2020 was a year full of challenges for all of us, including the EU. Three weeks into first semester, the EU had to move all of its activities online, across a single weekend! By God’s grace, the EU continued to proclaim Jesus as Lord to Sydney University even in the midst of a global pandemic. Through the EU’s ministry, students put their trust in Jesus for the first time, while others were grown in maturity in Him.
However, by the middle of Semester 2, stories of zoom fatigue and declining participation made it clear that online ministry was becoming increasingly difficult to sustain. As a result, the EU Executive decided to pursue options to run ministry in person in 2021.
It’s worth clarifying why we had to discuss several options at all! As much as we would love the EU to run exactly as it did pre-COVID, this is not currently possible. This is for two reasons. First, the EU faces restrictions on its activities from the University and from the University of Sydney Union (USU). Second, students are on campus far less than usual since lectures, and some other classes, continue to be taught entirely online. For many students who were previously on campus between 2-4 days per week, they are now on campus between 1-2 days per week. This would make it incredibly difficult, or potentially impossible, for some faculties to organise their own small groups.
Instead, as a COVID only measure, the primarily relational community for EUers in 2021 will be their ‘Regional Day Community’. On each of Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays there will be a ‘Day Community’ in each of three regions: Humanities, Health and STEM. EUFocus, the Con and EPS will continue to gather as specialist communities. Each of the three regions will have small group bible studies, bible seminars, a lunch hour and training. A huge answer to prayer is that we now have rooms booked to run the bible seminars and that University and USU guidelines are compatible with our plans.
These are significant changes. However, it is our prayer that, under God, they might prove to be effective in enabling us to go about Jesus’ mission in our present circumstances. Thankfully that mission is unchanging. As Paul writes in Colossians 1:28, ‘He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ’.
My deep thanks for your partnership with us in this mission. Give thanks for the opportunities that the Lord has presented us with, to do His work on campus. Do pray that he would work through the EU, for His glory.
Yours in Christ,
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