Worship is an integral part of life at Redcliffe and time is set aside most days for fellowship together. This could be a service for the whole community, an evening praise session, a prayer tour for a certain country or region or a small-group activity focused on deepening our relationship with God.
These student-led times of worship can have a truly international flavour - be transported to Africa, Germany or Latin America! Community worship is also occasionally led by former students, letting us know where they have been working, and how God has been challenging them and leading them, or by speakers from mission agencies. This is a great chance to get to know more about these specific agencies and an idea of what it might be like working with them.
Redcliffe has given me the chance to experience worship in many ways. Before coming I thought that singing was the only type of worship I
could take part in, but now I understand that whether I am taking part
in an African praise dance, in kids' songs or speaking a traditional English liturgy, it is all music to God's ears!
Prayer is central to our relationship with God and we believe that prayer changes lives and nations. International students bring fresh perspectives to issues and world events that may be directly affecting their countries! Weekly prayer groups are held for different areas of the world, for college life and sometimes for specific situations. There are also student led prayer evenings/nights and creative prayer days.
A small group of us met every Tuesday morning to pray for Europe, and
this time was very precious to me. It was a time when we shared what we
knew or had found out about other European countries and prayed into
their situations. It was an amazing half hour, knowing with certainty
that our prayers were listened to and we could play a role in mission
just sitting in a room in Gloucester, far too early on a Tuesday morning Stacey, now working in France
All students are assigned to a community group, which meets weekly for mutual support and fellowship. Community groups provide opportunities to encourage one another, to pray and to have fun together.
The groups are student-led and include two members of staff. From social events to Bible studies, the group decides together what activities they will do. Community groups give you a chance to get to know a smaller number of people in a more personal way. The variety of ages (from 18 - 78!) and people from different nationalities add to the richness and insights of the group.
There are a large number of churches in Gloucester and many are within walking distance of the College. The variety of sizes, denominations and worship styles represented makes the task of finding the right church family somewhat easier. Many students find their involvement in church life complements their experience at Redcliffe, and allows them to get involved in ministry to the local community. Students also build up links and forge deep friendships that continue long after they have finished their studies.
In partnering with different local churches, Redcliffe College with its cross-cultural mission ethos is suitably placed to enable its culturally diverse and international student community to begin to engage with mission while they train. Conversely churches are enriched by the presence and contribution made by the students who have experienced ministry in other contexts.
Revd John Itumu, St Catharine’s Gloucester