Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union

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The Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, usually known as CICCU, was the first university Christian Union and is the University of Cambridge's most prominent student Christian organisation. It was formed in 1877, but can trace its origins back to the formation of the Jesus Lane Sunday School in 1827 and the Cambridge Prayer Union in 1848. The organisation's stated purpose is "to make Jesus Christ known to students in Cambridge".[1]

Currently 'CICCU' runs two main regular activities - giving out free donuts and drinks around the university, and holding 'Big Questions' lunches on Fridays with short talks and Q&As about questions of life and faith - along with a variety of occasional events, and smaller activities in colleges.

Students in many other universities followed Cambridge's lead in forming their own Christian Unions, beginning with OICCU (Oxford) in 1879. Initially CICCU became part of the Student Christian Movement, formed in 1889; however, the two organisations clashed in 1910, and CICCU left the SCM in order to provide a specifically evangelical ministry in the University of Cambridge. Again, OICCU and other Unions followed them in this split, and together they founded the Inter Varsity Fellowship of Evangelical Unions (now UCCF, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship) in 1928, which spread to Canada in the same year and later to the USA, Australia (Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students) and New Zealand (Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship).

Membership declaration[edit]

Students who became members of the CICCU are asked to sign the following statement, "I desire in joining this Union to declare my faith in Jesus Christ as my Saviour, my Lord and my God". This was one of the issues in the dispute with the SCM. However, this declaration is not necessary to attend any events, become involved with helping or to attend any of the meetings held.

Leadership[edit]

CICCU is led by Christian students from a wide variety of backgrounds, united in a common desire to "make Jesus Christ known to students in Cambridge." Past CICCU members have included Josh Moody, Basil Atkinson, Helen Roseveare, John F. Wenham, John Stott and Vaughan Roberts. The leadership operates on two levels - university wide and within colleges. A committee of eight students, known as the Exec organise CICCU. Two reps in each college lead college events and meetings.

Structure[edit]

There are weekly meetings in almost every college during term time — these include Bible study, prayer and praise. The college groups then meet together as a whole for Bible Teaching and prayer each week. The CICCU organises weekly talks, explaining what Christians believe, and discussion groups (Christianity Explored courses). The college groups organise termly events in the colleges where people can come and find out more about Christianity. Every year there is a high-publicity main event, during which events are held in most of the colleges and there are lunchtime and evening talks.

Doctrinal basis[edit]

CICCU adopts the doctrinal basis of UCCF, an evangelical Christian organisation with which CICCU is affiliated. The doctrinal basis contains what evangelicals perceive as the biblical foundations of Christianity, including:

  1. The unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Godhead.
  2. The sovereignty of God in creation, revelation, redemption and final judgement.
  3. The divine inspiration and infallibility of Holy Scripture as originally given, and its supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
  4. The universal sinfulness and guilt of human nature since the fall, rendering man subject to God's wrath and condemnation.
  5. The full deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate son of God; his virgin birth and his real and sinless humanity; his death on the cross, his bodily resurrection and his present reign in heaven and earth.
  6. Redemption from guilt, penalty and power of sin only through the sacrificial death once for all time of our representative and substitute, Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
  7. Justification as God's act of undeserved mercy, in which the sinner is pardoned of all his sins, and accepted as righteous in God's sight, only because of the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, this justification being received by faith alone.
  8. The need for the Holy Spirit to make the work of Christ effective to the individual sinner, granting him repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.
  9. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in all those thus regenerated, producing in them an increasing likeness to Christ in character and behaviour, and empowering them for their witness in the world.
  10. The one holy universal Church, which is the Body of Christ, and to which all true believers belong.
  11. The future personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ, to judge everyone, executing God's just condemnation of the impenitent and receiving the redeemed to eternal glory.

Controversy[edit]

CICCU has been called into question as hardline and patronising.[2] Attitudes towards homosexuality have been a particular area of controversy, in particular during their 2004 Promise Week event, in which it was alleged that homosexual relations were equated with bestiality.[3] CICCU members deny that their organisation is anti-gay, stressing "equality in the sight of God", and point out that they love homosexual and heterosexual friends equally, as does God.[citation needed]. Recent comment on the CICCU has been more ambivalent - surprised by the intense focus on sharing rather than simply maintaining their faith, but impressed by the warmth of their welcome, and the depth of their conviction. [4] [5] [6]

CICCU Presidents[edit]

  • 1882: Kynaston Studd
  • 1903: Gilbert Barclay
  • 1918: R. P. Dick
  • 1925: Michael Ramsey
  • 1940: Oliver Barclay
  • 1970: Mike Elston
  • 1971: David Evans
  • 1997: Dave Gobbett
  • 1999: Simon Wearn
  • 2000: Reuben Mann
  • 2001: Rupert Evans
  • 2003: John Percival
  • 2004: Graham Shearer
  • 2006: Barnaby Monteiro
  • 2007: Charlie Butler
  • 2008: John Young
  • 2009: Matthew Pilkington
  • 2010: Philip Hammersley
  • 2011: Christopher Nickerson
  • 2012: Mark Lewis
  • 2013: Alexander Greaves
  • 2014: James Thompson
  • 2015: Giorgio Sterlini

Affiliation[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

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