‘All year I’ve kept finding myself in great conversations about faith with my flat mates and coursemates. Often I’m not even looking for the conversation; they just ask. Is that because university just throws these kinds of things up for people? Or has God unusually given me lots of opportunities?’ – Salford University student
Stories like this can be told by countless students across Great Britian. And we rejoice in the unique mission field that God is working in – the university.
A recent survey found that nearly half of students do not believe Jesus existed, nor know someone who is a practising Christian. Christian students are uniquely placed to introduce other students to Jesus.
For over a century UCCF has trained generations of students to live and speak for Jesus at their university, and seen thousands come to faith through the CUs. With your support, CU ministry across Great Britain continues to reach many with the gospel.
The CUs in Scotland vary in size and type of university but are consistently cheered on and resourced by local churches. Since the pandemic, lots of CUs have grown in their boldness, with student leaders understanding which sort of outreach to run on specific campuses. As well as this, authentic friendships have been formed and a handful of students have come to know Christ for themselves.
The region has five large CUs (Newcastle, Durham, Uni of York, Uni of Leeds and Uni of Sheffield) as well as a wide variety of smaller CUs. They care for and help one another, and you’ll often see a good evangelistic idea making its way around the region. Each city and CU has its own distinct flavour but they are united by a love for Jesus and for making His name known.
CUs across the North West region have continued to recover strongly since lockdown. Many CUs have the largest number of students attending and involved in many years, which is especially true in Liverpool, Ormskirk and Chester. The CUs continue to be focused on mission, with established city-wide mission models in Manchester and Liverpool. In Preston, Ormskirk, Lancaster and Chester the CUs are growing.
Although geographically compact, the Christian Unions in the Midlands span a wide range of sizes and styles. Despite these differences, the CUs are united by a desire to share the good news of Jesus with their peers. They are always keen to adapt their evangelism to the context of their university, which brings energy and passion to the region.
The Central Region slices across the middle of the UK, joining Oxford and Cambridge to North London and the East Coast. Covering two of Britain’s most prestigious ancient collegiate universities, modern post-1992 institutions and even newer satellite campuses, CUs across the region have an opportunity to learn and grow alongside leaders from CUs both very similar to and very different from their own. Students in this region face challenges as unique as their institutional situation, but all have seen wonderful fruitfulness in the past year.
In the South East, the CUs tend to be small to medium CUs at newer universities (with Southampton CU being the most obvious exception!). The region also has a number of arts unis, several of them with small, pioneering CUs. Maybe it’s the proximity to the coast, but CUs in the South East tend to have a friendly, laid back feel. Students in the South East are enthusiastic about making their CUs welcoming communities that share the love of Jesus.
In the South West the CUs are very diverse, which reflects the geographical spread from Gloucestershire down to Falmouth. The region has a mix of Russell Group Universities like Bath, Bristol and Exeter, and newer universities like Falmouth. A mark of these CUs is their warmth and friendliness.
London is a unique place for Christian Unions. The capital city’s CUs are incredibly varied, with both well-established CUs such as Imperial and UCL and newer ones like Westminster. There are many challenges for CUs in London, including travel time and loneliness, and London CUs are smaller than in other places in the country. Yet there’s huge potential to reach the lost. The city has around 400,000 students, and a quarter of all the international students who come to the UK choose to study in London.
There is a real mixture of CUs in Wales. The older university CUs such as Aberystwyth and Cardiff have a historical legacy of mission, now joined by younger and vibrant CUs like USW Treforest and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Pete Harris, Wales Team Leader, shares, ‘Welsh CUs are generous, creative and passionate – qualities that are often associated with the nation of Wales.’
History tells us that even the most golden of ages have had plenty to tarnish them. Nevertheless, I wonder whether, in the future, we might look back on this period as a kind of ‘golden age’ of student ministry.Read more
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