For 32 years, The Arden School of Theatre (part of UCEN Manchester) did not have its own Christian Union. Now that’s all changed.
In 2022, Izzy Martin was studying at The Arden, a drama school in Manchester, when the school announced it was to move across the city to new buildings, far from the University of Manchester Christian Union of which she had been part since starting her studies. Nevertheless, putting her trust in the Lord, she decided to start a new outward-looking Christian community at the new campus, with just one other Christian student.
'Looking back over a page in my prayer journal that I wrote back at the start of our CU, I can see that God has provided us with everything and more.’
‘This time last year, when I was thinking about beginning a CU, I wasn’t even sure we’d get one member,’ explains Izzy. ‘But God has answered that prayer and many more, in the best way possible. Starting the Impact Group in a place with only one other Christian meant we had to be so reliant on God to make it work. Looking back over a page in my prayer journal that I wrote back at the start of our CU, I can see that God has provided us with everything and more.’
Manchester is home to more than 50,000 students. At the prompting of Meg, the Manchester CU Impact Group Coordinator, Izzy drew a relational map to see whom God had placed her life, who she could invite to join the Impact Group. This visual representation of her mission field inspired Izzy to consider what an Impact
Group targeted at reaching the students on her course could look like.
‘We now have around five regular attendees each week,’ Izzy said. ‘They’re all enthusiastic about being part of the Impact Group, despite most of them not being Christians. God always provides amazing conversation and has given us a place to meet and a time that works for everyone.’
‘I’m the newest member of this Impact Group and I'll be here every week'
To Izzy’s surprise, God opened the door for her to advertise the new Impact Group on TV screens around the UCEN Students’ Union building. One girl, having seen the posters, got in touch with Izzy through the CU’s social media channel and is now a regular attendee. ‘I’m the newest member of this Impact Group and I'll be here every week,’ she said.
Not in this alone
In March, Izzy joined 88 other CU leaders from universities across the north west of England for a weekend of training. Hosted by UCCF Staff and Relay Workers, the weekend comprised Bible readings on John’s Gospel, role-specific seminars, one aimed at Impact Group leaders just like Izzy, and time for sung worship and prayer that allowed these students to grow in their evangelism.
‘It was so encouraging, especially learning from other CU leaders how best to talk to seeking students about Jesus. Hearing the amazing stories about how God is working in other CUs makes me so excited to see what His plan is for our CU at The Arden.’
As these new leaders were equipped to start their new roles well, they were given the chance to think creatively about sharing the gospel on campus and encouraged that they're not alone in that mission but part of a much greater team reaching students all over Great Britain and the world.
‘My biggest takeaway from Forum North West is the reminder of what an honour it is to serve our awesome God! And how loving He really is,’ reflected Izzy.
Looking ahead to mission
Over the past year, Izzy’s prayers have been abundantly answered. As she looks towards the coming term and next academic year, Izzy continues to ask God for His blessing: ‘I’m praying that there would be no barriers to people coming to the CU and that we could get multiple Impact Groups going.’ Join us as we ask the Lord to bring many seeking students to know Jesus personally through the witness of The Arden CU.
This article was first published in Impact, our supporter magazine. To receive this on your doormat once a term, sign up here.
Can we set cookies? We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We’d also like to set analytics cookies that help us make improvements by measuring how you use the site. More about cookies.
By clicking the Accept button below you are giving your consent for us to set cookies.