e-Matters - 14th October 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

Meadow in AutumnWelcome to this edition of e-Matters, coming to you in the first week of the new academic year. Oxford is feeling very autumnal with cold nights and misty mornings but glorious sunshine in the day.

It is a pleasure to have the students back in residence and the college back to normal and busy life. After 2 successive bumper years of Freshers because of the way A Level marking was handled during the pandemic, around 134 have been admitted this year, putting less pressure on space. New Official Students in Classics, Economics, Russian, Medicine, Astrophysics and English have joined the SCR.

Last month, we were able to hold the first Association weekend since 2019, welcoming back alumni of all ages with friends and family members for day of activities and socialising. The AGM of the Christ Church Association was held on the Saturday (17th September) and the meeting is reported in this edition.

It was one of a number of great events that have taken place in the last few weeks. The years of 1986-1989 returned for their Gaudy at the end of September, filling the Hall to its max, and our Board of Benefactors reception took place at the House of Lords on 11th October, thanks to Lord Dobbs (1968). Photos of September’s events are on Christ Church Connections (chchconnections.org). Photos of the House of Lords event will be posted there next week.

The Christ Church Governance Review is underway, led by Dominic Grieve KC, PC. The views of alumni on the future governance of Christ Church are welcome and you will find further information about the review and how to contribute below.

With very best wishes,

Philippa Roberts

Development Director


News from the House

Photo of Dr Arlene Holmes-HendersonDr Arlene Holmes-Henderson features in a new film about policy engagement in the Arts and Humanities

Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson, Senior Research Fellow in Classics Education, features in a new film about policy engagement in the Arts and Humanities.

Oxford University’s Policy Engagement team followed Dr Holmes-Henderson to Parliament, interviewing the policy colleagues she works with and showcasing the impact her research and engagement is making in real world educational decision-making circles.

Dr Holmes-Henderson researches the impact of learning ancient languages in the 21st century, with a view to widening access to oracy education, Latin and Greek to state school pupils.

As an expert advisor she works with the Department for Education and the Oracy All-Party Parliamentary group to shape new policy.


Read the full article on the Christ Church Website here.



Photo of Father Richard PeersFather Richard Peers appointed Dean of Llandaff Cathedral

The Sub Dean of Christ Church, Father Richard Peers, has been appointed Dean of Llandaff Cathedral and will be installed in his new position on 20 November.

Richard joined Christ Church in 2020 at the height of the Covid pandemic, taking up the role of Sub Dean and residentiary Canon. Richard was formerly Director of Education in the Liverpool Diocese.

As well as having responsibility for the day-to-day life of the Cathedral, Richard has served as Chair of the Cathedral School, overseen around 80 Christ Church livings, and been a member of the Governing Body of Christ Church.

During what has been a difficult time, Richard has worked tirelessly to maintain the life of the Cathedral, encouraging a new, more diverse congregation and providing pastoral support to the students, academics and staff of the Joint Foundation.

Read the full article on the Christ Church website here.



Independent Governance Review

Christ Church is committed to a careful review of its governance structures and has commissioned a review to be undertaken by Dominic Grieve, KC PC, former Attorney General for England and Wales. The purpose of the Review is to ensure that Christ Church’s Statutes, By-Laws and governance arrangements continue to meet the needs of the institution as a constituent college of the University of Oxford in the 21st century. The last comprehensive review of the Foundation’s Statutes was conducted in 2011. The Review will encompass the governance arrangements of all parts of Christ Church including the Cathedral, College, and School. At the conclusion of the Review, Mr Grieve will prepare a report setting out recommendations for the Governing Body to consider.

The review will consider the current governance of the joint foundation, the role and size of the Governing Body, leadership of the College, Cathedral and School, the roles of College Officers and Committees and more.  The review aims to produce recommendations that will put the House on its best possible footing for the future. 

The Statutes of Christ Church can be found here. 

In thinking about the future of Christ Church, your constructive views on the following are welcome. 

·         The structure of the joint foundation

·         The structure of the senior leadership

·         The relationship between the Chapter and Governing Body

·         The roles of the Senior and Junior Censors

·         The role and size of the Governing Body

·         The potential for external members on the Governing Body and/or Committees

Please submit your contribution by email to Katherine Selwyn, PA to Dominic Grieve:   Katherine.selwyn@chch.ox.ac.uk


Christ Church Association AGM

The Christ Church Association AGM was held in the Research Centre (Thatched Barn) on Saturday 17th September. It was attended by around 40 people. Simon Mungall (1994) was elected as the new Chair, taking over from Robin Priest (1976) who has been in the role for the last seven years, and Kimberley Littlemore (1985) was voted on to the Committee. Joanna Harris, Joanne Hodnett, and Clare Pervez stepped down from the Committee, having reached the end of their terms. Tony Hart has also stepped down as Careers Rep after 15 years of service. We give our sincere thanks to Robin, Joanna, Joanne, Clare and Tony for their time on the Committee in different capacities.

For more information, minutes of the meeting can be found here.

The current Committee membership is given here.


Faces and Names Bar & LoungeDevelopment Office's Visit to the US

Lord Charles Cecil (Chairman of Development Board), Professor Roger Davies (Development Fellow), Philippa Roberts (Development Director) and Laura Jostins-Dean (Senior Development Officer) will be visiting the US next week, which will be our first visit since 2019. We very much look forward to seeing many alumni soon.

In addition to the dinners in DC (Metropolitan Club) and New York (Anglers Club), Philippa and Laura will be hosting an informal get together with drinks and snacks at Faces and Names Bar & Lounge in midtown Manhattan on Saturday 22nd October from 12pm-2pm. Do come along if you are in the area!


From the Cathedral Music Trust...

Tickets are still available for the Cathedral Choir’s special joint concert with the Choir of HM Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace on 22 November.  In addition to the concert programme celebrating St Cecilia, patroness of music, the evening will include exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ tours of the palace and talks for supporters of the Music Trust.  A reception in the spectacular King’s Guard Chamber with canapés and Chilworth Manor sparkling wines from the Surrey Hills will follow the concert. Tickets are available online at the cost of £75 p.p.  Please follow the link to book and pay, and to select a tour. Further important information is provided on the ticket website. 


The 2022 Christ Church Association "Open House"

Alumni Weekend DinnerSeptember 17th marked the return of the Christ Church Association "Open House," the first since 2019.

The day began with a lecture by Dr Neil Hart, titled 'When will the rains start? Managing climate risks in a warming world,' which was followed by the Christ Church Association AGM, the minutes for which can be found above.

After a buffet lunch in Hall, alumni and guests were delighted to listen to Professor Steven Grahl give a harpsichord recital in the Chapter House. Croquet and tea in the Masters Garden took place in glorious sunshine, as our students and custodians led tours of the College. We are especially grateful to Tom Conradi (2019, Russian and French), for giving an impromptu tour in Russian to three Ukranian refugees.

The evening ended with an evensong and dinner in Hall, which was an opportunity for members of the House from across generations and their guests to meet and share stories of Christ Church. 

Pictures from the event can be found here. If you have more photos you would like to share, please email development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk


The 1986-89 Gaudy & Launch of the Women's Portraits

Autumn GaudyWe were delighted to host the Autumn Gaudy on 30th September, with 1986-1989 matriculands being welcomed back to the House, alongside the launch of Christ Church's latest portraits.

The event included a lecture by Professor Yarin Gal, an evensong, a drinks reception in the Chapter House and Cloisters, dinner in Hall, and the chance to reminisce after dinner in the Buttery. Pictures from the event can be found here. If you have more photos you would like to share, please email development.office@chch.ox.ac.uk

Photo of Dr Henrietta Hughes and Kate Smith in front of their portrait.During the drinks reception, we were thrilled to showcase Christ Church's latest portraits, a series titled Women of the House. Students, staff, and alumni were invited to nominate individuals with a Christ Church connection for a group of portraits testifying to women’s contributions to both the House and the wider world over the past four decades. More than 200 names were submitted. Only a small fraction could be included in the present project, but we are already looking forward to future commissions that will allow us to portray many more of these and other individuals with links to Christ Church whose stories have not yet been told on the walls of the House.

The portraits have been gathered into an exhibition in the newly-refurbished Chapter House for the month of October, before they are put on long-term display in key locations throughout the College: Hall and Ante-Hall, Library, Lodge, JCR and GCR, Lecture Room, Common Room, Lee Building, and McKenna Room.

A great debt of gratitude is owed to all who enable these events to happen; many behind the scenes. Of course, our greatest thanks go to all of you for helping to create such a thriving Christ Church community.


News from Alumni

Osman Saifullah-Khan (1991): Floods in Pakistan

Floods in PakistanPakistan, the world's fifth most populous country has been struck by terrible flooding. The deluge has left widespread devastation in its wake, and vast swathes of the country, particularly in the southern province of Sindh remain under water. Even for a people not unfamiliar with flooding, the extent and magnitude of this episode are unprecedented.

The floods have claimed the lives of almost two thousand women, children, and men as well as those of countless livestock. Physical infrastructure has been washed away, and billions of dollars of damage done to the major commercial crops of cotton, rice and sugar cane as well as important vegetable crops. Tens of millions have been left without shelter, bereft of all their property and possessions and facing the prospect of hunger and lost livelihood. The standing water brings with it dreaded disease - particularly dengue and malaria. We may have defeated COVID 19, but dengue remains unconquered.

All of this has happened in the wake of political uncertainty and an economic and foreign currency crisis. A flood of biblical proportions has been unable to get the politicians to set aside their differences, even if only temporarily. The state of the economy and the fiscal situation imposes, at the worst possible time, a straitjacket on the Government's ability to help the flood affected. As is usually the case in Pakistan, private philanthropic activity, of which there has been a surge, has attempted to come to the rescue.

Floods in PakistanPakistan, and individual Pakistanis in particular, bear very little, if any, culpability for the devastation visited upon them. The country contributes almost nothing to global greenhouse emissions. Yet the impact of climate change, acting through glacial melt and torrential monsoons, has been particularly cruel to the country. Some of the most awful damage was done in the country's majestic northern areas, the ancient Buddhist Gandhara region. Swelled by melting glaciers from the Hindu Kush mountains, the raging Swat River washed away anything in its path, including multi story concrete buildings. Warming seas contributed to monsoons laden with up to 700% of the usual amount of rain, resulting in the flooding seen in the southern parts of Punjab province as well as the province of Sindh.

There are a great many organisations doing wonderful work in the flood ravaged regions. Pakistanis are a resilient people, but they need help. Members of the House who want to do so can donate via the links below. Even small donations make a huge difference. 








Wynford Hicks (1960): Insulting BehaviourPhoto of Wynford Hicks (1960)

Wynford Hicks (1960) recently self-published his memoirs, 'Insulting Behaviour... and other misdemeanours'.

The five-part memoir includes several chapters on his time at Christ Church, from 1960-63, described as part of an 'anarchist youth.' Readers can access the memoirs at http://www.hicksinfrance.net/.




Alex Morgan (1981): A Practical Guide to Camping

Book cover of A practical guide to campingAlex Morgan (1981) released her latest book, A Practical Guide to Camping.

Trevor and Alex Morgan and Suzanne Elsworth are co-authors of A Practical Guide to Camping – the ideal read for anyone who fancies camping out for the first time, or those who want a trip with a difference, taking bikes or boats to the pitch of their dreams or trying wild camping away from the world.

Combining the expertise of seasoned backpacker Trevor, who likes nothing more than a night in the wilds, his wife Alex, who loves long-distance treks away from civilisation, and confirmed “car camper” Suzanne, who wants a little luxury with her adventure, the book aims to inspire those who have never spent a night under canvas, as well as those who want to take their travels to the next level.

Alex, a former journalist and editor who has written an award-winning novel, Tandem, and has another in progress, added: “We hope the book is a fun read, as well as offering that practical advice. What kind of camper are you – and what kind of camper do you want to be? What’s your idea of camping heaven and hell? Do you crave isolation and tranquillity, a lively social life or family fun?”

A Practical Guide to Camping is on sale from all major bookstores and online retailers. It can also be purchased direct from Pen & Sword.



Lafiya NigeriaKlaudia Chmielowska (2017): Lafiya Nigeria

Members and Friends may remember the article featuring Lafiya Nigeria in the March edition of e-Matters.

Lafiya Nigeria, co-founded by Klaudia Chmielowska (2017), is a global health non-profit organization that seeks to empower women and girls through access to contraception. More than 222 million women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe and voluntary family planning. Nearly 90,000 women die each year from complications of unintended pregnancies. By using a cost-effective and community-based distribution model, Lafiya Nigeria provides women and girls with access to contraception and information about family planning. 

Since March 2022, many exciting updates have taken place as they launched their programme in Nigeria. They have finished their pilot and reached 2400 women with life-saving contraception. The end-to-end cost of each contraception delivered is only $ 3 USD. They are excited that their odel works so well and proves to be so cost-effective. 

If you would like to learn more about Lafiya Nigeria and its work, click here and watch this video.  

If you would like to make a gift, you can do so by clicking here.

Lafiya Nigeria is also looking for volunteers to help them grow. If you are interested, please contact Klaudia by emailing klaudiachmielowska1998@gmail.com.


Book cover of LochranzaMark Haviland (1974): 'Lochranza'

'Lochranza' is a fantasy novel that takes us into the imaginary world of Anoone. We meet Ben Troon, who travels around his world recording all that he sees in a journal, 'The Book'. Read the full article here.


Mark Girouard (7 October 1931 – 16 August 2022)

Dr Mark Girouard (1951, Classics) died on 16 August 2022. Read the full article here.


Other News

Book cover of Index, A History ofIndex, A History of the by Dennis Duncan Review

Index, A History of the by Dennis Duncan is published by Allen Lane.

An index is an arsy-versy tool: it enables us to sneak into a book from the rear end, saving the time it would take to advance through the text from the beginning. Jonathan Swift, quoted by Dennis Duncan in his witty and wide-ranging study of the subject, compares readers who use such short cuts to travellers entering a palace through the privy.

In two less cloacal anecdotes, Duncan identifies the index as a convenient hiding place for academic backstabbers. During the 1690s, a snarky faction at Christ Church, Oxford, defamed the great philologist Richard Bentley by mocking up an index that gave page references for “his egregious dullness” or “his familiar acquaintance with Books that he never saw”. This learned amusement still helps to pass the time in our ancient, addled universities. The historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, having spent an embattled few years in the 1980s as master of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, revenged himself on his detested colleagues in the index to a book of essays, where he directed readers to “Peterhouse: high-table conversation not very agreeable, 46; main source of perverts, 113”.