In 1919, Norman Grubb had a vision for every university to have a witnessing Christian Union. As young student at Cambridge University, he wrote this:
"I had one overwhelming urge - to get around to all the rooms of the men in my College and witness to them. I did this, though often it cost me a lot to do it. Before I left university, the Spirit distinctly came on me to go and speak in no uncertain terms to all I knew personally who had not accepted Christ, or who at least showed no sign of spiritual life. There had been this definite "commission" that I had to give myself to witness in the university. I went and pulled no punches, and a number came out for Christ, about 16 of them. This caused a stir like a touch of revival. As I shared these experiences with others in the Christian Union, it came like a vision to me that every university and college in Britain and the world should have its evangelical and witnessing Christian Union, as we had. Little did I then realize that this was the start of what has since grown to become the world-wide ‘Christian Union’ Fellowship, now in hundreds and probably thousands of colleges in all nations."
Our work began over 100 years ago. Since then, the cultural landscape of a previously Christian nation has changed dramatically. Christianity has lost any sense of ‘home advantage’ amongst younger adults today and it’s not evident to most students why their search for answers should start with Christianity over and above any other religion or philosophy. At the same time, we are observing a current sense of spiritual openness amongst university students that surpasses that of recent decades.
In spite of these changes, the vision of UCCF is the same today as it was back in 1919 - to give every student an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel.
Objectively, there is more opportunity to make Jesus known in our universities than any other secular institution. And wonderfully, students continue to demonstrate a marked boldness and passion to speak of Jesus with those around them.
As they study and live alongside their peers, and with the support of UCCF staff and local churches, CU students continue to have an unparalleled opportunity to impact for the university for good, in Jesus' name.
This time last year, Kyle couldn’t have imagined standing up in front of 150 people to share his story of coming to know Christ’s love for him. Not least because he hadn’t yet met Jesus! But at the CU’s mission this year, he was able to share his testimony. A few years ago, Kyle found himself in a crisis of meaning and purpose, with mental and physical health struggles. In his suffering he looked for self-help solutions, but he didn’t find peace. After a year in Norway, where he had met some Christian students, Kyle returned to the UK and connected with Newcastle CU so that he could continue asking questions about faith. As he attended CU meetings and church services, he resonated with the disciples asking, ‘Where else can I go?’, beginning to understand that Jesus is the only way to a relationship with God. Wonderfully, he put his trust in Christ.
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