I get asked a lot, “Why is UKirk so important to you?” For starters, I’m on the board for UKirk at the University of Tennessee and get to see first hand this amazing ministry. My job is to help support and encourage the staff and students here and make sure we are able to carry out our vision and mission. I choose to give my time and my money because I understand that in order to do all the things, it takes both time and money.

As a board, we’ve committed to show up and be present more than we have ever in the past. Spending time getting to know students has been such a pleasure. I enjoy talking to them and learning about what is important in their life. I am amazed that even though they are spending so much time in class and studying, they still want to come together and have theological discussions and studies. It should also be noted that the students will tell you how important the sacraments are to them. Weekly Communion at UWorship is an important reminder that we are ALL welcome at the table.

Any time I’ve been asked about my involvement with UKirk, I always think back on those baptismal promises we make each time a child is baptized in our home churches. The sacrament of baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace by God through Jesus Christ and moves us into a community of faith. UKirk is where those promises are lived out. We are called together in this community of faith to show care and love to others. It does not matter that I was not present at the baptisms of the students at UKirk.  I can be an extension of their home church – showing up and caring for them as they navigate this uncertain time in their lives.

Members of the Pastor Nominating Committee

UKirk UTK is special for so many reasons.  I give my time here because I can feel the Spirit moving in a profound way. This has been a time of transition for us as we search for a new campus minister. I’ve seen leaders emerge among the students; ensuring this transition period is as smooth as possible. These students, interns, and residents have helped around the house, volunteered in worship, and worked with our wonderful Interim Executive Director and Communications Coordinator, Jaclyn Beeler, to ensure this ministry continues while we discern God’s call for our future.

Student Leadership Board

Let’s face it, campus ministry costs money. We have to have funds to keep this vital ministry going.  We are doing great things on campus! I encourage you to join us for worship on Wednesday nights at 7pm, come to Seminary Light on Mondays at 12:15 for lunch, or grab a cup of coffee in UPerk. You will see a vibrant community that loves and cares for each other, that loves learning and worshiping together, and loves being a place of welcome.

I give to UKirk UTK because I want to continue to support and nurture the students during this important time in their lives. I want them to know they are loved and welcomed here.  I give because I fully believe “that every person, without qualification, should have the opportunity for God’s amazing love to be made known to them.”

If you are interested in UKirk UTK or want to know how you can support us, please let me know! I’d love to chat about how you can become involved in this ministry!

Emily Sweetland
Chair, Board of Directors
Member of Farragut Presbyterian Church