I’m excited to start as the new North West Staff worker this year!
Last year I graduated from Ulster University Coleraine and have been fortunate enough to call the north coast home since then. I’d consider my time at UUC pretty formational in my growth as a person, and university introduced me to lots of new things – CU, deep friendships, the wild north coast and my lovely girlfriend Jenny! I studied Media and Production and kept busy playing for the uni rugby team. I got to study abroad in Oklahoma for a year too – what’s the point of studying abroad if you don’t mention it at every given opportunity, right?
I’m thankful to have had such an abundant university experience, filled with many 4am McDonalds trips and barrel loads of laughter. I have felt God’s blessing among the salty sea air many times, and I have seen first–hand why the north coast is a ‘thin place’ for so many, where they experience the Father through sunsets, ‘White Rocks’, and big waves.
With all this in mind, the prospect of serving God’s kingdom through the ministry of CUI in the North West is pretty enthusing! There is no doubt that God is moving in this corner of our island, and many victories are being won on the grounds of university campuses. Thinking back to my time as a member of UUC Christian Union, I’m reminded of many ways in which we felt God move through the three years that university grants us. One of the most significant things my CU asked of me was how my walk with Christ was really affecting my life, in the ways which mattered most.
I like how this is described in Matthew 13. Jesus describes the Kingdom of God as a little leaven which is worked through three measures of dough, causing it all to rise. If you (like me) dabbled with sourdough in the pit of lockdown–induced boredom this year, you’ll have a new appreciation for how powerful a little bit of leaven can be. My time in CU was influential in my willingness to allow God’s kingdom to reign in every part of my life. I realised I was meant to glorify God during my Media Studies seminars and my rugby training as much as I did in the middle of our CU worship. It’s still a struggle, and I fail often, but I’m thankful that my CU encouraged me towards such a holistic application of my faith.
And so, as I look forward to encouraging students through my new role, my heart beats excitedly. There is so much potential for followers of Christ to tap into while at university. I’m privileged to play just a small part in the big plan which God has for the North West over the coming months.