Every Tuesday evening, the corner room of CG20 in DCU’s Henry Grattan is transformed into a candle-lit, lively meeting spot for the Kingdom Café (KC) society. KC is a society for those with a Christian faith, oftentimes passionate and devout.
The group takes this time to catch up and socialise, in a space that is non-judgemental and accepting, as well as talking about their faith.
Recently, the society had inter-society events with LGBTA and Islamic societies. One KC member, Tom Halpin, spoke of how they feel a sense of kinship with these communities, as some Christians feel like they have become marginalised in a newly secular Ireland.
Recently, the KC held a story night, where members of the society told stories of what it’s like being a young, religious person in Ireland today. The speakers included Matthew Hewston, the KC Chair, Ann Hanna and Ciara Falls.
Falls, a first-year psychology student and practicing Methodist, spoke of her difficulties of integrating her faith into her social life. “You want to make a joke to seem like a normal person… you don’t want the first thing you say to be ‘I’m a Jesus freak’, which is what people think.”
She added that being religious “doesn’t make you a weird person who is going to judge people”. Falls took a year out after her Leaving Certificate to work in a church, something she said that isn’t exactly a ‘cool’ thing to mention to fellow peers.
Hanna, a Canadian exchange student studying business, is a born-again member of the Brethren Church. Ann spoke of her difficulties with depression prior to re-discovering her faith; “I tasted the world, but I was seeking the wrong things. I’ve seen the alternative and living in God’s will is he best thing you can ever do.”
She explained how she controlled her relationships, she wanted them to match her ideal, “When these ideals didn’t become reality, I felt my relationships slipping through my fingers. Why couldn’t I make them work? Why are they failing? What am I doing wrong?”
“Now I can relax and let God control my life. I’m still proactive in making decisions. I’m not like laying around in bed waiting for an answer from God. But I know God is directing me when my path is changed by circumstances outside of my control and I can see God working in the new path I’m on. No longer am I anxious about change in my life, in fact, I live it expecting change. But I strive to do the best in everything I do because God says.” She said.
Matthew, a final year MINT student and member of the Church of Ireland, explained that he had a ‘water-to-wine experience’, where he went from having shallow, commercialised religious beliefs to a richer, deeper understanding of God.
“I think I came to a point where I realised where the Christian story is not about how we get out of this world, but about how we enter fully into it,” he explained.
“It gave me greater empathy. I realised that Christian words don’t mean anything to people outside of your Christian bubble… it was through that transition that I discovered that God is bigger, grace is wider, and his love is deeper then I had previously imagined.”
Last semester, the society hosted an event called ‘What Do We Do About the Catholic Church’s Hurtful Past?’. Dr James Gallen, a DCU law lecturer and expert advisor for transitional justice to the Mother and Baby Home scandal.
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