UKirk means the world to me. This place carried me through some of my toughest moments and difficult challenges and celebrated my biggest victories. I grew up in PC(USA) churches but when I came to UTK as a freshman I was open to being a part of other churches and campus ministries. I was eager to explore my options on campus and in Knoxville. A year and a half of searching later, I finally landed at UKirk UTK for the first time and found my home on campus. I spent the rest of undergrad and grad school in and out of the UKirk house and was lucky enough to live and intern there.
Six years ago, I left an irreplaceable home church and went off to college. I had no idea how much that church and community meant to me until I left it. When I moved to Knoxville I was lucky that UKirk gave me a community, challenged me, and nourished my faith as a college student. As the current Campus Minister says, Ukirk seeks to be a baptism promise keeper and Ukirk did just that for me. Ukirk taught me about being a leader in my community and in my church. UKirk bridged the gap for me and carried me through the years between my high school youth group and becoming an active young adult in the church.
I graduated from graduate school in 2016 and I have found that being a young adult in the church can be hard and uncomfortable. It’s hard to find your place after growing up in a youth group where you have an automatic group to belong to and then move on to a campus ministry that feels like home almost immediately. Becoming a young adult in the church means you have to make decisions for yourself. What Sunday school class should I go to? Do I want to go to one? Do I want to teach one? Where is my community or how do I find it? Why was this so much easier in High School and College? Will I ever be able to find a church that I love as much as the church I grew up in?
These are all questions I have asked myself during my first year as a young adult in the church. In fact, I am still asking myself most of these questions. I can almost guarantee you that Ukirk and the community I have in my home church are the reasons that I am still an active young adult in the church. I am no longer a student in the church but instead have become a teacher in the church, a volunteer in the church, and a board member in the church.
Being a part of UKirk as a student has inspired me to be an active UKirk UTK board member. I get to work to help UKirk become a vital part of student’s lives like it was in mine. I get to be a part of what UKirk UTK is doing on campus to welcome all students, to help build communities, and to continue to help keep those baptismal promises. UKirk taught me so much about being a part of a community, giving without receiving, and just how vital campus ministry is to the future of the church.
Please join me in giving to UKirk UTK as we strive to match the amount that a recent graduate gave on the day of their graduation.