Oxford Summer School
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Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
Christians are faced with many challenges in the modern world. Our belief has to withstand numerous tests, whether they come from opposing intellectual, legal, philosophical, ethical, scientific, theological or even personal viewpoints. Yet we also live in an increasingly inter-connected world, which presents us with an amazing and unprecedented opportunity to reach others.
What is the best way of communicating with people in the global marketplace of ideas? What do we say, for example, to those who believe our modern understanding has rendered Christianity redundant or that it is more ethical or better for society to be an atheist? Can we respond to these and other challenges? Are we willing to go against the flow and become courageous witnesses who are prepared to stand up for what we believe? The 2016 Zacharias Trust Oxford Summer School is designed to help Christians become confident communicators for Christ, in order to make a real difference in today’s world.
The daily Bible teachings on the life of Daniel from Professor John Lennox will be complemented by key talks from leading Christian thinkers including Dr Os Guinness, Michael Ramsden, Amy Orr-Ewing and Ravi Zacharias. Delegates will also have two nights to pit their questions to our team of apologists in the well-established and popular ‘On the spot’ evenings, with opportunities to pick up on core talks including issues as broad as identity and gender, human consciousness, human dignity, bioethics, and freewill. All in all, this is a wonderful opportunity to come and be encouraged, equipped and assured that the Gospel remains the power unto salvation for all.
Oxford Summer School Special 2016
The RZIM Zacharias Trust Oxford Summer School in 2016 boasts a series of four gala dinners throughout the week-long event.
This will give delegates the opportunity to relax together at the end of the day in a variety of exciting settings including the world-famous Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Here, you will experience an exclusive tour of the palace before a drinks reception and sumptuous dinner together.
Delegates will also enjoy a private dinner in the stunning setting of Magdalen College, following a keynote lecture and walk through the beautiful grounds once frequented by the 20th Century’s greatest apologist C S Lewis.
The first night will see delegates attend the opening lecture and welcome gala dinner at Oxford’s historic Town Hall, while the closing Friday night event will see the 1,000-year-old St Aldates Church converted into the perfect setting for a black-tie farewell dinner.
As in previous years, the Summer School will retain its trademark week of apologetics talks, seminars and Q&A times, with ready access to our team throughout the week (see programme above).
This time, we are giving all delegates the opportunity to book their own accommodation in a variety of hotels or B&Bs to suit all needs and budgets. To make this easier, a list of options with the booking process is shown below. Of course, this new format also means that those who already have access to accommodation in Oxford – or who have alternative sources – will find this year’s Summer School costs to be more competitive than in previous years. We look forward to welcoming you.
The Oxford Summer School will begin on the afternoon of Sunday 3rd July, and end on the evening of Friday 8th July. We therefore recommend arriving in Oxford by lunch time on Sunday 3rd, and departing on Saturday 9th. Although if travelling from abroad we would of course encourage you to stay in the UK for longer to make the most of your trip if you are able!
For those who have attended a Summer School before, you will be aware that places have historically been divided into various different categories. This year things will be far simpler! Due to the change in format, there will be just one ticket type and one cost for all.
The total cost for an individual place to include tuition, course materials, four gala dinners and tours of Oxford and Blenheim Palace, will be £1,100 GBP.
This is greatly reduced from the 2015 fee to allow for the fact that accommodation is no longer included. Lunches are also not included so this has been taken into account as well.
Once you have booked your place, we ask that a £400 deposit (per person) is paid within 7 days. The remaining £700 is due by Monday 29th February 2016.
How to book
Online booking will open on Wednesday 9th December. Follow the link at the top of this page that will take you to Eventbrite, our booking site. Once you have completed the online booking process you will need to contact our UK office within 7 days to pay your deposit of £400 (GBP). The number to call is +44 (0)1865 302 900 and payment can be made by most major credit or debit cards, but please note we are unfortunately unable to accept American Express. The remaining balance is due by Monday 29th February 2016.
You will also need to book your accommodation and details on how to do this are explained below.
Summer School 2016 – Accommodation
We are delighted to inform you that RZIM Zacharias Trust has been able to secure discounted rates for Summer School guests at the four hotels detailed below. We have an allocation of rooms available at each of these locations until the dates specified, at which point all remaining rooms will be released and the rates quoted below will no longer apply. You simply need to select your preferred hotel, call the number provided (booking online will not guarantee the agreed price) and quote the reference relevant to that hotel. You will need to have a payment card to hand as the hotel will ask you to secure your booking by paying/providing your card details over the phone.
The two main venues being used for the 2016 Summer School are St Aldates Church and the Oxford Town Hall (opposite St Aldates) – both of these locations are right in the heart of the city. You will see that three of the four hotels below are a little further out of the city centre, however we have ensured that all are easily accessible by public transport, or on foot depending on how energetic you are feeling! The local bus service in Oxford is exceptional and you will find details of bus routes and fares in our FAQ document further down this page.
There will be Zacharias Trust hosts based at each of these four hotels on the first day of the Summer School (Sunday 3rd July) to welcome you and assist with bags. They will also remain on-hand to make the journey with you from the hotel to Oxford Town Hall for the first Summer School event, beginning late afternoon on the Sunday.
It is our intention that having an allocation of rooms at a selection of hotels will make things as straightforward as possible for our Summer School delegates when making reservations. However, there is absolutely no obligation to stay at one of these locations. It may be that you know people in Oxford who you would like to stay with, or that you would prefer to stay in a smaller boutique Bed & Breakfast, of which there are many in and around the city of Oxford. In addition to the four hotels detailed below, we have also provided you with a list of alternative accommodation options. Please note we do not have special rates agreed at any of these places, and we would always advise carrying out your own research into a specific venue before booking.
Whichever option you choose to go with, we hope the change in accommodation arrangements for the 2016 Oxford Summer School will allow you the flexibility to tailor the trip to suit your own preferences.
Hotels with room allocations for the RZIM Zacharias Trust Summer School
Basic information for each hotel is listed here, but for full details please go to the respective websites.
The Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel, Abingdon Road – £155 per night for single occupancy, £165 per night for double occupancy. Please quote reference SUMM030716 if you wish to book a room at this hotel. Rooms are on hold until Sunday 15th May.
0.7 miles from St Aldates Church and Oxford Town Hall
15 minute walk
8 minutes by bus
Facilities include a leisure club, free car parking on-site, restaurant, bar, and lounge area. The hotel also has very good bus links directly to St Aldates Church.
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 324 324
The Old Bank, High Street – Nightly rate is between £285 and £330 depending on the day (weekends are more expensive), and breakfast is not included but is available in the hotel restaurant at an additional charge. Please quote reference RZIM when calling to book a room at this hotel. We only have a very limited number of rooms on hold here so do book quickly to avoid disappointment. Rooms will be on hold until Friday 20th May.
0.4 miles from St Aldates Church and Oxford Town Hall
7 minute walk
Less than 2 minutes by taxi
The Old Bank is one of Oxford’s finest hotels. Attached to the hotel is the Quod Brasserie serving food throughout the day. All bedrooms are fully air-conditioned and have complimentary Wi-Fi. Secure on-site parking is available free of charge.
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 799 599
The Oxford Hotel (Peartree) – £130 per room per night based on single occupancy. Please inform the hotel if you require a double occupancy room. The reference to quote should you wish to book a room at this hotel is ZACH030716. Rooms will be on hold until Sunday 1st May.
3 miles from St Aldates Church and Oxford Town Hall
45 minute walk
15-20 minutes by bus
The Oxford Hotel is situated to the north of the city centre. It is a little further out than some hotels, but this is reflected in the very reasonable nightly rate. Facilities include a health club with swimming pool, free parking and Wi-Fi, and good bus links to the city centre, as well as a restaurant serving food all day.
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 489 988
Hawkwell House, Iffley – £149 per room per night for single occupancy, £159 for double occupancy. Please quote RZIM Zacharias Trust when calling to book.
2.5 miles from St Aldates and Oxford Town Hall (depending on route)
35 minute walk (only 1.9 miles via shortcut)
15-20 minutes by bus
Hawkwell House has the look and feel of an English countryside hotel, but with the convenience of being just 15 minutes from the city centre of Oxford. Facilities include free on-site parking, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, a restaurant, bar area and garden with BBQ terrace. Rooms on hold until Sunday 1st May.
Tel: +44 (0)1865 749988
Alternative accommodation in Oxford
81 Banbury Road, Oxford – A guest house run by Tim and Miriam Maughan, who are friends of the ministry. Approximately £80 per night (mention that you are coming to an RZIM event). Telephone +44 (0) 1865 557 236 to book. Cost includes a delicious cooked breakfast! 20 minute walk/5 minute bus to St Aldates Church and city centre.
Cotswold Lodge Hotel – www.cotswoldlodgehotel.co.uk/ (20 minute walk/5 minute bus to St Aldates Church and city centre).
Oxford University – College rooms – The University will often rent out rooms in the many city centre colleges during the summer months. They vary in price and standard but you can search www.universityrooms.com/en/city/oxford/home to find out what is available for the dates of your stay.
Best Western Linton Lodge – www.bestwestern.co.uk/hotels/best-western-linton-lodge-hotel-83647 (15-20 minute walk/10 minute bus to St Aldates Church and city centre).
The Buttery – www.thebutteryhotel.co.uk/ (Very central location, 5-10 minute walk to St Aldates Church)
The Galaxie Hotel – www.galaxie.co.uk/ (30 minute walk/10-15 minute bus to St Aldates and city centre)
Old Parsonage Hotel – www.oldparsonage-hotel.co.uk/ (10 minute walk to St Aldates Church)
Malmaison Oxford – www.malmaison.com/locations/oxford/ (5-10 minute walk to St Aldates Church)
The Bocardo Hotel – www.thebocardo.co.uk/ (5-10 minute walk to St Aldates Church)
Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel – www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-6668-mercure-oxford-eastgate-hotel/ (5-10 minute walk to St Aldates Church)
Remont Oxford – www.remont-oxford.co.uk/ (45 minute walk/10-15 minute bus to St Aldates Church)
Holywell Bed & Breakfast – www.holywellbedandbreakfast.com/ (10-15 minute walk to St Aldates Church)
The Tower House – www.towerhouseoxford.co.uk/ (10 minute walk to St Aldates Church)
Travelodge, Abingdon Road – www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/599/Oxford-Abingdon-Road-hotel (45 minute walk to St Aldates Church/10-15 minute bus to St Aldates Church)
YHA Oxford – www.yha.org.uk/hostel/oxford (15 minute walk to St Aldates)
This is just a very small selection of the accommodation on offer in and around the city of Oxford. Many other alternatives can be found by using sites such as www.booking.com, www.laterooms.com, www.tripadvisor.co.uk and www.trivago.co.uk.
We have put together a document containing various details that we feel will be helpful to you when planning your trip, including airport information, transfers, local transport within Oxford city centre, what to wear etc. Please read through this document thoroughly to ensure that your trip runs smoothly from start to finish.