Mike, a Student Worker in Guildford, has recently seen a breakthrough in the relationship between his church and his local university chaplaincy. For years, Mike describes the relationship as “non-existent, but not for lack of trying”, however, last year, the university accepted Mike’s offer to help serve students on campus.
“Our relationship started simply by emailing in, asking if we could do different things on campus. Somehow, the email was sent around different members of staff until it was read by someone on the senior board. After that, they said we could go for it!”
“I had this idea. We emailed the events team asking if we could run an Easter hunt where we would dress up 7 people like the Easter Bunny! We invited lots of students to spread joy at Easter...”
Due to the pandemic, Mike and his students were unable to carry out their Easter plan but this was the first step towards serving the university later that year.
"There are thousands of students to look after. We just want to help where we can."
With Christmas coming up soon and around 300 students isolated on campus, Mike was presented with another opportunity to serve the students. In conversation with a Chaplain, they came up with a plan to offer students some joy during Christmas...
“The chaplain was on a mission to save Christmas, so we got in touch and said we’d like to help wherever we can. We asked if we could give a present to every student who is left on campus over Christmas.”
Many of the students who had to stay at university over Christmas were able to receive a present from a local church, as well as a card with words of hope and encouragement. Mike shares the story of one student who wasn’t able to go home for Christmas.
“One guy was in a studio flat and wasn’t able to go home for Christmas. Suddenly he was by himself in this studio apartment, at Christmas time. But due to the partnership with the university, we had the chance to meet him and give him a present.”
Mike has lots of ideas of how the church can serve the university going forward, but his main focus is this…
"The university is amazing. The Student Union is amazing. But there are thousands of students to look after. We just want to help where we can.”
After years of trying to build a partnership, this is the start of a relationship between a local church and university.
How can your local church serve a university near you? How can you provide support for students at this time?