A Letter from Cambridge, UK
A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.
12th February 2007
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Today (Wednesday) we finally reached Cambridge. This is the last and most important leg of our journey before returning home.
During the last five weeks we have been criss-crossing the United Kingdom. Mainly I have been speaking to Church leaders at a series of conferences organised by Gospel partnerships. These are non-denominational partnerships of evangelicals, concerned to reach Britain with the gospel. They are planting churches and starting Ministry Training centres.
Over a thousand leaders, lay and ordained, have been at these conferences. We have travelled from Glasgow to Exeter, visiting Leeds, Hull, Birmingham, London and Oxford for these different conferences. In the meantime there have been plenty of other preaching and teaching opportunities. I have lost count now but in the first twenty-five days I had given over thirty-five addresses in eleven venues. But now that we have arrived at Cambridge we are to get down to the series business of this journey!
The reason for coming to the England is to lead the Mission of the Cambridge Christian Union. Similar missions have been conducted for over a hundred years. They occur once every three years—roughly once in an undergraduates time at Cambridge.
There has been a lot of preparation and build up to it. In early January I spoke at the annual houseparty of the Christian Union. Since then each of the students of the University have been personally given a copy of Mark's gospel. There is any amount of advertising around the colleges. Considerable prayer has gone into the mission both by the students and many churches.
Today and for the rest of this week, we start a series of lunchtime lectures and question times on apologetic subjects. On the weekend each of the colleges of Cambridge welcome in a Guest evangelist. There are a number of meetings that these Guests will be addressing on the weekend. About 50 of these Guests will be staying in the colleges for the whole of next week answering questions personally and engaging students with the gospel.
On Monday night I commence a series of six evangelistic lectures on Mark's Gospel. These are held in the large Guildhall in the centre of the city, just off the market. Each talk aims at containing the gospel and calling for a response. But the hope is that people will come to the whole series, so that their response will be based on a fuller appreciation of the gospel.
The following week the students will commence a four-week series of Bible studies called “Exploring Christianity”. It is hoped that many who were reached during the Guildhall meetings will come to these studies. They are aimed at inquirers and those recently converted.
It is quite a large undertaking and we would greatly value your prayers that the Holy Spirit would open the eyes of this generation of students.
Last Sunday night I preached in a large London Church. After the sermon I started talking to the young woman beside me. She told me that she had been converted at Cambridge three years ago at the time of the last mission. It was a great encouragement to press on with the task this week.