Where We Pray: University Christian Church offers prayer, service and a coffee shop to UC community

CINCINNATI - The Tri-State is rich in the number and variety of houses of worship. In our weekly feature, WCPO shines the spotlight on where we pray.

University Christian Church (UCC)

Address: 245 W. McMillan Ave., Cincinnati (Clifton/Uptown)
Denomination: Independent Christian Church
Top Clergy:
 Mandy Smith, Lead Pastor
; Anthony Jones, Associate Pastor (Campus Ministry)
; Nathan Smith, Associate Pastor (Worship & Community Engagement)
Size of Congregation: 250

Core Beliefs:

The centrality of Jesus Christ as the way to a restored relationship with God and the Bible is the inspired word of God. These are the essentials of the faith and all other doctrinal issues are non-essentials.

Members live by the saying, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. And in all things love.” This means the community is made up of many people from different political and denominational backgrounds, working together to discover what it means to follow Jesus in daily lives. MORE

Affiliations: Restoration Movement


From its humble beginnings in a living room in 1989 to a building in the center of Uptown, the UCC mission to serve the University of Cincinnati and surrounding neighborhoods has remained the same.

The original group of about a dozen members has since grown to a congregation of more about 250. Thousands of church alumni are now working and serving all over the country and the world.

In 2003, the congregation opened Rohs Street Café (Cincinnati’s first Fair Trade cafe) as a nonprofit to provide the community a space for gathering, arts and conversation.

So, while UCC has two church services on Sunday, its facility is busy seven days a week, hosting concerts, recitals, study groups, poetry readings, and music lessons.

Over the centuries, monasteries practiced the art of Christian hospitality, and UCC hopes to revive that lost art simply by creating a place that expresses the love experienced from God, whether or not the guests believe in Him.

UCC in the community

The denomination reaches out to UC students, helping them discover how whatever they’re studying can be an opportunity for service to the world. UCC also has a vibrant community of local families. Together, congregation members support coffee growers in Guatemala, mentor local students through Whiz Kids tutoring, and serve the homeless at City Gospel Mission.

UCC often tries to express its values and beliefs in creative ways. For example, in October 2013 the congregation conducted an experiment called,“Prayer Point.” Members went on prayer walks in the community: As individuals, families, and in small groups they prayed for neighbors and wrote, “I prayed here,” in chalk on sidewalks to leave tangible signs of the project.

Connect with UCC:

RELATED Where We Pray: New Prospect Baptist Church focuses on faith, worship and community ministries


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