Relay blog: adapting to change
This years' cohort of Relay Workers have had a surprising end to their year. Both the way they support the CUs, and the way they themselves are supported, has changed significantly. Here, Georgia from Leeds reflects on what lockdown life is like on the Relay programme.
Hello and a very good lockdown to you all. I’m Georgia, and I work as a Relay Worker with Leeds College of Music (LCoM) CU and the Leeds Arts University (LAU) CU.
The CUs at both these universities are small, but the students are so passionate about Jesus and have such a welcoming and family-like attitude to their CU community. Having moved up from Sheffield where I studied Physiotherapy, I can say with a genuinely thankful heart that these guys have encouraged and challenged me so much - often in surprising ways, such as coming up with new ways to study the Bible by drawing, painting or making a sculpture of your response to a passage (I’ll spare you a photo of my attempt).
God’s strength in weakness
The current situation is very strange for everyone and, as Relay is such a people-ey job, things have been, unsurprisingly, different. For my CUs, transitioning to online fellowship was difficult and honestly, they found online evangelistic events even harder. However, both are now meeting weekly for a Bible study, prayer time or a social event, and amazingly we have even seen God working in the heart of an LCoM CU member’s friend! She is discovering the Christian community online, taking part in our quiz nights and now wants to join a seeker course at a local church. This is such an answer to prayer.
New weekly training
As well as meeting with the CUs and continuing with one-to-one’s, a real joy of my week has been the National Relay Online Training, that the legend, Tim Rudge (UCCF Field Director), has been organising for us (my fellowship group during a training session pictured right). We’ve spent half a day each week being guided in very practical ways by those with so much wisdom to share.
Some lessons learnt
Nay Dawson (IFES) and several other former UCCF staff and Relay Workers have shared about their experiences of virtual evangelism and how people engage differently online.
- International outreach online: during an early session, Sarah Dawkins (Friends International) gave real insight into this, which I found really helpful. I’ve since made suggestions to the students running our own Globe Café in Leeds.
- Keeping attention on Zoom: Karen Soole (Writer and Speaker) gave great food for thought on leading more engaging Bible studies, as typically your attention span is reduced by 10 times when using platforms like Zoom!
- Connecting with agnostics: Dr Dan Strange (Oak Hill) took us through a Biblical view of what it means to be human, and how we can use this to connect with those who are agnostic or happy with the inconsistencies in their worldview.
- Defining faith: we then had the wonderful Professor Dr John Lennox (Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University) teach us about ‘Science and Christianity’. Personally, Dr Lennox challenged me most by asking us to define ‘faith’, and what we mean by having faith in someone and whether our perception of this is the same as the not-yet-believer who we are asking to have faith.
Altogether, despite lockdown and the UCCF Staff Workers being furloughed, we have still been receiving thought-provoking, amazing, and very current practical training as our year on Relay is creeping to a close, and for this, I am incredibly thankful.
For more Relay news, check out this blog from Jack Payne.