The Reverend Bill Sykes was Chaplain at Univ from 1978-2005. Throughout this time he led many 'reflection groups' with students - two, three or four students would meet in Bill's room to reflect on a chosen subject.
An Emeritus Fellow at Univ since 2005, Bill has now very kindly agreed to look back at some of this reflection material, for Old Members to read. Over the coming months, we will regularly release a new reflection on these pages of the website. In his own words, Bill tells us of how this idea to re-live his reflections came about.
I was talking to Development Director, William Roth. He was asking me what came to mind whenever the Development Office was mentioned. I said “raising funds from Old Members.” “Yes, that is one of its functions,”, he replied, “but I think we ought to be doing something more for our Old Members, something which is creative and positive and furthering development, following on from their education at Univ.
“What do you have in mind?”
“A lot of Old Members have spoken warmly of your Reflection Groups. I’ve gathered from them that for over twenty years you ran thirty different Reflection Groups each week in term time. Some of them have said it was the best thing they did in Oxford, and others that it was their most enjoyable and valuable hour of the week. I know you have retired, but would you be prepared to produce some Reflection material for our Old Members in each e-newsletter?”
“Yes, I would be prepared to do that, but before we go ahead can I tell you what I mean by Reflection? In Reflection we take a short phrase, or a short quotation, from a variety of sources – for example – the deep power of joy. We repeat it to ourselves several times, ponder on it, inwardly ruminate on it and use our thinking powers as far as they will go. Next we make use of the feelings, by this I mean our instinct, intuition, and emotions. We also use our imagination and our experience of life so far, which can be a valuable source in Reflection. Some like to have a pen and paper to hand, and write down their thoughts and feelings, as they Reflect. What we are trying to do is get the maximum value out of our Reflection. As we go deeper we open ourselves to Meditation, and deeper still – Contemplation.”
You can use the menu panel on the left to see each piece of Reflection material.