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Relay Blog: October 2016

Relay has felt a bit like being a fresher all over again in so many ways: a new city, a new routine, and a lot of new people.

This has definitely made me more empathetic as I’ve welcomed freshers to Oxford (although I haven’t been much help with directions!). Between freshers’ banquets, college CU meet-ups and outreach, the first two months of Relay have felt like a bit of a blur. The busyness of university life has made me so grateful for monthly team days away with the Central team. It’s been so refreshing to step back from everything and be reminded of Jesus’ surpassing worth – what better motivation!

I’ve also loved the study programme so far. I studied English Literature in Durham University before doing Relay, so this has been my first opportunity to properly spend time studying theology. We also spend time in elective study, where I’m looking at approaching literary theory with a Christian worldview. I loved studying theories of literary criticism in university, but I wasn’t very good at reading with a Christian worldview. I’m hoping that through my study in this area I’ll be able to help Christian students in Oxford think through these areas.

I think that one of the biggest strengths of Relay is the emphasis of transferring knowledge from head to heart to hands. I’ve definitely found this to be true as I’ve studied the Trinity for the past month. I’ve been marvelling at the truth of union with Christ: that God, who has been eternally loving His Son should choose to extend this relationship to me! This has been so heart-warming, particularly when I’m feeling tired or discouraged.

This has really naturally transferred to my work with OICCU (Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union). At the start of term I helped with an outreach stall in the freshers’ fair. I spent a few hours chatting to students about what matters to them and what they think matters to God. Asking students to describe ‘God’ was incredibly helpful in these conversations; so often, I found that I didn’t believe in or want to worship the God they were describing either! From this, I had the opportunity to share about the God I do believe in – one who is described as Father, rather than the ‘Heavenly Hitler’ idea that so many disagreed with.

The Relay programme also emphasises whole life discipleship. I find it so easy to compartmentalise my life and create a sacred/secular divide, but Relay highlights how the Gospel shapes every area of my life. The one-to-one supervision every week has been a great chance to apply this. As I spend time talking to my Staff Worker about what I’ve been up to, I keep being pointed back to Jesus’ lordship over my work, study, leisure and rest.

Student work is spontaneous, fast-paced, varied and, honestly, a bit overwhelming at times. The reward of working with students far outweighs the cons though. Sitting in a CU meeting of 200 students all buzzing to tell their friends about Jesus; learning from top-quality speakers and student workers; chatting to freshers who have never considered Jesus for themselves – that’s why I love Relay.

Relay is UCCF’s ten-month discipleship and training programme for graduates who love CUs.
Think Relay could be for you? Chat to your Staff Worker or apply today - our first round of applications close this Friday 11 November. 

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