For Hannah Rogers, a third year student at Dublin City University, Equip 2020 was a unique experience. She says, “For many students it offered a chance to reconnect to the larger CU community after a quiet summer which lacked the usual bustle of camps, summer programs and weekends away.
“While some of us were not overly enthusiastic about the prospect of more online calls the format of the three days, the workshop content and the community created encouraged, fuelled and fired the CUs for a academic year where our understanding of mission is already being challenged and stretched. The new online format allowed students free access to a huge variety workshops as well as focused daily teaching that honed in on what it means to be living a life fully for God.
“It was encouraging to consider once again the meaning of being made in God’s image and knowing Jesus. To reflect on how that impacts every part of our lives, from CU and church to classes and coffee breaks. I attended the sexuality workshop amongst others. Like all the workshops, it provided with practical tools to navigate situations students will encounter in my college community.”
For Hannah, what stood out the most from the entire experience was the overall message. She adds, “The message which has had me hooked from the beginning, was that my identity is not based on who I love, or what I have done, how intelligent I seem or how good my grades are. My identity is rooted in Jesus Christ and the debt he paid for me at the cross. I was reminded of my adoption into God’s family and the command to love God with all my heart, mind and strength.
“The chance to experience the peace and power of Jesus Christ with other students around Ireland is what we can take forward with us to equip our mission into the coming semesters. As CUs we can find peace in God, and as we look around at the strange world we find ourselves in we can trust the Lord and not be afraid.
Primary Teaching student at Stranmillis University, Jázmin Veres, attended Equip for the first time this year. She says, “The main teaching of EQUIP, entitled iHuman opened my eyes to fully understand what it really means to be made in the image of God, and how bearing His image impacts how we grow and help others grow in this challenging season.”
For Jázmin, although the EQUIP festival didn’t fit the normal mould with it’s new online environment, the experience wasn’t any less beneficial or enjoyable. She adds, “Although it was an online event, I learned so much from the teaching throughout the week and met a lot of new people in Zoom Breakout Rooms. It also gave our CU Committee a chance to connect and get to know each other better through chatting to each other about the things we had been learning about.
“I found the workshop on Mental Health very interesting and informative, and I can say the same about the Race and Culture workshop. The break–out rooms following the seminar allowed for great engagement. It was lovely to meet new people, hear their opinions and personal experiences.
“This event has truly equipped me to tackle this weird new year ahead. Diving deep into the question about who we were made to be answered my many questions about how I, as a Christian can grow in my faith this year despite the unknowns of the future and how being made in the image of our God nourishes the relationships we make on campus.
“The seminars reminded me how important it is to show Christ in all that we do for His glory. Every sign of love and compassion we show as humans gives a glimpse at the fingerprint of the loving God who made us in His image. We need to love with our whole life.”
As we continue to journey through a year of uncertainty around Covid restrictions, we trust in a God who continues to work in the unexpected, confident in the fact that no change of circumstance or earthly restriction can thwart the advancement of His Kingdom.
Jázmin says, “I couldn’t recommend EQUIP enough. From the main teaching to the seminars, everything will feed you spiritually and equip you for the year ahead. Not to mention the banter during the more social events, where you will make some great friends! And if you’re unsure if you want to join or not, I say do it! You won’t regret it.”