Posted 23 January 2014
It might be one of the oldest student clubs at Harper Adams, but the University’s Christian Union has just enjoyed one of its busiest years, with membership more than doubling and a packed social calendar.
Current President Sami Taylor, 20, from Southport, Merseyside, explains: “From around 12 people who regularly attended in 2012/23, we’ve now got 21 official members of the Harper Adams Christian Union, but our meetings attract up to 30 people - some like to dip in and out - and as we don’t charge a membership fee, there is no requirement to sign up.
“Because our primary focus is Mission, we’re an inclusive group and make it easy for people to find us and join us, discreetly if they wish. The CU is open to all denominations, and aims to bring together Christians in a relaxed environment for worship, fellowship and to explore issues our society faces.
“Everyone is welcome, whether they have been a Christian their whole life, want to grow into their faith or are simply curious about Christianity. It’s not about labels, it’s about friendship and fellowship. We don’t expect everyone to stay for the duration of every meeting – we are generally in a tucked away location, and some members pop in for 20 minutes or so, while others get more involved.
“We’ve got a facebook page, www.facebook.com/HarperAdamsChristianUnion where we share details of each activity as it happens, which gives a flavour of what we do. We also run a private group, where we can support each other, which is an extension of our ‘family away from home’ approach.”
Social Secretary Steph Bayford, 19, from Leeds, added: “We meet every Tuesday, when we usually have a focussed activity or discussion, but we also have an active social calendar. Sometimes we simply do things any group of friends might do – go for a few drinks in the pub, ten pin bowling, ice skating etc, but we also attend local and regional Christian events, such as the One Life Roadshow at Keele University or meetings of Rising Brook Church in Stafford, which is popular with younger people.
“We have good links with a range of local churches, and invite guests to our regular meetings. Sometimes they might give a sermon, or they might lead a more interactive discussion. If we’ve heard someone talk and we liked what they said, or the issues they explored, we invite them to join us. As part of the wider UCCF, the national umbrella group for Christian Unions, we have our own regional worker who gives us support, and we can attend regional and national events.”
Sami and Steph are part of the four-strong 2013/14 Harper Adams CU committee. Around Easter time this year, a new committee will be selected to lead the group for the following year.