Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Secret history of Oxford

Written by: on September 2, 2023


I have greatly admired and appreciated the UK’s Christianity and missionary work even though I haven’t been able to visit and spend sufficient time in the country. I am so glad to be heading to Oxford in a few weeks. There is no better introduction to the City than Paul Sullivan’s Secret History of Oxford. The book explores the hidden details behind one of the world’s most prestigious universities. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in uncovering the untold stories of this iconic institution.

The Origins of Oxford

The author traces roots back to the 12th century and skillfully weaves together excellent accounts of history, personal anecdotes, and extensive research to paint a vivid picture of the City’s early days.

The most ambitious investigators have pinned their hopes on prehistory. Three generations after the fall of Troy in 1200 BC, Brutus, a descendent of King Priam of Troy, founded Britain. His three brothers did equally well, establishing proto-versions of France, Germany, and Rome.[1]

From establishing its colleges to the rise of influential figures, readers understand how Oxford evolved into the renowned institution it is today.

This fantastic beauty sprang from so many scandals.

Sullivan reveals the darker side of Oxford’s history, unearthing tales of scandal and controversy. From academic fraud to espionage, he uncovers shocking incidents that have rocked the university. Sullivan’s meticulous research and attention to detail bring these stories to life, leaving readers fascinated and disturbed by the secrets buried within Oxford’s walls. With his engaging storytelling and thorough research, Sullivan offers readers a glimpse into incredible details shaping Oxford’s history. In addition to the scandals, Sullivan delves into the lesser-known aspects of Oxford’s history.

Development and development

Looking at the magnificent development in Oxford with such a rich history, I was quickly reminded of the great leaders who have been educated here and contributed to this great civilization. In another video by Rosie Crawford, she mentioned thirteen prime ministers had been educated at Christ Church College in Oxford, proof of the City’s great growth.

The City and College show a great heritage of faith and Christian for many years which has probably facilitated the growth and development. “There are forty-four colleges permanent private halls in the University of Oxford.”[2]

He uncovers the contributions of women and minorities, shedding light on their struggles for recognition and equality within the university. Through their stories, Sullivan highlights the ongoing efforts to make Oxford more inclusive and diverse. At the top of the Google search, I was greeted by Sacred, a testament to a continuous effort to make the college and city a more inclusive and diverse community.

SACRED – Safe, Inclusive, Evangelical – meets once a month. It aims to provide a safe worship space, evangelical in style and inclusive of those who are LGBTQI+. This service aims to provide a spiritual home, hope and healing, for those looking for vibrant and inclusive worship and spirituality. All are welcome; please pray for this initiative and those involved.[3]

One of the benefits of the Western Civilization is the ability to live peacefully regardless of disagreements. The LGBTQ+ has been a challenge to some of the African Leaders for several years.

Leaders in Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, and Tanzania have, in recent years, initiated vocal attacks against LGBT people. One way of looking at this is to recognize a pattern of stoking moral panics to detract attention from pressing social and economic problems and to defect political opposition.  It is also true that it is a measure of the success of activists on the continent, who have increased visibility and raised awareness about LGBT issues. In this respect, the scale of opposition is also a testament to the resilience and tenacity of a growing social movement throughout Africa.[4]


[1] Paul Sullivan, The Secret History Of Oxford (New York: The History Press, 2013).

[2] Sullivan, The Secret History Of Oxford.

[3] Sacred | Christ Church, Oxford University

[4] Progress and Setbacks on LGBT Rights in Africa — An Overview of the Last Year | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org)

[5] christ church cathedral oxford history – Google Search – Google Search

About the Author


Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe

Jean de Dieu Ndahiriwe is a Clinical Correctional Chaplain and former Child Refugee from War-torn Rwanda. A member of the Maxwell Leadership Certified Team, Jean is passionate about Servant Leadership and looks forward to seeing more leaders that inspire Lasting Peace and Justice for all, especially "the least of these".

8 responses to “Secret history of Oxford”

  1. Jenny Steinbrenner Hale says:

    Hi Jean, Hoping you had a great summer! Thanks for your post. What a great summary of Sullivan’s book. I especially liked the addition of the SACRED community. The description you included of the way they seek to come together is impressive, I think. What were your thoughts regarding the way this group is operating at Oxford? Is it student led?

    Are there any particular learnings you are hoping to gain while we are at Oxford in a few weeks?

    So enjoyed your post! Thank you.

    • Hi, Jenny,
      Yes my summer was awesome, thanks for asking. SACRED sounds student-led. There is no question that as they gather to seek the face of Jesus, he will manifest his sweet presence.
      Yes, I look forward to knowing more about this Great City and to reconnecting with our cohort. Can’t believe that will be our final inpeson meeting till graduation!

  2. mm David Beavis says:

    Jean! It was so great reading your post after a few months of break from the reading/writing/posting/commenting rhythm. I look forward to seeing you in Oxford in almost two weeks! I like what you had to say about the contribution of women and minorities at Oxford via Sullivan: “He uncovers the contributions of women and minorities, shedding light on their struggles for recognition and equality within the university. Through their stories, Sullivan highlights the ongoing efforts to make Oxford more inclusive and diverse.” Great work Jean! See you soon!

  3. mm Chad McSwain says:

    Hi Jean
    Great summary and post. I appreciate your work to uncover some of the effort to that is being done to make Oxford an inclusive community.
    What inspired you to dig a little deeper into these efforts?
    Looking forward to catching up!

  4. Hi Chad,
    Thanks for interacting with me on the post. Curiosity for learning keeps me inspired.

    I look forward to connecting and learning with you soon in the Great City of Oxford.

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