The CU in Stirling University held their “Refreshers Week” earlier this year. They held a series of exciting events across the week including a ‘real lives night’, an escape room. and a quiz, as well as the talk nights. In the middle of the week they had an open-forum – basically a question and answer panel. I was invited, along with three Christian students to field questions which students sent in. We were all online, and the questions came in via various channels including via text to one of the CU leaders who emceed the session and there was a Facebook group in which people could ask questions too. A good number of the questions were clearly from non-Christian folks really looking for answers too, which was encouraging.
There were questions on God and Science, the uniqueness of Jesus in a world of other faiths, and then a whole raft of more existential questions around hope, purpose, meaning and significance. Some of these questions were angled around questions of suffering in the context of Coronavirus and where God is. Interesting by their absence were any questions around sexuality, which often come in these kinds of forums. Suffering and evil were obviously at the forefront of many people’s minds in Stirling. Covid has clearly made a huge impression on the kinds of questions that people are searching for answers to. People asked about the reliability of the Bible, about why we believe in just one God, where God came from, if we “need” God, and whether Christianity is just a “Western religion” – all fascinating, searching topics. Lydia one of the CU leaders said, “The Q&A panel went really well. We had a few questions regarding what was said in the previous talks and events which was brilliant. It was great to see people submitting questions both before the event and during the live stream.”
Solas has had a long-standing friendship with the Christian Union at Stirling, so it was great to be able to renew fellowship them, and do some mission work alongside them again. I’ve spoken at a couple of their mission weeks, my colleague Gavin Matthews has spoken at their meetings and spoken at their CU weekend away and their previous Cu President, Cameron was a guest on our PEPtalk podcast and talked about how they reach out with the gospel to other students on the campus which was great. So we have a great relationship with the Stirling CU! It’s great to work with students who haven’t given up on mission because of the restrictions of lockdown, but are thinking creatively.