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The Rise of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, 1910–1971


The Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU) was founded in 1877 and split from the wider body, the Student Christian Movement, in 1910. Although CICCU's prospects were bleak, it survived the interwar period and in the late 1930s began to grow. After 1945 CICCU developed into a highly effective force within Cambridge University. It sustained its membership in the 1960s, when many other student Christian groups were in decline. CICCU's growth was the product of a matrix of factors, including attachment to evangelical doctrine and adaptation to cultural change. Its survival and growth has significantly influenced Christianity in Britain and beyond.

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The CICCU papers are the main source for this article, previously housed at Tyndale House, Cambridge, and now in Cambridge University Library. Student Christianity is full of abbreviations, some of which have gravitated into the footnotes of this article. ‘Exec.’ refers to the minutes of the executive committee of either CICCU or CWICCU; ‘gen. comm.’ refers to the minutes of the general committee, composed primarily of the executive and the college representatives or ‘reps’; ‘mission comm.’ refers to the minutes of the mission committee charged with planning CICCU's triennial missions.
CICCU = Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union; CSCC = Cambridge Student Christian Council; CSSM = Children's Special Service Mission; CU = Christian Union; CUL; Cambridge University Library; CWICCU = Cambridge Women's InterCollegiate Christian Union; IVF = Inter Varsity Fellowship; SCM = Student Christian Movement
I wish to express my thanks to Jon White, the CICCU executive, Tyndale House, Bob Horn, David Bebbington, Martin Wellings, John Wolffe, Oliver Barclay and Mike Griffiths for their help during the research for this article. I am grateful to the church history seminars at the Divinity Faculty, Cambridge, and at the Institute for Historical Research, London, for allowing me to test out my ideas on them.
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The Journal of Ecclesiastical History
  • ISSN: 0022-0469
  • EISSN: 1469-7637
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-ecclesiastical-history
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