The ‘Love Oxford’ event is an annual gathering described as “an open air Christian church service attended by churches across the city with live music and singing, a keynote speaker and children’s activities.”
The event was originally due to be held on Broad Street in May but has now been delayed until June after colleges complained that the noise would be damaging to the academic success of students.
Pastor Matt Partridge of Emmanuel Church, which is organising the event, commented in an interview with the Oxford Mail: “We didn’t want to get into a clash with the colleges because Love Oxford is all about Christian unity – it would have been an own goal.
“We didn’t want to be contentious so we chose June 23rd, and then there was no objection from colleges.”
Partridge continued: “Love Oxford is a great opportunity for people from different congregations to meet together.
“It’s a bit sad we can’t hold Love Oxford in May because in June a lot of students will have gone home.”
The Love Oxford event started in 2005 on Broad Street but was forced to move to South Park, Headington Hill, in 2009 after concerns were raised at that time about the noise disturbing students.
It is now set to return to its original location for the first time in four years.
Helen McCartney, a finalist from Balliol, commented: “There are always loads of events taking place on Broad Street which can be quite distracting; a little peace and quiet during finals will be nice.”
She added: “Anyway, aren’t there churches for these kinds of meetings?”
The event will include churches from across Oxford but is being led by Emmanuel Church, an evangelical ‘New Frontiers’ church which holds its meetings in Magdalen College School.
Crawford Jamieson, a first year at Trinity, argued: “It’s clear that a few hours of noise from those pesky Christians will cause a severe decline in the exam results of Broad Street colleges.
“The fuss which is being caused is therefore entirely justified on wholly academic grounds.”