Richard Cunningham resigns as head of UCCF after 20 years

Richard Cunningham speaking at the Forum 2022 event.(Photo: UCCF)

Richard Cunningham is to step down after 20 years as national director of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF). 

"It has been an immense privilege to lead UCCF over these past 20 years, and I am so grateful to staff and supporters without whom our CUs would not be adequately resourced," he said in a statement.

"The witness of university CUs - students reaching students for Christ - is as vital today as it has ever been and deserves wide support from across the church."

The announcement follows a challenging 15 months for UCCF during which an independent investigation was carried out into concerns about its employment policies and practices. Some of the complaints were upheld, prompting an apology from UCCF. 

"I cannot pretend that this year has not put a huge strain on me and my family and, after prayerful reflection, I am making this my last academic year at UCCF," said Cunningham.

"Announcing my departure this early gives the Trustees sufficient time to identify and appoint a new CEO to be in place before August. Please join me in praying for the Trustees as they begin this process."

UCCF has paid tribute to the growth of the organisation under his leadership, with field staff increasing by 42% and over 100 CU event weeks taking place on campuses each year. 

Simon Day, Chair of the UCCF Trustees, said: "The Trustees, staff and CUs thank God for blessing the work amongst students through Richard and under his leadership.

"His vision and commitment to students has led to a wealth of new initiatives and resources in the past two decades. We are profoundly grateful to Richard for all that he has given, and we wish him well in whatever God calls him to next.

"Advertising for his successor starts immediately, as we seek to create the largest pool of possible applicants. We ask for the prayers of all CUs, partner churches and supporters as we earnestly seek God's person to become the new CEO."