust recently organized a special event in Oxford to celebrate God’s goodness as shown through the life and ministry of one of the UK’s most prolific and longest-serving evangelists, Rev. Canon Dr Michael Green.
The event, held in October 2009 and attended by more than 160 people, included a whole host of family, friends and colleagues ranging from those who have known Michael Green since his school days, to those who now serve with him at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). Michael used the occasion not only to share his life-long passion for evangelism and apologetics, but also to highlight the increasing importance of institutions like the OCCA in training future generations of believers to share the gospel of Christ more effectively in an increasingly secular world.
Designed to honour Michael Green in his 80th year for his work as Chaplain, Missions Coordinator and Lecturer at the OCCA in the run-up to his retirement next June, the event began with the Inaugural Michael Green Lecture. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University, and Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford, presented this at St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford. Professor Lennox, an adjunct professor of the OCCA, spoke on Is faith a delusion?[audio:http://media.rzim.eu/MG_InauguralLecture_Oct09.mp3|titles=Is Faith a Delusion?|artists=John Lennox]
A leader in the field of evangelism and apologetics will present this lecture annually.
The lecture was followed by dinner at St Aldates Church, where Michael Green was Rector for 12 years. Following a welcome by Lord Carey of Clifton (the former Archbishop of Canterbury) and Rev. Charlie Cleverly, Rector of St Aldates, the evening included a surprise This is Your Life show for Michael Green. This involved speeches from many different figures spanning the years, including Lord Carey (who was a student under Michael, then a co-worker, then his boss), and film contributions from Jonathan Aitken (former MP and student at Wycliffe Hall) and Dr Ravi Zacharias, President of RZIM.
Many of those speaking – including some who travelled from America and Canada to join in the celebrations – testified to both Michael Green’s infectious passion and energy for the Gospel and the strong pastoral concern for others that typified his evangelism over the past sixty years. Alister McGrath, Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education at King’s College, London, and President of the OCCA, echoed this sentiment and highlighted the need for more people like Michael. This theme was continued in Michael Green’s concluding address, where he stressed that the rise of pluralism, relativism and atheism in today’s society only helped to illustrate how urgent the need was for evangelists to be trained in apologetics.
Michael Ramsden, European Director of the RZIM Zacharias Trust and OCCA Director, presented a special gift to Michael and Rosemary Green before the evening closed with a time of prayer for the nation.
New lectureship post and bursary fund set up in honour of Michael Green
RZIM Zacharias Trust has announced that there will be a new Lectureship post established in honour of Michael Green. At the same time, the Michael Green Bursary Fund – to enable students to attend the OCCA One-Year Programme – is to be expanded.
Michael Ramsden said:
“I am personally delighted to have Michael Green playing such a key role at the OCCA. Before he retires, he shares a burden to establish the OCCA on a firmer footing, knowing how crucial it is for Christians in this age to give clear and well-considered reasons for the hope that they have.
“Given his plans to retire in 2010, we are seeking to appoint a Senior Academic Tutor to the OCCA to spearhead the programme, so that it can continue to expand and develop. In honour of Michael, we have decided to call this new post the Michael Green Lectureship in Evangelism and Apologetics.
“At the same time, we remain committed to ensuring that the very best candidates can enroll regardless of their ability to pay. A Michael Green Bursary Fund has already been established and we wish to develop this fund significantly as we seek to more than double the number of students on our annual course over the next three years.
“Please pray with us, as we continue to train evangelists and apologists around the globe, that they may know God’s protection as they continue to fulfil their calling in Christ. Pray too, that extra resources will be provided, so that we may effectively prepare the next generation for His service.”