Jewish and Christian students from six universities across England have shared their experience of university life with the Archbishop of Canterbury, describing what it’s like to have a faith on campus and how their fellow students respond to them.
Chatting with Justin Welby at Lambeth Palace Library they shared some deeply personal experiences. Jewish students described incidents of antisemitism on campus, while Christian students spoke about how their opinions, inspired by their religious values, were sometimes criticized by more secular students.
The event was organised by The Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) which was founded in 1942 by the then Archbishop William Temple and Chief Rabbi Joseph Hertz. In the midst of WWII, CCJ demonstrated why it’s important to bring people of faith together for the common good.
Evie from University of Birmingham said, “It was really incredible to meet the Archbishop. He was entertaining and honest and it was lovely to see that. He has such an important position and yet he’s so normal and willing to be understanding and talk with students like us.”
With over 30 branches across the UK, CCJ calls on people of faith to challenge prejudice and persecution, so that they can build strong communities together.
Georgina Bye, CCJ Co-Director, said, “We were really grateful that Archbishop Justin set the tone for an open and honest conversation today. As Archbishop Justin is one of our presidents, we really value and appreciate the opportunity to bring students together in a conversation like this with him.
“For the CCJ, the Archbishop’s team has been invaluable for us in terms of thinking through some of our programmes on education, social action and dialogue. We feel Lambeth Palace is very accessible for us.”
Meanwhile, for Archbishop Justin, supporting organisations like the CCJ is vital for inter-faith relations. Speaking at the event he said:
"It was good to listen to the experiences of Jewish and Christian students today. It was inspiring to hear of their resilient and confident faith despite obvious challenges."