Maywards --> St Andrews
The Maywards are moving to St Andrews, Scotland and we need your help!
I (Joel) have been accepted into PhD studies at the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts (ITIA) within the Divinity School at the University of St Andrews. This academic journey means our family of five will move from the Portland, OR area to the coast of Scotland for three years of adventures and education in Europe. I’ll graduate from Portland Seminary with my MA in Theological Studies on April 28, and my PhD program (“programme” in Scotland) begins on September 27. Our whole family is thrilled by this opportunity, as it will be an incredible cultural experience for all of us, especially my kids.
Why a PhD? Over the past few years, I’ve been on a journey of discerning my vocation—who God has created me to be and what I’m called to do. After being in pastoral ministry for over a decade, God has been guiding our family into the world of theological education for me to move towards a new role of professor and teacher. I want to build bridges between the church and the academy, along with utilizing the arts (especially film) to foster conversations between cultures and faiths, seeing how the beauty of God could save the world.
Why Scotland and the University of St Andrews? I will be focusing my studies on the intersection of theology, ethics, and film; ITIA is a unique interdisciplinary program at one of the best, most highly regarded Divinity schools in the entire world. It’s the best possible program for this kind of study, and I’m grateful to get accepted. (Fun trivia: St Andrews is where the opening scene of "Chariots of Fire" was filmed, is considered the birthplace of golf, and is where Prince William and Kate Middleton met while attending university.)
The way visas work for the UK, we have to have proof of adequate finances within our bank account to account for each person in our family. To cover the travel and visa costs for our family of five, we will need to have at least $40,000 in our bank account by June in order to move to Scotland. Over the past two years, we have saved up nearly $30,000 for this adventure, so we need at least $10,000 more to reach our goal. Between accommodations, visa and travel expenses, school tuition, and various fees, we recognize that we need financial help and support from others. It’s not just about me—this is about supporting theological education and the arts, about building bridges between cultures, and about supporting the education and care of my children and family. We humbly ask for you to support us.
In the past few months, we have been asked by many people how they may be of help in this adventure. So we have come up with a number of ways that you can support us:
-Give financially. Please give a donation directly to this fund, or you can send us a check (Mail: 12435 NE 20th Street, Vancouver, WA 98684). If 50 people gave $100, and 250 gave $20, we'd reach our goal! Feel free to give whatever you feel comfortable giving; every donation means a lot to us.
-Give us stuff to sell (or buy our stuff). We are planning on having at least two garage sales to sell all sorts of things, including our furniture, TV, kids’ clothes and toys, and books. If you have something you’d like to donate for us to sell, we’d love to pick it up from you if you live in the Portland area. We are also looking to sell our Subaru Forester just before we go, so if you’re interested in a car, let us know.
-Give to our travel needs. We will need enough large pieces of luggage for our family of five, so if you have any luggage you rarely use, we’d love to take it to Scotland! If you have airline miles you could donate, we are also looking to offset our ticket costs—five plane tickets to Edinburgh can get pricey.
-Hire me. I’m available to write for your publications or speak for your conference, camp, class, retreat, etc. during the months of May-August. I can also do webinars on any of my three books. Contact me: jmayward (at) gmail.com
-Share this campaign. We don’t want to add to the social media noise, but we do want to share our good news and gain the support of anyone and everyone who wants to help. Share with your friends, family, co-workers, church small group, or anyone who cares about education and the arts. Use #maywardadventures if you're a hashtagging sort of person.
-Pray. Sometimes this can feel like the Christian spiritual add-on to these financial requests, but we’re quite serious—we truly need people to be praying for us, not only for the beginning of this adventure, but for its entire three-year duration.
One of our family’s values is to live a great story. This means developing our character, choosing difficult paths intentionally, and take the harder-but-better road. We see this move to Scotland as a new chapter in a greater story God is telling in and through us, and we invite you to be a part of that story with us. Check out our blog post for more of our story.
Grace and peace,
Joel, Katie, Copeland, Eloise, and Alister
It's been 6 weeks since we announced our move to Scotland and launched this campaign, and we've already received over 40% of our financial goal. We've seen how God has provided financially in unexpected and wonderful ways--gifts from friends and family, unexpected paid writing or speaking opportunities for me, and the quick arrival of our children's passports in the mail, in a season where passport renewals are often delayed (check out Eloise's less-than-thrilled passport photo). I've now successfully completed my master's thesis, picked up my academic regalia, and anticipate graduating from seminary on April 28. And my role at Lake Grove Presbyterian is coming to a close by July 1, with a new high school director coming in mid-June. It's a bittersweet season of closing this chapter in anticipation for the next one.
Still, there is much to accomplish. Here's what you can pray for:
-Housing. We check the various rental websites daily to look for a place in St Andrews adequate for our family's needs (something affordable, and walkable between the kids' school and my school). Pray we find the right place at the right time.
-Visa application. We're awaiting details from St Andrews, and can't receive a visa until 3 months prior to my program start (September 27). Pray all goes smoothly and timely.
-Travel costs. I'm daily checking flights from Portland to Edinburgh, and there's no simple or inexpensive way to get a family of 5 across the world.
-Funding. We hope to reach our fundraising goal by June 5, in anticipation of visa applications and the UK financial requirements. That's about 7 weeks away. You can donate to us via GoFundMe, or mail checks to Joel Mayward, 12435 NE 20th Street, Vancouver, WA 98684. We cherish every donation. Thanks for all who have already given or sent a word of encouragement!
We'll post more updates in the days and weeks to come. Thanks again for following along with our story.
Grace and peace,
Our family went down to the post office this week to renew our children's passports, a process which requires some complicated bureaucratic hoops to jump through. The entire family needed to be present, and our appointment was designated through the high-tech system of calling an answering machine and leaving a voicemail, then waiting a few weeks for them to call back. Still, our application went smoothly overall, including the moment where Katie and I both were asked to raise our right hands and swear that the three children scrambling about our feet and demanding more snacks were, in fact, our offspring.
Katie is also putting significant energy into downsizing our clothing, creating "capsule" wardrobes for the kids and selling or giving away the clothes we won't need or can't pack to Scotland. It'll be cold and wet, green and grey--much like the Pacific Northwest, only more so--and we are aiming for waterproof and warm. If it doesn't have a hood, isn't super warm, soaks up water, or won't fit in a year, it's gotta go! Our hope is to have our first garage sale in the next few weeks to free ourselves from many smaller items. We also likely won't have a dryer in our new home, so we're experimenting with how to dry our clothes on the line.
Finally, we've applied for student housing at the university. St Andrews is a small coastal town with a huge student population, so there are limited options for families. We continue to search various rental websites for potential new accommodations, but it's difficult to do online. New friends living in St Andrews have agreed to check out some places for us, though it's hard to discern what will work best for our family of five--we'll likely have 2-bedroom flat, though we're aiming for 3 bedrooms, partly to have more space for the kids as they grow older, and partly for potential guests who may want to come visit us. Please be praying that we find the right home at the right time in St Andrews--we trust that God will provide, as He's been so faithful to us in the past.
Thanks again for your continued support! We'll continue to keep y'all updated about our adventures, both here and at my personal website, JoelMayward.com
Grace and peace,
The day our blog post and this campaign went live, a generous friend gave us a significant gift, one which instantly helped us reach 1/3 of our goal. The thing is, the check was postmarked 3 days earlier. Our story and this campaign didn't prompt the gift; it was simply God's grace embodied in a friend. God knew the need, and provided in a most unexpected way. One hears about these seemingly random gifts--the envelope in the mail, the anonymous donor who gives just the right amount, the phone call or email offering help, etc. I think God has a sense of humor about these things. Grace and mercy are a delightful surprise and a reminder of God's presence.
We have set up appointments to renew passports, have plans for getting our visas, and are looking at dates and prices for airline flights. We also hope to have our first garage sale in late March to sell lots of our smaller items; we'll have another sale in the summer for larger stuff, like our couches, TV, and other furniture. If you want to claim any of the Maywards' belongings for yourself, or donate your own items to sell in our garage sale, email me: jmayward (at) gmail.com
There are still so many things to do, and we'll keep the updates coming! And thanks for your support and caring about our journey.
Grace and peace,