Hey, I'm Kitty. Having just graduated from Durham, I'm moving down to Oxford to do Relay this year.
That's exactly what you would have heard 101 times if you were a fly on the wall during Orientation — my awkward introduction as I fumbled my words, remembering how to socialise again after 18 months of Zoom. Orientation saw all 56 Relay Workers from across Great Britain gather at Quinta Christian Centre in Shropshire.
Orientation was a snapshot of what the rest of our Relay year will look like. This was clear in how the Bible was prioritised in the schedule for the week and the emphasis on personal discipleship, both complemented by some practical seminars. Glancing back at my notebook full of notes, I’ve drawn out the three lessons I’ll be carrying with me into the year ahead.
Throughout the week, we looked at 2 Timothy and the central theme of grace. We saw that the Cross hadn’t just cancelled our sin but is more than sufficient to clothe us in righteousness. This grace demands a response of striving for holiness, with the Spirit’s help. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, ‘He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.’ In remembering the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the Cross, we were reminded that though we are weak, we can rely totally on His power and authority. This encouragement to cling to the simple truth of the gospel every day will help me to fix my eyes on Him in all circumstances.
Considering working for the glory of God taught me that though I am finite, with a limited capacity for the number of one-to-one Bible studies that I can fit into the 24 hours of a day, I am sustained by my sustainer. By understanding – even celebrating – our limits, we’re able to better serve the CU, our Staff Workers and one another. And there is grace for when we inevitably mess up; against the backdrop of our weaknesses and sin, the Cross of Christ shines even brighter.
In our daily Bible studies on Colossians, we dwelt upon the command to ‘bear with each other and forgive one another’. These Bible studies were themselves opportunities to put this into practise as we took it in turns to lead. We learnt together how to facilitate Bible studies in a servant-hearted, sensitive way and received feedback. Everyone contributed and encouraged one another so it didn’t feel like we were competing but rather striving for the same goal of making Christ known: as one Relay Woker put it, ‘the love was palpable’.
Gathering around delicious homecooked meals, bonding over late night maccies and laughing off getting lost on the way to the aqueduct were all highlights of our time together. But far beyond these memories was the sense that we were united in our salvation and our shared adoration of Christ. As a fellow Relay Worker reflected:
‘We were all worshipping together in the wonder of the Cross and there was a beautiful sense of unity in the room. Whilst we were from and going to completely different places – even different countries – we were united around our common Saviour, so had the most precious thing in common.’
I’m so encouraged by the movement from being strangers to realising our unity in Christ and status as brothers and sisters. Starting a year of unknowns and inevitable challenges is made less scary with the support of faithful friendships, built upon pointing each other to Christ.
My takeaway from Orientation is that we are servants of Christ, working by God's grace, for God's glory. This infects every area of our lives from ministry to admin, from support raising to preparing Bible studies. In those six days I learnt more than just the basic tactics of spikeball ('hit it UP'): I was taught gospel truths to treasure, organizational skills to grow in and the glorious reality of grace as the foundation of all we do.
The beauty of Relay is that it equips a generation of CU graduates to live and speak for Jesus not just for a year, but for the rest of their lives.
The first round of applications for the 2022/23 Relay Programme are open until 7th November 2021. If you’re in your final year at uni, why not consider Relay next year? For more information and to request an application pack, head to:
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