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Collegiate ministry network incorporates as independent entity


UKirk College Ministries Association Inc. is also searching for a new executive director

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — UKirk, the collegiate ministry network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is in the process of incorporating as its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. And, as UKirk College Ministries Association Inc., the association is actively searching for a new national executive director.

“We hope the person called will have a love for — and be a connector and advocate for — campus ministry,” says UKirk’s national board co-moderator, Neil Myer. “Telling the story of the good things God is doing in Presbyterian campus ministries, far and wide.”

Myer is the campus minister at UKirk at Michigan State University, which began in 2012 after actions taken by the 220th General Assembly that year to make UKirk the brand for PC(USA) campus ministries across the country. The move was part of an effort to create or renew 101 college worshiping communities.  This coincided with the 2012 GA commitment to create 1001 new worshiping communities by 2022.

Part of the original vision presented at GA was that UKirk would one day incorporate.

“I’m thrilled to finally see this vision come to fruition,” says the Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos. “It was a topic of conversation throughout my tenure as national (UKirk) director.”

As Presbyterian Mission Agency coordinator of Christian formation, Santos said he’s looking forward to partnering with and supporting UKirk, which is now part of the Christian Formation Collective.  Made of five associations — which also includes Presbyterian church educators, youth workers, camp and conference, and older adult ministry leaders — the Office of Christian Formation is partnering with each to enrich Presbyterians’ formation ministries across a lifetime.

University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas has had a campus ministry for University of Texas students for more than 100 years and benefited greatly when UKirk was formed in 2012.

“We were able to rebrand as UKirk at UPC Austin and capitalize on energy from the GA’s task force’s vision,” said the Rev. Krystal Leedy, who joined the University Presbyterian Church staff as the associate pastor for campus ministry in 2013.

Recently Leedy, who serves as clerk on UKirk’s national board, helped connect a University of Texas graduating senior to a UKirk campus ministry in Illinois, where the student will do graduate work. This student was part of a large evangelical ministry at Texas until she discovered UKirk during her senior year.

“She was so glad she found us,” Leedy said. “Having grown up Presbyterian, she was thrilled to be part of a connectional church again, with a progressive voice saying, ‘We welcome all people.’”

The national board hopes its new executive director will raise awareness of UKirk by connecting high school students with Presbyterian campus ministries and churches near the universities they attend.

“If we haven’t a place to send them on our college campuses that are in line with our PC(USA) beliefs and foundations, then we lose the right to cry, ‘Where are our young adults?’” says Myer, the national board’s co-moderator. “We’re all trying to be a constant presence in their formation.

“It’s exciting. The new season is here,” Myer added. “The Holy Spirit is on the move.”

Moving forward, UKirk’s incorporation gives the national board more autonomy and direct oversight of budget, resources and programmatic possibilities that can best serve campus ministers in the network.

To read a letter from the UKirk board about the incorporation or to read read the job description or apply for the UKirk national executive director position, click here.

Priority will be given to applications received before June 1.

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