The University of Liverpool Christian Union have just held their first International Events Week in the Guild, so The Sphinx met with committee members Iain (president) and Wilson (evangelism rep.) to find out more about Christian Union Events Week (Monday 22nd – Friday 26th Feb) and what the society has to offer.
Founded in Cambridge in 1887, Christian Unions spread across the United Kingdom throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The University of Liverpool Christian Union, affiliated with the UCCF (Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship), is a missional society, whose society statement is:
“to give every student on campus the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus.”
The society aims to create a community for Christian students of all denominations, nationalities and backgrounds, creating a space in which they can discuss Jesus and their mission. One may assume that there would be conflict between different denominations, but the CU maintains that its role is not to resolve these differences but to bring people together and share their wisdom and love of Jesus. The focus is always to invite discussion, not to push their own views.
Some of the ways that they do this is through running Halls Groups from first years and students in halls, as well as running regular talks and events on campus, inviting speakers from in and around Liverpool to lead the discussion. Last year, Maurice McCracken, a Full-time Elder from Christ Church Liverpool hosted a discussion asking: “does religion breed fundamentalism?” The CU feel that it is important to invite local Church Leaders, as it helps to put their religion in context and show that religion is ‘relatable in society today.’ Sometimes difficult questions are asked, such as why there is suffering and pain in the world; people want answers. CU aims to help its members and those who engage with them to find the answers though God and the love of Jesus.
“We can’t answer on behalf of God, but we can point people towards him.”
The Christian Union also run the Globe Cafe every Saturday. Globe Cafe is a place for international students to come and practice English and integrate with home students. Affiliated with Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), the Globe Cafe is not a predominantly Christian environment, but has more of a community focus. Last week CU hosted their first International Events week, that included Traditional British Tea, Scouse Night and Fish & Chips.
Coming up this week is the Christian Union annual Events Week, that boasts a jam-packed schedule of discussions, theatre performances, music nights, a Quiz and lots of food. Everyone is invited to come along and find out more about Christianity, ask questions and share their views.
Always looking for new ways to engage with students, Christian Union frequently work with other societies and have good links with CathSoc and other Celebrating Faith societies, such as Liverpool Islamic Society and Liverpool Jewish Society. During this year’s Events Weeks, CU is working with many Guild Societies. Bake Soc helped with the Traditional English Tea from International Events Week, Band Soc are involved in the acoustic nights, and CU have invited LUDS (Drama Soc) to attend the performance of Darkness Falls held in the Stanley Theatre on Monday Night (22nd Feb).
The Christian Union is often portrayed negatively in the wider student body for being judgemental. But the CU strives to not have a political agenda; the CU’s main issue is Jesus’ love, all other issues are secondary.
“We as a society are not here to give answers, but to say ‘look at Jesus’. He is the source of our answers.”
Coming to University can be a difficult time for many, and can especially be a struggle for people of faith. It can be hard to feel accepted and find a community of students who share your beliefs. But CU help Christians to feel accepted and provide a community in which they can live out their faith.
If you would like anymore information about the University of Liverpool Christian Union, you can visit their Facebook page, follow them on twitter @livunicu, or find them in the Guild this week at their Events Week.