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Staff profiles

CUI’s staff team works all over our island, supporting Christian Unions on campus. Find out more about them here, and what they love about CUI.

Alison Williams

Alison Williams

Southern Team Leader

Why Alison loves working with CUI:
Student ministry has been a huge part of my life for the last 20 years. Having had a wonderful experience of CU life as a student in Wales I went on to join the UCCF staff team, moving later to work with the GBU in Italy. Now, working back home in Ireland, I’m so excited to see Christian students engaging with their friends, showing Christ through their lives and community and giving those same friends opportunities to explore the truth of the Gospel. In these dark days of despair about climate change, social issues, the political establishment as well as the prevailing crisis of identity and value, CUs are wonderfully placed to shine like stars in this dark universe. Jesus brings hope, light, truth, love and acceptance and the Christian students are in a fantastic position
to spread this wonderful news.

Personal CU highlight:
I will never forget my first events week as an undergraduate student. We met every morning to pray for the daily events and prepare for the day. I remember we had a white board with specific people we were praying for during that week and over the course of that week many of those people came to faith in Jesus. We were literally “ticking off” the names! I think by the end of that events week, 14 people had come to know Jesus and many others had agreed to read the Gospel of Luke in a small group. It was such an important time for me as a young Christian and shaped how I pray for friends and trust in God who loves to save.

Andrew Morrow

Andrew Morrow

International Student Ministries | Belfast

Being able to witness how the gospel will shape students and then see that good news go to the nations. How could anyone not get excited!

God’s desire is for all nations to know and worship him. And it is such a blessing and privilege to work alongside Friends International and CUI in their mission to make this a reality. I’m excited to see how God will use us as a team, as we have the opportunity to help students develop a genuine love for the gospel, encouraging them to then spread that good news to the nations around them.

I look forward to making meaningful connections with students, allowing me to not only disciple and encourage them but also to benefit from their faith and walk with Christ. Also, I’m eager to see the new relationships that will develop between churches and students as we seek to encourage more student ministries across the local churches. Together, we have the great opportunity to show our love and care for students, pointing them to a life centred around Christ.

Many exciting and thrilling opportunities are coming our way year this year, I can’t wait to see God’s hand at work!

Andy Coleman

Andy Coleman

Associate Staff Worker

I’m so excited to see groups of students within every CU across the island see more of Jesus through scripture, being captivated by his heart to be joy–filled missionaries on their campus!

After becoming a Christian through the CU’s witness in my first year of university as a student in Canterbury, I have been a big fan of serving Christ through the CU. At the end of my degree there was an opportunity to join the CUI team as a Relay Worker in Belfast, and then to stay on as an Associate Staff Worker! My role within CUI is to equip, resource and encourage the work of small groups across the Island to be powerful missional communities.

CU small groups provide such an unique opportunity for mission across the CU. Small groups are a place of community, where students can know and enjoy more of Christ as they study the bible together, pray together and be on mission together. It is a joy and privilege to work with these groups and their leaders to help fulfil our vision: to give every student on campus an opportunity to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Chris McBurney

Chris McBurney

Northern Team Leader

We’re excited to resource and support students as they look to see every student on campus have opportunity to respond to the good news Jesus offers.

I’ve joyfully been a part of CUI for a couple of years now and I’m more passionate about it than when I started! Despite the challenges of the past year of ministry in a Covid world, we’re delighted to see students still passionate about seeing Jesus name lifted high. The growth and development of CUs in the North of our island has been a great source of joy in these past years.

I’m thrilled by what’s coming up next year. With a new Staff Worker in the North Coast, an expanding Belfast team, and some very exciting plans for Missions Weeks already underway for 2022, there’s a lot of optimism.

There has never been a moment like this. The whole world has been brought so low and is in such longing of a greater hope. CUI is uniquely positioned to serve in this moment. We’re excited to resource and support students as they look to see every student on campus have opportunity to respond to the good news Jesus offers.

 

Chris McGuire

Chris McGuire

Staff Worker | Dublin

It’s a joy to be able to serve the local church by coming alongside CUs to help them fulfil the great commission on their campus.

It is a privilege to share the gospel with one person, let alone be given the opportunity to share the gospel with many throughout the week. I am excited to be joining CUI, coming alongside Christian Unions in Dublin to share the gospel of grace. I want to help Christian students give their peers an opportunity to both hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel has radically transformed my life and I long to see it change more lives across campuses here in Dublin.

Universities and Colleges are training and equipping their students to be the next leaders in science, politics, law, sport, the arts and every other discipline, giving Christian Unions a unique position in shaping the future of our country. That’s why it’s so vital to give students the opportunity to hear the gospel, and for students who already love God, to be trained and equipped with the good news of Jesus.

Communications Project Manager

Communications Project Manager

Will YOU join us?

We’re recruiting a crucial and senior role of Communications Project Manager. If you want to find out more, click here

Elin Williams

Elin Williams

Staff Worker | Galway & Limerick

I love seeing students come to know more about God, to see and experience him, and discover that he is good.

After eight years serving and working with the Christian Unions in Bangor, Wales, I’m moving to Ireland. I’m delighted that God has opened the door for me to continue working with students but now in Galway, Limerick, Athlone, and Sligo.

The Christian Unions have such a unique opportunity to reach peers and friends and to give them a beautiful chance to explore the Christian faith for themselves. In the midst of all of this, I love seeing students come to know more of God, to see and experience him, and ultimately, taste and see that he is good.

Moving from one Celtic nation to another I already feel a warmth towards Ireland, it being so similar to Wales. However, I know I will have a lot to learn about Ireland and what makes the Irish… Irish! Our God is a God of all the nations and I’m excited to serve and witness here in Ireland.

Hannah Irwin

Hannah Irwin

Staff Worker | Cork

I am excited to see Christian students know Christ more fully, and continue to share him in word and deed

I am passionate about student mission in Munster because I have had the joy of seeing its impact over my time here. Students who don’t yet know Christ have been brought in by seeing loving community and genuine friendship between Christian students, and they then stay and start to become attracted to the God these Christians worship!

In my work in Cork, Limerick, Tralee and Thurles I have the privilege of seeing Christian students boldly follow Christ where he has placed them. My vision is to see believing students grasp the gospel more fully, dwell in God’s word more deeply and be transformed by the Spirit more each day. I fully believe that as students know and love the Lord more and more, so the light of Christ shines all the more from their lives and leads them to share his love in word and deed with their fellow students.

My prayer is that the Christian Unions of Munster would be used by God for his glory, both now and through the generations.

Heidi Koppen

Heidi Koppen

Associate Staff Worker

I want to come alongside and support students as they courageously walk together as light and salt on their campuses. 

I am excited to be able to help empower students to see what an amazing gift they have in Christ. I’ll be working with smaller or more isolated groups in the South–East and Dublin as they emerge from the challenges of isolation and low connection on their campuses and CUs during the Covid online year. 

My heart’s desire is for them to be thrilled about the transforming work of Christ (that he can affect every aspect of their lives) and embrace the incredible relationship we have with him (because he is intimately involved with us and wants us to know his love) in a personal way. I want to encourage students to be freed to openly share the impact of their life in Christ to peers who may be more open to God and craving connection than ever before because of this last year. 

The past two years I’ve loved passing along tools or training to strengthen this ambition. It is amazing to see students catch the vision and just go for it during their college years, especially as these decisions for Christ and experiences in leading will shape the rest of their lives.

Heledd Job

Heledd Job

International Student Ministries | Dublin

I am excited about seeing students from all over the world fall in love with Jesus as they are welcomed, loved, discipled and then sent out as witnesses to him both in Dublin and wherever God takes them in the future.

As someone who’s spent the last 10 years living as a foreigner, I’ve seen and felt the difference a warm community that displays the welcome of the gospel can make. So I feel privileged starting this new role in Dublin coming alongside churches and CUs as they seek to build and be those kind of communties.  

Many students, and maybe especially many international students long for home. They long for a place to belong, where they are known and loved. What an incredible opportunity we have to tell them of the God who knows them initmately, loves them dearly and who longs to bring them home to himself. That’s why I’m so excited about joining the team in Dublin and about working and praying together to see many students from all over the world come to know the love and welcome of God in Jesus.  

Hollie Tagle

Hollie Tagle

International Student Ministry | Team Leader 

Hollie grew up in Bangor and studied an undergraduate in English Literature and Spanish at Queens University, later followed by a Masters in Theology. She is married to Enrique and they have two beautiful and spirited little girls called Amelia and Lucia. She had previously worked for CUI as a staff worker, before serving in Cuba co–ordinating short and long term ministry placements with Latin Link and teaching Missiology in the Havana Baptist Seminary. She loves being a mum and going on little adventures with Amelia and Lucia, speaking Spanish and enjoying lovely hot baths and warm fires!

Why Hollie loves working with CUI/Friends International
“It is a real honour for me to be able to serve once more with CUI in Ireland through this new role. My time at university, and particularly in the CU, was such a formative season and instilled in me foundational skills and understanding that I continue to build on today. I love being able to draw upon the cultural expertise of FI alongside the local campus engagement of CUI in order to see more and more international students transformed by Christ and his gospel.”

Personal CU/ISM Highlight:  
I have always loved being part of the iWelcome Programme in Belfast which is run over two weeks to welcome new international students arriving into the city. The sheer number of volunteers and variety of people involved – from CU students to church leaders/volunteers from over 7 different churches, (not to mention the international students themselves!) has always been a real picture for me of what unity in Christ can look and feel like. When the church and our Christian Unions not only open their doors to international students but also God’s word and their lives, God is at work transforming the nations – to God be the glory!

Isabel Quinlan

Isabel Quinlan

Staff Worker | Waterford & Carlow

I have the privilege as their Staff Worker to see the flickers of light grow into flames, as students have grown in the knowledge of the love of Christ.

Ten years ago I came to a CU gathering just down the road from campus. Light and laughter and warmth poured out of the students’ house, and I soon learned what it meant to have a life filled with light and laughter and warmth, filled with the love of Christ. THIS is the opportunity that the CUs have.

Students are open to new experiences like never before and have a yearning for real connections. The CUs offer the 17,000 students between Waterford and Carlow ITs who don’t yet know him, a glimpse of the warmth and love of Christ in their community and a chance to learn about and experience him.

My desire for the current CU students is to see them grow in confidence that God’s Spirit is truly present with them on mission in college, to see them point their friends to Christ, knowing that if they follow him, he will bring unspeakable light, laughter and warmth into their lives.

Katie Allen

Katie Allen

Staff Worker | Dublin

I long to see Christian students grow so convinced of Christ’s goodness that they cannot keep from sharing him with their unbelieving friends.

The light of the Gospel shines all the more brightly in darkness. This is especially true at university, where students often feel crushed by uncertainty, disappointment, mental health problems and the pressure to succeed. Many are searching for meaning and purpose. And Jesus is the only good answer.

And yet, ‘How can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?’ This is why I am passionate about encouraging, equipping and mobilising students in Christian Unions – so that the lost might encounter Jesus. I long to see Christian students grow so convinced of Christ’s goodness that they cannot keep from sharing him with their unbelieving friends. I long for them to be so full of his Spirit that they are courageously propelled outwards even in a hostile environment, to offer the hope of the Gospel.

It has been so encouraging to see God work through the CUs in Dublin – whether a CU student having a conversation about faith for the first time, or reading the Bible with a non–believer. It is a real privilege to be part of what God is doing here.

Kim Becker

Kim Becker

International Student Ministries | Belfast 

Kim is originally from Missouri in the United States, but studied in Texas and Seattle and then moved to Baltimore for work. She worked in university administration for six year before coming to Northern Ireland in Sept 2012 to serve as a volunteer church intern. After this experience, she felt led to stay in Belfast and returned in 2014 to study theology for two years, followed by another year as an intern. She enjoys causal danders, sipping good coffee, cooking, and chatting all things current affairs; if friends are involved in any of these things, it’s even better! 

Why Kim loves working with CUI/Friends International:
I really love building relationships with the students from the Christian Union, particularly the international secretaries, who serve at iCafes across Belfast.  I admire their enthusiasm and dedication to befriending students from different cultures!  It’s inspiring to see the next generation of Christians be so invested in loving and serving the nations, and its an honour to encourage and help equip them in doing this well. 

Personal CU/ISM Highlight:  
One of my highlights has been being involved with the iCafe co–cordinated by Queen’s Christian Union and a local Belfast Church.  Each Tuesday evening nearly 50 people fill a small café room in a local church. Half of the individuals are from the church and Christian Union, and the other half are students from around the world – China, Malaysia, India, USA, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, Mexico, Africa and beyond. The majority of the evening is spent chatting, enjoying standard Northern Irish refreshments, and engaging in different themed activities each week.  As I look and listen around the room as the night is meant to draw to a close, the intensity and engagement of conversations are at the highest level. Many of the volunteers find themselves thoughtfully listening to the different viewpoints and sensitively sharing about why following Jesus is Good News!   I am grateful for the opportunity to support such a faithful team each week.

Lizzie Irvine

Lizzie Irvine

Staff Worker | Belfast

My desire is to see more and more students come to know the fullness of life found in Jesus.

Over the past few years, it has been an incredible joy and privilege to see God at work across Belfast. So many students have had the opportunity of seeing the life that Jesus offers us for the first time at uni. And my desire is to see more and more students come to know the fullness of life that is found in following Jesus.

As a staff worker in Belfast, I have the wonderful opportunity of working with a vast number of students, each with so many different gifts and interests. I want to see students enjoying our Father wherever they are placed and seeing their friends encountering him, maybe even for the first time.

CU’s provide rich opportunities for sharing the remarkable message of the Gospel with thousands of students across Belfast and beyond. I love being a part of sharing this message that is so bursting with life!

Luke Sherwin

Luke Sherwin

Associate Staff Worker | Belfast

It is such a joy being part of a team committed to reach all students with the good news of Jesus.

I am really pleased to stay on with CUI after spending a year on Relay in Belfast. I graduated from Stranmillis last summer and spent a year working with Queens CU afterwards. After seeing how God was working in the CU groups on both campuses, I can’t wait to get started as a Staff Worker at Stranmillis.

It is such a joy being part of a team committed to reach all students with the good news of Jesus. I am honoured to be able to play a small part. And it will be amazing going back to Stranmillis having studied there. It’ll be great to go back! I’m excited to see how best we can display Christ there in its unique and strategic context, both on campus and in reaching teachers who will have such a huge influence over the next generation.

Please pray with me that the Spirit will give student leaders wisdom in planning for a year of mission, and that he will draw them into a deep understanding of God’s goodness which he freely offers.

Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis

Director
Mark leads the CUI team and helps set direction for CUs in mission. He travels extensively in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, meeting with students, staff, church leaders, and supporters.

Mark is from Scotland, and spent a number of years leading the UCCF Scotland team in student ministry. He has also served in cross–cultural mission in Asia with OMF, has been the minister of a local church, and worked as an accountant. He is married to Joanne, and they have three children. Mark now has grey hair so must be very wise.

Why Mark loves working with CUI:
“Five out of six Christians around the world came to Christ before the age of 25. So this is a strategic age and ministry and opportunity. I love seeing students reaching students with the gospel. I love seeing a culturally–creative, warm–hearted proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, coming from students who live in close authentic relationships with their friends. I love seeing lives transformed, and have lived long enough to see students go on to serve in and lead churches. I long to see them impact the nation and the world for God’s glory.”

Neus Grier

Neus Grier

Staff Worker & Project Manager | Dublin

I’ve had the privilege of seeing God grow the CUs I’ve worked with in size and in outward–looking focus!

A student told me: “Last year, you said ‘name drop Jesus into conversation’ and since then, sharing the gospel with friends has been so much easier and possible!”

I didn’t remember that moment, but my student did! What I do know is that I’ve loved working with students in Dublin CUs the past four years: opening the Bible with them and seeing God’s word shape their lives; seeing well–equipped student leaders grow in conviction and passion for sharing the gospel with their fellow students; seeing answers to regular prayer, and so much more. I’ve had the privilege of seeing God grow the CUs I’ve worked with in size and in outward–looking focus!

Moving forward, I’m excited to have a new opportunity to be involved in wider CUI team projects such as communications and re–launching EQUIP next year, but also to continue working alongside RCSI CU. In God’s faithfulness, they such a thirst to learn, care for others, and a growing desire to share the gospel. I can’t wait to share this beautiful journey with you!

Sally Patty

Sally Patty

Head of Office 

Sally is a graduate of UU Jordanstown and later worked there in Business/IT research before leaving to join the UCCF Ireland team as Administrator. She has served in this role first full–time and now part–time for 20+ yrs, but as no two weeks are ever the same it continues to throw up new areas of learning.

She is married to Steve and they have 2 children – Esther and Joshua, and they are part of the church family at Holywood Baptist Church. As a family, when not found in one of the many local coffee shops or parks, they enjoy swimming, exploring new places and even occasionally camping.

Sally is based in the CUI Belfast office but also manages the Dublin office. She mostly keeps CUI from descending into chaos.

Why Sally loves working with CUI:
“University was the time in my life where I grew most – matured as a person and as a Christian, CU and IFES were central to this. I love seeing students grasp what the Gospel means for them and the impact it can have on their lives, studies and future. I especially love the Worldwide nature of the ministry. This affords our students the chance to be exposed to other IFES movements, whether through attending conferences, going on summer teams or spending a year or more serving another Student movement. I’ve seen firsthand the impact that has had on those individual students and those with whom they come into contact. It is a privilege and a blessing to see God at work in students’ lives in Ireland and around the world.”

Wallace Bruce

Wallace Bruce

Staff Worker | North–west

I really believe that if students develop deep relationships with Jesus, the potential impact on their university will be immense

I’m excited to start as the North–west Staff Worker. I’m a recent graduate from Ulster University in Coleraine, which introduced me to both the stunning North coast and the work of CUI.

It’s an unbelievable privilege to join the CUI team and work with students across the North West, in a place where I and many others experience God’s presence so powerfully. So many students experience the Father’s love for them for the first time through a coastal sunset or serene sea in this part of the country. This makes for an incredible context to disciple and make new disciples through the platform that Christian Unions offer.

I’m excited to see the Holy Spirit move in the lives of students, inviting them into a deeper relationship with Jesus and sending them out to love the world and make him known. There are so many at university who need to hear of the love that the Father has for them. Christian Unions are vital to reach these people at such a critical time of their lives.

 

Andrew Rogers

Andrew Rogers

Relay Worker | Queens

Andrew will be starting in August 2021

Clara Rose Armstrong

Clara Rose Armstrong

Relay Worker | Jordanstown

Clara Rose will be starting in August 2021

Katie Young

Katie Young

Relay Worker | Trinity College Dublin

Katie will be starting in August 2021

Molly Brown

Molly Brown

Relay Worker | Galway

Molly will be starting in August 2021

Olivia Anderson

Olivia Anderson

Reach Worker | Belfast

Olivia will be starting in August 2021

Patrick Neill

Patrick Neill

Media Relay Intern

Patrick will be starting in August 2021

Sara Blackburn

Sara Blackburn

Relay Worker | Belfast

Sara will be starting in August 2021

Tiwani Akinlabi

Tiwani Akinlabi

Relay Worker | Cork

Tiwani will be starting in August 2021