In November 2016, I was asked to be on the board of UKirk. I didn’t hesitate and jumped on the opportunity (even though I have no ties to UTK or have college-age kids). I met Andy at the Middle School fall retreat and have been excited and intrigued by the ministry at UKirk ever since!

When I was in college, I was not involved in a campus ministry. I thought about how awesome it would have been to experience my faith in a place like UKirk. The mission is clear, a place of refuge, a safe space to ask questions, an environment where we can learn from one another and experience all the ways we can be the hands and feet of Christ in our community and around the world. I love the fact that you can be you and are welcome no matter what. You don’t have to know all the answers and are welcome. Bottom line, you are welcome at UKirk! 


At one board meeting, Rev. Andy talked about baptismal promises that we all make at our home churches during a baptism. It struck a nerve with me, and I realized that being on the board at UKirk can be a way to help carry out promises to these students. We can nurture and help care for their spiritual needs as they grow in their faith. We can welcome the students with open arms and carry out the promises of God’s amazing grace! 

I’m excited to be a part of this ministry and watch it grow! There are so many ways to get involved. I hope you take the time to see how you can serve this ministry with your time, talents, or money.  With the students returning next week, we have a great opportunity to show them God’s love and be a safe space to learn and grow and ask questions. I have been blessed by this ministry and hope that you will be too! 

Emily Sweetland

Emily Sweetland
UKirk UTK Board of Directors