And Happy New year, although I’m never sure what the rules are on how late you can say that! Even though January is nearly over, as I write this e-mail the students have only been back for 4 days; which is to say that January has been a fairly quiet month!
I am thankful for a good and restful time at home over Christmas, especially a joy-filled New Year’s Eve in which Gemma, my older sister, got married! This was a great way to see in the new year and the perfect end to a restful break at home.
Not long after the excitement of the wedding I headed back over to the mainland to attend UCCF’s New Year Training Conference (NYTC). This was a good time of fellowship, as around 200 UCCF staff, Relay Workers and guests gathered just outside Birmingham for a week of Bible teaching and practical training. A series of talks on Ruth by Christopher Ash was particularly helpful, and it was a real encouragement to spend time with other staff workers from around the country and catch up with friends from other regions. The couple of weeks after NYTC were a useful, quieter time in St Andrews before term started. In the absence of students.
I was able to spend some time studying and preparing talks and Bible Studies for the term ahead. This was a really valuable time, because now that the students are back it’s full steam ahead for Story St Andrews (more details on that inside!).
Day-to-day as a Staff Worker: CU Committee
Christian Unions are student-led mission teams operating on campus. My job as a staff worker is to equip, encourage and resource the students in the CU as they work at giving every student on campus a chance to hear and respond to the gospel. That means that I spend a decent chunk of my time working particularly with the CU Committee. This is the group of 10 students who make decisions on the focus and direction of the CU.
CU committees change membership every year, usually around February/March. SAUCU Committee will be handing over to their successors in just a few weeks’ time. It has been a real joy and privilege to work with this team of enthusiastic, committed young people. Seeing them serve with energy and grow in their walk with Jesus as they seek to make him known has been one of the highlights of my job. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the new committee when they take the reins in February, but please do join me in praying for the current guys as they prepare to step down. Some are graduating, some are moving to finish their degrees elsewhere and some are taking on new roles on the next committee – pray that all of them would continue loving and serving Jesus in the weeks, months and years to come!
“But January made me shiver…” Don McClean
The main focus of February will be Story St Andrews from 6th-10th, but that’s not all to be praying for over the next month. I’ll also be heading up to Aberdeen to help out at Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) CU mission from 20th-24th February.
The SAUCU AGM will take place on 14th February. This is the night when the current CU committee hand over to the next group, so pray for a good transition and for the new committee to settle into their roles in the months ahead.
At the end of the month we’ll have two team days as usual. This will be a good chance for us all to spend time together and be refreshed after a busy season of mission weeks, so pray that we’ll be an encouragement to one another. Pete Dray, the UCCF regional team leader for the North East of England, will join us for one of these days to do some training on how to reach out effectively in newer universities.
Finally, I’ve recently joined a Creative Writing class in St Andrew. I’ve only been to one class so far but I’m really excited at the prospect of spending some time writing poetry and short stories! Pray that this would be a refreshing thing in my diary outside of the CU bubble, and that I’d get to know my classmates well.
STORY AT ST ANDREWS
Mission weeks complement the year-round mission of the CU with 5 days of focused, high-profile evangelistic events. ‘Story St Andrews’ is our mission week this year, which will run from 6th-10th February. Mark Ellis (a church leader in Dundee) will be our main speaker, leading us through a series of evening talks about encounters with Jesus in the Bible. He’ll be joined by Caz Dodds, a former UCCF Staff Worker, who’ll be tackling apologetics questions in lunch-time talks. All of this will be taking place in the Story Marquee in a prime location in campus, in which we’ll also be running live music nights, an afternoon café and even a hog roast on the Friday evening!
We are really thankful that God has provided for all of this, especially the marquee on campus which should provide a really helpful focal point for all of the events and generate some curiosity. Please do be praying that in the run-up to Story the students will be bold in inviting their friends. We’ve been encouraging them to share their own stories of how they came to faith on social media and in person, so pray for good conversations to flow from this. I’ll send out a special update after the week itself to let you know how it all goes!
Give thanks for:
- A restful Christmas break and joyful time at the wedding
- Good teaching and fellowship at NYTC
- God’s provision of finances and resources for Story St Andrews
Please pray for:
- Evangelistic opportunities and fruit as Story draws near
- Mission weeks throughout Scotland in February (including RGU CU where I’ll be helping out)
- For the out-going CU committee to keep walking closely with Jesus and serving him in whatever lies ahead
- Restful, encouraging team days after at the end of a busy month