The plug-in site for students in York at college or university connecting with the Churches of York

An Interview With The President

October 11, 2007

We caught up with Mike Horswell, form CU President at York uni. Lets see what he had to say…Hi Mike, tell us about yourself:

Hi, I’m Mike Horswell from Wantage in south Oxfordshire and this is my fourth year up at York; I finished my History degree in July and I’m staying around to do a masters in Medieval Studies at King’s Manor. I had a gap year before coming to uni where I spent 5 months in South Africa and I’ve now reached the grand old age of 22.

So how did you become the CU Pres?

I’ve been involved with the CU pretty much from my first term when I went along to college small groups and main CU meetings on a Saturday night. A group of guys I met at CU and I tried out some churches together, walking from campus on a Sunday morning, and we decided to stick with York City Church.

During the first term of the second year, and completely out of the blue, I was asked to become one of the presidents of the CU. At the postholder selection meetings for the CU my name had been put forward and the finalists had prayed and felt God wanted me to have the post. After a lot of prayer on my part I accepted the job because I knew that God would have to prove himself faithful for me to be able to manage!

So what was it like: the good, the bad and the ugly!

The year that I was the CU president (2006) was filled with tons of challenges, ones that I expected and lots I didn’t. Working with the other guys on committee was such a privilege for me – being able to see up close God challenging, growing and maturing some very passionate Christians was a huge blessing and in turn a challenge for me.

Two projects that I was mainly responsible for particularly stick out for me; organising freshers week last year and writing and producing a course called ‘In at the Deep End’ – a course to help people get stuck into the bible. Both were collaborative efforts and I learnt a lot about delegation, teamwork and good communication! The year also provided plenty of frustrations and God highlighted things I need to work on, such as properly depending on Him and spending time being with Him rather than only doing things for Him.

Lots of challenges eh? So what did God teach you throughout the year?
Being the CU president also meant working with Christians from across the city and from all different types of denomination and background on campus as well as off. God for the most part enabled me to learn patience and humility when dealing with people who couldn’t understand my point of view and I am very grateful for their patience in dealing with me! With the guys on committee I also learnt about having a heart for God through the sometimes all-consuming admin and emailing that the job entails!Mike in South Africa on his gap year

How did your local church help, support & encourage you?

My pastor, Steve Hurd at City Church, was excellent at understanding the different pressures that leading the CU brought, especially when it came to time. He spoke to me about committing myself to City Church even though he knew it would be difficult to make it along to cell groups with my CU commitments and encouraged me to make sure that I was linked in. When we had a particularly difficult situation to deal with Steve and his wife were very good at giving us grounded and Godly advice at a proper juncture.

He was also very supportive of the CU itself and made time to speak there at main meetings and events; to have actively positive and proactive church leaders supporting Katy and myself and the committee as a whole was a huge blessing. We had termly meetings with various church leaders of student churches from across the city where we could keep them up to date with the plans of the CU and hear their advice on issues or problems we encountered and again this was an encouraging time. We much appreciated their wisdom and experience as well as the opportunity to enthuse them about what we had coming up.

My local church was important in other ways; it gave me some perspective on the students and CU worlds and gave me regular contact with a lot of my friends who constituted a large part of my personal support network. This allowed me to make sure my friends knew what was going on in my life and could therefore pray relevantly for me.Mike with co-president Katy

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, any comments?

With hindsight I realise that God worked some really good things through the year both in me personally and for the CU as a whole. He demonstrated, in very real ways, His faithfulness and his love of people and with a bit of perspective I can see a lot more of what He was up to. I take away a number of challenges for my conduct towards other people, Christians and non-Christians, and attitudes as well as having a far better idea of how I work under pressure and where some of my weak points are. The year was a big challenge and I realised just how true my initial reaction was to being offered the post – that I couldn’t do it without God!

Any closing words of wisdom for us?

So, from that year I have to encourage other postholders and Christian students to be dependent everyday on God for strength and wisdom and to be really aware of the opportunities that church has. What I mean is, be aware of the essential role that your local church provides in terms of challenging and supporting you and giving you a place outside the all-enveloping student bubble. I would encourage everyone to ‘get plugged in’ as soon as possible!

Mike Horswell



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