The college year is continuing on, lectures haven’t stopped, people are still students, so I don’t see a reason for CU to stop; we might just have to change the way we do things. Our main purpose is as a missional team on campus so how do we do that with social distancing, online, etc? There’s a lot of topical things to talk about that people are wondering now – mortality, life, sickness, etc!
Jenny, UCD Christian Union president, led the committee (online) in discussing the way forward as a mission team on campus. Would their friends and campus still get to hear the best news possible at this time?
But as they planned evangelistic events online, ways to keep connected, prayer meetings on Zoom and much more, we were hearing from other campuses of what God was doing too!
TCD Christian Union
Trinity College CU were able to run their regular 9am prayer meeting over Zoom where students tuned in from 3 different countries (international students etc)! It was so encouraging to pray together for the world, college friends and family, and for Jesus to be made known!
IT Carlow Christian Union
A CU student at IT Carlow started an online Bible study earlier this semester with another sports student, as they’re never on campus at the same time. Since the campus closed due to Covid 19, they’ve invited other students to read the Bible with them, and want to keep expanding it.This new space for students to encounter the Bible means CUs are less bound by geography, campuses and even semester time. This could mean more students reached than before!
UCC Christian Union
CU isn’t all about events. We’re missional communities, freeing all our members to honour Jesus in their courses, clubs, societies, socialising and free–time. And so one of UCCCU has been thinking for several years about how to best point to Jesus as he leads Dungeons and Dragons gaming online, and other online forums. Gradually he’s been mixing and mingling Christians and non–Christians, sharing narratives which provoke questions, and being salt and light in what can be a murky online world! So when everything goes online, it’s nothing new to learn here…
Mary Immaculate College Christian Union
The newest Christian Union on the island (started this semester) weren’t going to be deterred by campus shutting its doors. For decades campus had been closed to Bible studies, yet God had been at work drawing people to Him! Now, their “Uncover John” Bible study, attended by students hungry to learn who Jesus is, and how best to respond to Him, continues online on Zoom!
Dóchas Christian Society (CU in NUIG)
The campus closed at 5pm on the final day of their first (ever?) Events Week. Lots of students had been getting a chance to hear and respond to Jesus as the Bible was opened throughout the week on campus, and as the University kindly promoted it as part of their “Wellness Week”. But their final event hadn’t happened, yet at least 5 non–Christians were so keen to find out more about Jesus, that the event went ahead in a local home, where dozens of students packed in to hear the final episode! (NB: This was before social distancing or regulations came in.) We thank God for the eyes to see the opportunity!
QUB Christian Union International Cafe (in partnership with Crescent Church)
International students were some of the first to leave our campuses, as they tried to get home before the barriers on travel came down. But in the International Cafe team in Belfast, they were thinking outside the box. Could we have International Cafes on Zoom, with different people contributing or various activities? QUB Students could access it from round the world too! And so 8 students joined us on Zoom after ‘Hope in a Life of Hurt’ (a Facebook Livestream evangelistic event) – most were still here in Belfast alone in their rooms, one from Germany (who studied in Belfast in the autumn) and another international student from American joined us from home too! They all watched the event but even more so appreciated the contact and connection afterwards.
And these aren’t the only campuses doing things. With thousands of students engaging in CU Events Weeks this semester, there’s plenty of stories of all the various follow–up groups that happened and online ‘Uncover’ studies that continue to go on even now!
Click here for more ideas for how to reach out creatively during the Covid19 lockdown.