Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 8. 1965.
Students And Religion — A Mid-Year Report
Students And Religion
A Mid-Year Report
Religious Clubs Reporter
During the week of prayer for Christian Unity held at the university between May 28 and June 6, much reference was made to the New Testament prayer "that all may be one." Were these meetings, held under the auspices of the three chaplains and supported by religious clubs, relevant to university activity?
Religious club functions for the first half of 1965 have shown an increased interest in co-operation between denominations, but by far the majority of activities are still sponsored by individual organisations
For its series of talks this year, the Student Christian Movement has deliberately chosen topics of interest to as many sections of the university as possible.
Talks planned for the remainder of the year will be of similar general interest: "The Challenge of World Poverty," "The French Nuclear Bomb," "Aspects of Mental Health in New Zealand," and "Religious Psychology."
C. S. G.
The Catholic Students Guild began the year with the Academic Mass at St. Mary's on March 4, Since then, regular activities have included daily recitation of the Rosary and Mass said once a fortnight. Study groups are being conducted on topics of immediate interest.
A study weekend was held at Raumati on March 27 and 28, with prominent speakers examining different aspects of the theme "Freedom and the Individual." There have been two coffee evenings: at the first Dr. Sutch spoke on education in New Zealand, and this was attended by over 100 people; and at the second, Bishop Sneddon spoke about the Vatican Council.
The Evangelical Union holds weekly meetings during the Wednesday lunch-hour, and missionary meetings on Fridays at 7pm. Prayer meetings ore held twice a week, and Bible study groups are in progress.
From May 31 to June 4, the EU sponsored a series of five lectures on the biblical doctrine of God, presented by Prof. Klaus Runia, of the Reformed Theological College in Australia.
The Anglican Society, which has traditionally regarded itself as a "bridge group" between the Protestant right and the Catholic left, is again making its influence fell in the university, after a few years in the doldrums. No doubt it has been weakened in the past by having a good deal of its potential membership sapped by the more firmly established SCM and EU. However, with a new permanent chaplain, the Rev. Peter Stuart, the Society appears to be undergoing a process of regeneration.
At its headquarters in Ramsey House, 36 Kelburn Parade, preparations are well under way to provide a Common Room, in which coffee will be served morning and afternoon, and an interdenominational library and bookstall. These should be ready some time in July. A small chapel is also planned.
Every Friday the Anglican Society holds Holy Communion, and is at present conducting two seminars: "What it is to be an Anglican," and "The Church in the university." The Rev. Peter Stuart addressed a meeting on this latter topic on April 28. From June 13 to June 15 the Society held a Retreat at Wallis House, Lower Hutt. It is hoped that both Dean Hurst and Professor Sinyard will be able to address meetings before the end of this term.
The Christian Science Organisation holds fortnightly meetings on Tuesdays, usually in Committee Room 1, at which testimonies of Christian Science healing are given. Visitors are always welcome.
Before Easter the Organisation held a week-long display of the Christian Science Monitor in the Sub Activities Room. A large supply of Monitors were on hand for distribution. In the same Room, and also before Easter, a lecture was given by Martin Broones. CSB, who spoke before a large audience, containing many who were not Christian Scientists.
In August of this year, the sixth biennial meeting of Christian Science Organisations from all over the world will be held at the Mother Church in Boston. At least one member of the Victoria Organisation, secretary Roger Morrell, is planning to attend.
Plans are afoot in at least two of the societies to increase the number of co-operative efforts, such as the Corso collection and the week of prayer for Christian Unity. The formation of a committee representing the various clubs has been suggested, to facilitate the organising of joint functions, and to avoid clashes in programmes. It has been proposed that inter-club social functions should be encouraged to increase personal contact between members, a feature which has so far been largely lacking.
But optimism, however justifiable, should be tempered with realism: as the spirit of religious co-operation has so markedly increased within the university, so has the number of chaplains. Perhaps the former is a result of the latter? Rev. John Murray, NCC Chaplain, feels that this is the case—that the initiation of inter-religious functions has been made possible by the efforts of the chaplains rather than by those of the societies themselves.
The growth in the chaplains' ranks is not really incongruous with increased co-ordination of religious activity. For when the societies have reached the coming-together stage, and are in a position to accept each other's integrity and sincerity, then the next logical step would seem to be more specific definition of areas of agreement and disagreement, with a view to expanding the first at the expense of the second. Apart from patience and enthusiasm, a task of this nature would naturally require a great deal of specialised knowledge.
Whether definite steps will be taken in this direction it is impossible to say at the present time. Meanwhile the aim seems to be, as John Murray views it, that the religious clubs share each other's programmes as much as possible, bringing their own particular emphasis to particular questions, complementing each other, but no longer competing.—M. King.