We Are Essex

Henrietta and Toni's story

Henrietta and Toni laughing in the squares

"As a Christian society, we do believe that it's really important to fellowship with your brothers and sisters in love and unity."


It’s very difficult being President of JAF alongside academic work but it’s not impossible so obviously, before you even step in to the role you’ll be anticipating and thinking oh my gosh, I’ve got all these things to do, third year assignments but it’s so possible to make time and you make time for the things that you care about. So if that’s waking up early or sleeping a little later, it can be done. There’s enough time to do the things you are supposed to do, obviously there are times when you just physically feel tired and I’d say that you listen to your body as well because all-nighters are not the best.

JAF stands for Jesus Alive Fellowship and were a campus fellow ship. We meet up every single Wednesday just meeting up in unity to really just glorify God and as a Christian society we do believe that is really important to fellowship with your brothers and sisters in love and unity and this year, our vision is Mathew 5:3 which talks about us being poor in spirit so when we are talking about being poor in spirit, we are talking about being needy and crying out for God and understanding that us humans aren’t able to do anything without the strength of God. So we rely on him every single day and for our strength and everything that we need and that is what we are focusing on this year. Every single year the vision changes depending on what the president believes God is actually communicating to them. 

I would say without this society I wouldn’t have grown into the person I am today and obviously religion shapes a huge part of an individual and it contributes to your identity as well and understanding that my identity is routed in Christ and having a society that can also help me shape who I am has been mind-blowing. It’s been a thing where I’ve seen growth every single term. Even through the struggle, even when academics fails, I always have hope and know ok, every Wednesday I’m gonna be fed with something that will motivate me, that will encourage me, that I believe is sound and I believe to be true so despite how I feel I know that there is a God out there for me so it’s contributing to my beliefs so strongly and in other aspects as well, just understanding that one aspect we talk about is God being a God of excellence so understanding that even with my academics I can’t just put it to the side, I need to understand that this is an assignment that I need to complete as well with jobs, applications. I need to be on my a-game as well because there is so much excellence in me but most importantly I’m serving a God of excellence, I need to replicate that as well. 

Every single person has a purpose in life and from this society I’ve really learnt that there’s so much greatness in me as an individual that needs to be let out as well so yeah, even in terms of small things I study leadership in organisations and I’m in a leadership position in a society so it’s just like wow, I kind of know that outside of uni, I’m aspiring to be in a project management role that entails me being in a leadership position or any type of CEO positions, it has really helped me understand the skills that I have that I can offer the world, that the world actually needs.


The society is growing and ever since last year we have had an increase in our membership. We put on events like careers events for employability and just to start up your life. We also do just casual events like Christmas productions so that’s acting, dancing and bring people in to just worship and pray, it’s just like a good vibe and that’s usually in Ivor Crewe Hall so it’s pretty big so we get a lot of people coming as well. We also do an Easter production so like on Wednesday, we had an Easter production where we gather people who don’t necessarily believe in God but come to experience him for who he is. So we’re not trying to reach people who already know god, but to reach people who don’t get no God but see that this is the God we serve and invite them to also serve him as well. 

We also do a Valentine ’s Day production as well to share our love of God and we’re also on the squares most of the time just outreaching, selling doughnuts and fund raising, raising money for charities and we go away as well for a weekend. Last year we did an event with redeemed Christian society so we had the collaborations with them for the Christmas production which was amazing and we encourage our members to go and feel what they like, what they enjoy, we have a really close relationship with the Christian union, we’re really good friends with them and have a good relationship with the PENSA society as well so it’s not like we are all segregated, we are all united in love in a sense.  We do quite a lot actually, yeah! Quite a busy society when I think about it. 

For me it was very important to know there were Christian societies at Essex because I’ve come from a Christian background and I didn’t want to lose that faith. I know uni can be very lonely or overwhelming so I needed something that could keep me sheltered essentially and so for me it was very important when picking a uni to go to and I think once you find somewhere it’s just good to go and explore. I liked how most of the Christian societies had fresher’s events to just get people involved in. It wasn’t anything too hard on, just a friendly environment to be open, meet new people and really enjoy themselves so yeah, that’s what made me happy to stay.

I think for me, in terms of jobs, I’m not really sure what I want to head in to yet but in regards to the society, it has given me a good platform to understand where my purpose is and where my calling is so I think that’s how it has helped me. Not necessarily to have a clear direction of where I’m going but I’m at peace knowing that where ever I end up, will be where God wants me to end up.

Follow JAF @jafessex


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