As some of you more regular readers of my blog will know, every now and then I like to do a post updating you guys on what’s going on in my life. This is mainly because I’m a university student and although uni isn’t always the easiest place to be a Christian, in my opinion it’s one of the best for actually living out a challenging, real faith. These posts hopefully give you a bit of insight into my experiences and challenges here, and maybe give you an idea of the kind of things that are going on when I’m not writing these things!
The Start of the 2nd term of my 2nd year
I’m now more or less at the halfway point of my undergraduate degree (not counting exam terms), which is pretty scary. It’s flown by. I know people told me it would, but you never actually appreciate it until you experience it. Practically, this means that since Christmas I’ve had coursework deadlines and an exam, and, because of the way my course is structured, I’m now starting three completely new modules. With results for my first term being released in a few days’ time, this is a pretty important period in my year!
It also means that, after a month back home at Christmas, I’m back in halls, with all the highs and lows and opportunities that brings.
The Christian Union
For various reasons I’ve not been that involved with the Christian Union here up until now, but I’ve gone along to a few events recently and heard some of the testimonies from the different outreach branches of the CU and there are some really exciting things happening. I don’t know how to describe it, but there seems to be a real energy around the CU at the moment, and even with the main Events Week still to come there have been people becoming Christians, which is absolutely fantastic! I guess the only thing that I can say is that there seems to be a move of the Spirit right now. I go to the morning prayer session every week and it has been amazing to see just how often God has worked in response to those prayers, whether they’ve been practical prayers for the workings of CU meetings and events, or more personal prayers regarding friends and how to reach more people. It is so, so encouraging to know that there is a group of Christians at my university who are moving in the Spirit and seeing things happening. Watch this space.
Vineyard National Leaders’ Conference
This is probably the biggest single event of 2015 so far for me: the nationwide event for the Vineyard movement’s leaders hosted in my Nottingham church: Trent Vineyard. As a member of the serving team for our church, I was able to hear a lot of the teaching and enjoy a lot of the conference during the time that I was helping out. At the start of the week there were a lot of really encouraging testimonies from different churches around the country, and over the rest of the week there was some brilliant teaching from a range of different leaders from within and outside the Vineyard.
As with the CU, there was the feeling over the week that there is a power behind the movement at the moment; a drive and a desire to see God moving in a powerful way. The ministry times in the evening meetings were electric, there’s no other way to describe them, and there is something powerful and encouraging about seeing 1500 leaders coming together to reaffirm their faith and their vision and to equip each other to serve their local communities and the nation more.
Also announced was the change of leadership of the UKI section of Vineyard, with Jon and Eleanor Mumford stepping aside into a new international role, and John and Debbie Wright of Trent Vineyard stepping up into the national leadership role, so there are new and exciting times ahead for the movement!
The Stephen Fry response
I want to mention this just to say thank you to everyone who read and shared my response to Fry’s viral video. I don’t know what I was expecting when I wrote it, but the views that that post alone got were roughly equal to an eighth of the previous total views on my blog, which is mind-blowing for me. Clearly the whole issue was something that people wanted to engage with, and I just hope that, with all the excellent responses that have been written by people around the country, that people initially swayed by the video will see that there is a conversation to be had.
That sums up, very briefly, my experiences back at uni so far this year. Already there’s a lot to be thankful for; I’m getting on well with my new modules (always good), and, way more importantly, God is clearly moving in this city and in this country. There’s a lot to get excited about over the next few weeks, with the Trent Vineyard student weekend away coming up, a baptism service this Sunday (always a fantastic service for visitors and non-Christians) and the CU events week in the near future. It is my hope and my belief that God will continue to work here, and that there are going to be some amazing testimonies to share in the near future!