Label Culture caught up with the Christian Union Chair, Alex McLaren, for Societies Showcase.
Tell us a bit about your society…
The Christian Union is basically a big group of Christians from all different backgrounds. We hold regular meetings and events in order to try and give everyone on campus the opportunity to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus. The society has been growing over the last few decades which might surprise people, especially given the negative views about religion which you often catch through the media. I think people like to think of Christians as being old, boring and pretty stupid, but I’d challenge that person to come to one of our events and decide for themselves! For lots of people, university means independence, freedom and the chance to do whatever you want… But the Christian Union also believe that this is one of the best opportunities you’ll get to really think for yourselves about some of life’s biggest questions, have honest discussions, and follow the evidence in search of meaningful answers.
Why did you join? Was it what you expected? How important is the society to you, considering it’s faith based?
I think I first joined the Christian Union in order to get to know a few other Christians at university. I came from a high school where I barely knew any other Christians my age, and those I did know were slightly odd. I was immediately surprised at how many people attended the meetings, and how normal everyone was. These Christians enjoyed going out at night, they played sports and were fun to be around… but most of all we shared a love for Jesus, and a desire to tell other people about the good news! The opportunity to be Chair of the Christian Union excited me so much. It’s not an easy role (especially with deadlines and other stuff going on) but it’s incredibly rewarding. We’ve just got back from our annual CU Weekend Away and it was great getting to know everyone better, whilst learning what it means to be followers of Jesus, and how this affects our lives! I personally think the society is so important, particularly at university. As I said before, university is a time when people start to think about life’s big questions, they start to wonder if there’s more to life than going out every night and scraping through last minute coursework (as fun as it can be!).
What kind of events do you put on? Do you have anything come up before Christmas?
With this in mind we try and put on events that cater for everybody. From quiz nights and acoustic evenings to a campus wide scavenger hunt last month, we want to put on events that are fun and easy to come along to. We have 2 huge events coming up.
First is our Carol Service THIS Tuesday, 7.30pm in Emmanuel Church, Forest Road. We’re expecting the church to be full for a brilliant evening full of carols, mince pies, mulled wine and a look at the real meaning of Christmas. This year we’re also holding a collection for The Carpenter’s Arms, a Loughborough-based men’s rehabilitation centre. Therefore we’re asking people to bring along any tinned or long life foods, fresh fruit/veg, dried foods, chocolate/sweets, toiletries, pasta/rice or coffee/tea! This will hopefully be good fun as well as an opportunity for people to really engage and connect with the local community.Secondly, in early February we have our Christian Union Events Week. There will be morning and evening events every day, specifically looking at some of the issues that stop people believing in God… such as ‘Has science disproved God?’, or ‘How can a good God allow suffering?’. These are really important questions and we’ve put on a whole load of events where we’re hoping hundreds of people will come, hear a talk, make the most of lots of free food, and ask these questions for themselves.
What would you say to prospective members? How can people get in contact with you?
If there are Christians that are reading this and haven’t joined the Christian Union, then I’d probably say why not?! What’s the worst that could happen? To those who aren’t Christians, I’d encourage people to make the most of their time at Loughborough! Join a society you love, play a sport (maybe!), scrape through more deadlines and cram some revision… but also use this time to explore some of the bigger questions that life throws at us, and follow the evidence where it leads. Come down to one of our events (the Carol Service is a great start) and ask some questions. If people want to get in contact with us, email here, like us on Facebook here and head to our website by clicking here!