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Duncan Forbes, a former independent student at Oak Hill and a church leader in South London, says...

A bloke just out of prison sat on my sofa and said:

"If someone told me a year ago I'd be sitting in a pastor's living room, I wouldn't believe them. But you come from the same place as me, you've grown up the same way as me but you're a Christian! I look at you and I see there's hope for me, I see what I could become."

He'd thought Christianity was only for middle class people – that it wasn't for someone from a council estate. I understand that, because the church is mainly geared for middle class culture.

It's one of the reasons I planted New Life Church on the Alton Estate – one of the largest council estates in the UK. And it's why we've started from scratch. We've had to ask: what should the Christian council estate man or woman look like?

What about when his family are threatened? When her neighbours are causing endless problems? If he's asked to be a witness at a trial, but then threatened by a gang to not testify? If she's struggling with drug addiction, and tempted by the easy availability of drugs?

These issues have made us search the scriptures to ask for God's wisdom.

Studying at Oak Hill while pastoring has really helped me do this. One of the reasons I picked the college was its emphasis on biblical languages. They're essential tools for me – in the theologising process I'm involved in, and for preaching God's word.
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  Also see  
  Sinead Bryan  
  Sinead Bryan is an independent student at Oak Hill and a university mission worker.  
  Luke Foster  
  Luke Foster, an Anglican ordinand studying at Oak Hill, is now curate at St Paul's, Banbury.