At Ulster University Magee, the CU chose the theme “Hope: Finding hope in a hopeless world.” Student Melville Nyatondo says: “At the time we had just entered into our third lockdown and many people were feeling hopeless, so given the climate, it was fitting to have hope as the theme. We also acknowledged that people have struggles independent of the pandemic too, so we focused on Hope for Brazil, drug addicts, the Muslim world, students and mental illness.”
Julia Yermack, who serves on the CU committee at University College Dublin, says: “We titled our month of events ‘REAL?’ because we felt that at the heart of the many faith questions that students ask is a very simple question: “Is any of this even real?” With that as our launchpad, we asked our speakers to discuss the very real and raw parts of Christian life and challenge the views of believers and non–believers, looking at topics from how a loving God could allow suffering to questioning if the morals of the Bible are outdated.”
Ulster University Jordanstown CU choose the theme “Unrestricted” for their mission week. For CU committee member Ben Patterson, although running the events online had its challenges, it enabled students to be intentional in personally inviting people to join their breakout room escape room, or to do the quiz together.
Ben says, “God answered prayer during the week in so many ways. We prayed that he would be glorified throughout the week and his grace and love to be declared answered through the speakers at each event. We saw our prayers being answered in how university accommodation flats got involved. We saw our prayer for logistics and technology smoothness answered with very few hiccups occurring. The Lord answered so many!”
Queens University Belfast CUinvited CUI director Mark Ellis to unpack what it looks like to miss out on living life to the full. Committee member Jonny Warke says, “We were really pleased with how ‘FOMO’ came together to be what we think was still a very engaging week despite being online. We’ve been praying a lot for the CU to really take mission into their own hands this year and all the Uncover Mark follow up resources have been taken by CU students to use with their friends – I hope that’s God answering our prayer!”
Sarah White, a CU committee member at Trinity College Dublin, said the new online environment caused the team to rethink our approaches, fitting in nicely with their theme. “We chose the theme ‘Rethink’ because while the good news of Jesus does not change, 2021 has looked very different to what people expected, causing us to rethink how we should engage people with the gospel.”
She adds, “You’re not simply running a week of online events – you’re cultivating an atmosphere in CU which encourages students to be bold, continue engaging with friends and start conversations. If an online mission week is just something we “run” and expect people to watch, attend, share, like etc – we’ve really missed the point. It should really be a launchpad for something greater! The gospel is not just something we hear at Church every week, but rather an incredible hope and joy which overflows into every aspect of our lives.”