Stories from University Christian Unions

Tonight on Twitter there were various conversations that occurred, motivated by these flyers that are being handed out at Freshers week in Chester University and LSE…



Putting aside the clear lack of understanding about their audience, these events include men/”guys” eating meat, playing FIFA and crazy haircuts.  Women/”ladies” get tea and… more tea.  I know that CUs have mainly had a rather problematic approach to gender theology (they’re usually either implicitly or explicitly complementarian) but strongly sex segregated events and groups do seem to be a new thing.


After seeing these flyers, some people began sharing their experiences of university CUs, with regards to gender, and a few other issues regarding sexuality and catholicism.  So…  I suggested it may be good for these stories to be shared!


If you, or anyone you know, has a story about a university CU that you would like to share, please email me 600-700 words sharing your story and letting me know what name you want it to be shared under and then I’ll get it up on my blog.  Email befreeuk (at) gmail (dot) com.


Just to be clear, I don’t want to be hating on CUs, I’m sure for a lot of people they have been an important part of their journey in faith.  Rarely is anything entirely bad and I know that my experience of faith communities is that God has used them and grown me through them, even if some (or even many) aspects of them have been difficult/painful/frustrating.  Sharing our stories enables others to makes sense of their story and gives us a way of shaping what is going on for us, both in the past, now and hopefully, in the future!


By sharing these stories, especially when there is enough distance from them to describe the longer term implications, perhaps we can encourage CUs to make different decisions and hopefully those who are still hurting or damaged can know that they are not alone!


Thanks in advance for getting involved!!!



3 thoughts on “Stories from University Christian Unions

  1. I was in the second mixed year at my Oxford college, and I greatly enjoyed my college CU. I don’t remember anything sexist, although it’s true looking back that the (centrally appointed) leadership were always men… Possibly a coincidence.


  2. Robin Phillips says:

    I deeply regret my involvement with the Goldsmiths university Christian union 1982 – 1985. It was run like a cult, by a couple in their fifties, and their son. I was fooled into joining the day after I’d been a victim of crime. The son, and two of his bully boy friends, shoved me into a room at the hall of residence and instead of showing any sympathy and compassion for the fact that I was still getting over being a victim of crime – they screamed threats at me that “God would make it happen again, but much much worse, unless you make a commitment to Christ. ” The phrase that these three psychotic fuckwits used was “stop pussy footing with God” over and over again. I was terrified and sobbing and just wanted to get out of the room, and felt psychologically attacked and broken, so I agreed to whatever and escaped. That level of evil did leave me confused. I had no idea about sociopathic people within a religious context because I was only 19.
    The bullying continued, but this time from the females, who were intent on depicting me as a promiscuous person, (I wasn’t at all), and particular trick they would play, does indicated the levels of cruelty. They were flatmates of mine and they all pretended to be Christians, and they’d say “Ok, so we’ve all been invited to a party tonight”, and they’d watch me get ready to go out. Just as we’d gather by the door, they would say “Oh, WE have been invited, but not YOU… ” and walk out the door, laughing. They did that a few times. The problem might have been based on the fact that I started work as professional actress during the third year of my degree at Goldsmiths, and they were jealous, but this petty carry on was very odd. Plus, they would take items from my room and the other room of the non-psycho person in the house and build a fire and throw the items on it, in a sort of ceremony. Obviously, I can see now that they were batshit crazy.
    So what happened to these idiots?
    Well – one of the worst bullies in the shared house, claims she can receive healing by touching a TV screen and is very much into performing exorcisms. I kid you not.
    Quite a few of them carried their gifts of psychological bullying into the teaching profession, but haven’t we all had teachers who like to humiliate people? Maybe that’s just their “gift”.
    As for the screaming threatening bully boys, one of them was caught in 2014, scamming money from the charity that he created and how he escaped prison is beyond me.. getting rich on money that is meant to go to the poor and needy isn’t exactly what Jesus intended is it? Google Portland Hotel Society for further details. The main bully, irony of ironies, worked for a charity that was “against bullying”. Couldn’t make it up could you? God has a sense of humour.
    Several former members of the Christian Union worked in the “Persuasion” industry. Sinister organisations like “Common Purpose” that use NLP to get people to think in a certain way “as a motivator towards leadership”. See “common purpose exposed” if you want to know the story behind that one. Two people set up their own “motivation company”. I don’t know if they use NLP or not, but if they do, then ,again, we’re talking mind control.
    So can you see a pattern? The bullying that hid behind the various “Mr Nice guy” image led them all into a place where they had “power” over others, and in many cases, it didn’t end well for those who encountered them.
    I am for a total ban in Christian Unions.


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