The Christian Union at Merton has had another busy year, running a range of events, growing in community and continuing to work closely with the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (OICCU). Among the main things happening this year have been the multiple evening text-a-toastie events, where we offer toasties and answers to questions about Christianity to our fellow students at Merton. These provide an interesting and challenging opportunity for us to engage with a wide range of questions (and to test our toastie-making skills) and continue to be quite popular. We have had a wide range of questions including ‘Is Satan a necessarily just force since he punished sinners?’, ‘Do modern-day miracles exist?’, ‘Why do you believe in God?’, and ‘Who’s your favourite disciple?’.
The Christian Union exists to give every student an opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the highlights of our year is the OICCU Main Event, and this year we were privileged to hear from Michael Ramsden and Stephen Foster, speaking on the theme of ‘Home’. It was wonderful to be able to gather together in Oxford Town Hall, share in community over food or coffee, and explore why some of us have found our home in the church, and what that means. Overall, the week was joyful, engaging and at times very moving, and quite a number of Mertonians attended or were involved.
Other events throughout the year have included a talk on suffering from our very own Josh Parikh (2014), an evening discussion on post-truth with wine and cheese, and drinks before the annual carol service. Our events have often featured copious quantities of cake from Jonathan Wolstenholme (2016), of Merton Bake Off fame, and we hope that this tradition will continue.
We were encouraged to welcome a number of new members at the beginning of the year, including four who joined us for the very first Freshaway, OICCU’s getaway for incoming freshers in September. Jonathan and Hope Middleton (2016) were among those joining us and have now taken over as CU reps for the next year. In Merton, we meet weekly for prayer and for Bible study, and are always happy to welcome new people. It has been a good year with the CU, and we look forward to seeing what God will do over the next year.
Samuel Banks (2014)