by Rebecca Gore
After being at Regents for two years now, it is safe to say it’s massively shaped my faith and who I am. I have loved my time at Regents and these past two years have been some of the most challenging but best years of my life.
Some of you may have heard me say this before, but my friend always says “the best thing about Regents is the people and the worst thing about Regents is the people”, now this may sound harsh but living with 40+ Christian students 24/7 is a struggle for anyone – even extroverts like myself! It can be a really intense environment at times and is often overwhelming, but the lecturers are great at equipping us for this.
We have devotions every weekday which lasts for 20 minutes, on a Wednesday we have our main devotions of the week which is usually an hour and a half. This structure, I have found, really helps me and encourages me to spend time with God – even through the stressful parts of doing a degree.
To start off my morning with a devotional rhythm is such a blessing. Who leads these devotions are split between lecturers, students and Elim staff which is amazing because we get to learn from so many incredible people but we also get to learn from our peers and to even lead some ourselves, I have had the privilege to lead two of them! This has been great for my development as a preacher because I get to see so many different people do it on a daily basis and has helped me learn what my preferred “style” is.
Another impact Regents has had on my life is my independence, living along, flying the nest – whatever you want to call it. I am the youngest in my year, I came to Regents after turning 18 just a few weeks prior.
Surprisingly, a lot of people in my year had a gap year before going to Regents and everyone else is a mature student so I was the only one who was fresh out of sixth form. However, I wasn’t the only one to move out for the first time – I wasn’t alone!
I think leaving home, I’ve even surprised myself at how quickly I adapted to living out, I thought I would be a mess! With the pace of Regents, I didn’t really have time to be sad, there is always something to be doing. Living on my own has enabled me to learn a lot about myself and those around me!
One of my favourite things about Regents is the community there, I love getting to know different people from all walks of life and having relationships with them. In the first and second year as a campus student, we were catered for in the canteen, this meant that whatever conferences coming in (pre-Covid) we were able to sit with them, we would always have dinner with second years in our first year and vice-versa which allowed us to have friendships with people over the different year groups being very helpful.
At Regents, your friends don’t have to be in the same year group, I have made friends throughout every year group that has been there at the same time as me because I found such value in it. Some may say that the community at Regents is intense and it definitely can be when you all live over two buildings, eat together and learn together but it has truly impacted me for the better.
In my first year, Linda Mathieson was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was told the evening when she found out and was told that she probably wouldn’t make it through the night, my dad had called me whilst I was at dinner and I had people around me who weren’t necessarily my “close friends” but they all supported me.
My dad was on his way to pick me up from Regents that same evening and whilst I was waiting for him to arrive, I went to the prayer meeting we have every Monday night. I went with the intention to just be with God, I didn’t want to bring up the news I had received and make it about me but my friend had asked if we could pray for Linda and the family.
Everyone came around me and prayed for a woman that they didn’t know, they were invested in the prayers and just as the meeting had finished, my dad had arrived and every single person from the prayer meeting came outside to greet my dad and to give their condolences.
My dad doesn’t follow Jesus yet but he was truly touched not by how many people were there but how sincere they were and how much they demonstrated the love of God to me and my dad that night. I will be forever grateful for that moment, so when people ask me “what is the importance of community” I will always think of that moment.
Finally, another major impact Regents has had on my life is through leading the women’s ministry, this is because it has given me one of my first experiences as a leader and it has grown my pastoral nature. It can get complicated living with the same people you support but I have had to learn the importance of boundaries in a friendship as it gets more difficult to know when pastoring a friend crosses a boundary or not.
A constant lesson for me has had to be humility, whenever there is leadership or authority there can always be pride that gets in the way and because I am aware of that, I have tried to make sure I don’t get prideful. I have a great team which has supported me very well and during this coming year, I will be handing it over to them where their visions get to be explored and I get to exit well.
Throughout my journey at Regents, I have learnt a lot about love and what it means to be a receiver of God’s love which has had the biggest impact of all. I did most of this learning outside of the classroom and it has transformed my way of living and also how I give/show love to other people. Through receiving God’s love I have been able to love myself, not in a worldly sense, but to be able to love the person I am whilst being able to see my flaws and strive to be more like Jesus.