When I was in college I took a writing class in which we had to read a book on the topic of writing. One of the options was Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. I chose this book without really knowing anything about it or the author. I never could have foreseen that this decision would be a critical one in my evolving faith journey.

Through Bird by Bird I learned a lot about the process of writing, but it was never my intention to be a writer, so those are not the lessons that have stuck with me through the years. It’s the personal story of Anne Lamott and her spiritual journey that hooked me and convinced me to read more of her writing, along with other authors focusing on similar topics. The realization that slowly started to sink in was that I could be an authentic spiritual person, and even retain my Christian faith, without looking anything like the people I grew up with in my small, home town church. And by look nothing like, I mean not only physically, but intellectually, politically, and spiritually. That was an epiphany at the time.

Due to these insights, I started seeking a new spiritual community. The community I found came from the books I was reading, but I didn’t have the gift of a real live community of people with whom to learn, grow, and find support.

Ukirk is the community I wish I could have been a part of in that season of my life. The mission statement says it beautifully.

We believe all people are invited to Christ’s table, not to fit in, but rather to bring their honest, authentic, and, at times, broken selves to belong and experience the grace of God.

This is the community I am now honored to be a part of as a board member and a financial supporter. It is a place where all people are honored and welcomed just as they are, where they can study, fellowship, drink coffee, play games, and worship all under the same roof. It is a much needed home away from home for many students. It is a place my kids, ages, 10, 8, and 3, all enjoy visiting because they know there will always be a thoughtful college student willing to chat with them,  make them a cup of hot chocolate, or help them climb into the fun swing chair to relax. Ukirk is the type of community I hope my daughters will find when they attend college, and it is the type of place I hope for all people to have the privilege of experiencing at some point in their lives.


Jenny Troyer
UKirk Board Member