On Saturday 10 November SCIO faculty Dr Liz Baigent and Simon Lancaster hosted an alumni gathering in Boston, Massachusetts. Held at Park Street Church, the ‘Boston Tea Party’ drew fifty SCIO alumni from both OSP and SSO programmes from across the years.

A historic venue, Park Street Church is located on the Freedom Trail, and was originally founded with the aim of planting a church rooted in the orthodox Trinitarian tradition in the centre of Boston. The construction of the church began in 1809 next to the Granary Burial Ground, which was itself founded in 1660, and contains the remains of three signatories of the Declaration of Independence: John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, and Samuel Adams.

Three prizes were given out to students who were judged to have travelled the greatest distance in order to be present at the gathering, with two awardees making the long journey from California, and one flying in from Oregon.

Attendees were treated to some British fare, with sandwiches, scones, cakes, and two different types of tea served on or in vintage china. All alumni were awarded with a SCIO mug, which they were given as a memento of their time in Oxford.

Following the tea, the party were treated to an extremely entertaining, albeit somewhat chilly, walking tour led by SCIO alumna Genevieve Peterson, who was previously employed as a professional tour guide in the city of Boston.

Simon Lancaster commented on the gathering that:

Meeting alumni after so many years was wonderful and inspiring. Students from as far back as 2009 were present, from twenty-four schools across the US. For many this was the first time that they had visited Boston, and it was humbling that they would travel so far to catch up with SCIO faculty and other SCIO alumni. We had a lot of fun and drank plenty of tea. We are hoping that we can do more of these events in the future.

Following the event, Dr Baigent wrote:

It was lovely to see students from so many terms and to learn about all of the enterprising things that they have been doing since then. We like to keep in touch with our alumni as they apply for graduate school and their first positions, and it is good to see everyone flourishing. We are especially grateful to the Linnell family for their generous help in hosting the event. I do hope that the students will make good use of their SCIO Wycliffe Hall mugs, think of Oxford as they drink, and enjoy copious amounts of tea long into the future.

SCIO is indeed indebted to the Linnell family for their kindness and generosity: to Phoebe, who gave such an interesting talk about the history of the church, to Julian for his welcome, and to SCIO alumna, Madeline, who was so very central to the organisation of the event. We would also like to express our gratitude to Park Street Church, who were extremely kind in allowing us the use of their fabulous facilities.