“How UCM Changed My Life”

This page is dedicated to those who would like to share their experience with University Christian Ministries.

Below is a testimony from Katherine Willis Pershey, a UWM graduate who attended UCM in her college years:

“Beginning in a new city is always a slightly terrifying experience. When I started my life in Milwaukee, I searched through the different Christian organizations on/around campus, coming across many that were very promising and many that were very discouraging! When I found UCM, I was excited for volunteer opportunities to serve others, for free lunch, and for an opportunity to meet some others trying to learn about what faith is. The small Bible study turned out to be a place where I felt comfortable sharing my questions and concerns about Christianity. I loved being encouraged to think critically and not just accept whatever I was taught. UCM has become a place where I can spend time with others who have both similar values and different ideas, which drives deep growth in my understanding of God. I’m hopeful that through my involvement with UCM, I can similarly meet people where they’re at, talk with them as we question what we know about our faith, and grow in our understanding of Christ, all the while reaching out to others in our community.”

– Eileen Newsome


“My favorite thing about UCM is that it’s small, which allows us to be open, to share more of ourselves with Mama Church.  In a world where Christian groups have to be big or are considered unsuccessful, UCM remembers that Jesus had 12 disciples not 120 :)”

-Matthew Reher

Juliana Henry

University Christian Ministries has become my safety net on campus.  I was introduced to UCM my sophomore year and it quickly became one of the most important places for me.  My hometown is pretty far away, so the fact that I have a Christian home away from home for fellowship and support is essential. This place is a sanctuary on campus.   I am honored that I can talk and study the Bible with people my own age who are going through the exact same challenges as I.  My walk with Christ has been strengthened through University Christian Ministries’ study, fellowship and friendship.  My hope is to one day help someone else’s faith the way UCM has helped mine.



“I give the complete credit to God for helping me find UCM. I’d been looking at all of the Christian groups on campus but nothing was working out — mostly due to time conflicts. None of the places felt like that’s where I was supposed to be, either. I was getting frustrated and shared my frustration with my girlfriend one night. The next morning a miracle occurred.

I was walking to UWM and just before I entered the doors to the Student Union I said a little prayer. I asked God to “give me a sign” and “lead me where he wanted me to be.” I then walked in the doors to the Union Concourse where student organization and event banners are often hung, and right above the steps I was taking was a banner for the UCM Lunch Bunch. It was hanging right above where I was going and, if memory serves, it was the only Christian organization banner up. I knew instantly God had LITERALLY given me a sign. I later found out that at the exact time I was praying, my girlfriend had been praying too (I texted her right after I saw the sign).

The next Wednesday I attended Lunch Bunch. I knew this place was special and I felt as if I’d come home where I was supposed to be. Everyone exuded Christ’s love and had a serving heart. As I learned more about UCM I found God had led me to the perfect place: Ecumenical in nature, UCM showed the love of Christ to all, but still held to the Bible as the Truth. They even mostly used my favorite translation (NRSV), and had a 12-volume commentary set I’d wished I could read for 2 years on their shelf.

After a short time I talked to Pastor Alan about being part of a Bible study…but he suggested I run one — something I always wanted to do, and now I had access to the commentary set to help as well. It surprised me how accommodating and helpful everyone was there as well as how complete of a plan God can make. The following semester I became an official intern and immersed myself in service.

The time I spent there was some of the best in my life and I hope to still be able to help and visit from time to time. You really feel like you make a difference with the weekly free lunch program and other offerings for students and community. UCM is greatly needed at UWM and I thank God that he led me there and pray he blesses everyone who walks through their door as greatly as I have been.”

-Erik Hanley


“When I first arrived at UCM as a shy sophomore, I had no idea how greatly the organization would affect my life.  I began by attending the weekly Lunch Bunch program and was eventually convinced by Natalie, the Administrative Assistant, to interview for an internship.  I began as a student intern in the fall semester of 2006.  My main duty was to lead the weekly worship program. That first year I learned to ‘break out of my shell’ and collaborate with my fellow band mates in order to create a worthwhile worship experience. Through leading worship and playing keyboard in the band I was able to use my musical talents to express my faith for the first time.”

“I went on my first mission trip with UCM.  We traveled to Houma, Louisiana to help people rebuild their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav.  It was sobering to see the mass destruction caused by the hurricane, but I was touched by the friendliness and gratitude of the people we helped.  I realized that the people whose homes were destroyed by the hurricane are really no different than us.  They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.”

“This is my third year of involvement in University Christian Ministries.  I am currently the Administrative Assistant and Lunch Bunch Coordinator.  I greatly enjoy talking and sharing stories with the people who come.”

“UCM is not just a building where students gather for free lunches on Wednesdays.  It is a place to worship, grow, and experience Jesus Christ through wonderful people who genuinely care.  Come to UCM and see for yourself!”

-Emily Stewart

“In addition to providing me free food, UCM has made a difference in my life by giving me so many opportunities to grow as a person. I found myself not doing well financially and decided to give UCM a try my sophomore year. It was an important decision in my life because it has lead me to become a part of this wonderful organization not only as a student, but as the organization president, lunch bunch coordinator, and administrative assistant. These things have given me great skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to work alongside some great people and meet so many wonderful students that come through our door. I know how much this organization helps students because of how accepting it is and how helpful it is financially and spiritually to everyone. Everyone has been so kind and gracious with giving me the opportunity to serve this organization and I can’t thank them all enough. In three years I have grown as a person and spiritually thanks to UCM. UCM has taught me to trust God’s timing for everything in my life. I am going to miss UCM when I graduate, but I am happy to have had it in my life for three years.”

-Mattie Barnhart

“In addition to providing me with free food, UCM has made a difference in my life by giving me a safe place where I can be myself. I have met so many difference people through UCM and gained lifelong bonds. UCM let me discover things about myself that I didn’t know and I’m truly grateful for that!”

Antonio Loggins

Hugo Tran 12/31/18

“In addition to providing me free food, UCM has made a difference in my life by providing me with a place I can call home. As I enter the house, I am always greeted with open arms. UCM makes you feel like you are a part of their family. Going to UCM during the week helps me relieve some stress. UCM has taught me to be grateful for what you have. Seeing Pastor Alan, Steve, and all the volunteers take a few hours out of their days to feed college students really says something. They literally could be doing anything, but they still continue to help these students. It really has opened my eyes to see how thankful I am to have UCM and the people that run UCM on our campus.”

“In addition to providing me with free food, UCM has made a difference in my life by being welcoming to all cultures and ethnicities. UCM brings an environment that struggling students can attend to and also offers moments of fellowship.”

Pater Moua