August 8, 2021
Did you know that UKirk stands for University-Church (or kirk, a reference to our Scottish roots)? It is the name adopted in 2012 for the 200-plus PC(USA) and Cumberland Presbyterian-related collegiate ministries across the nation. The names of each ministry are as varied as the colleges that are their mission fields — UKirk or Presbyterian Campus Ministry or Presby Student Ministry or United Campus Ministry — yet what unites all of our network ministries is their passion for welcoming young adults into Christian communities of faith and practice where they can explore their faith and discern God’s call upon their lives.
On any given day, if you type in the words UKirk, Presbyterian, Campus Ministry or a host of other words in the search bar on Instagram, dozens of links will appear that will give you a glimpse into the beautiful and dynamic world of collegiate ministry across the PC(USA).
This is a prayer discipline I have every few weeks as the executive director of the UKirk Collegiate Ministries Association (ukirk.org).
Social media cannot share the breadth and depth of laughter, tears, prayers, songs, community and faith that is the soundtrack to collegiate ministry throughout the network. Yet it can give us glimpses — snapshots — of the amazing ministry happening in and through the UKirk network across the country, and the profound transformation that is taking place in the lives of young adults during this pivotal time in their faith formation. As the whole church celebrates College and Young Adult Sunday today (for resources, go to ukirk.org/worship-resource-for-college-and-young-adult-sunday-august-8-2021), I want to share one recent post featuring Consal, a member of United Campus Ministry and recent graduate of Texas State University (@ucmtxstate).
On this video post, Consal, a student leader at UCM and 2021 graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, we hear Consal’s story of being born in the Congo and raised in South Africa and Austin, Texas. She shares her favorite memories of her time in campus ministry, and her hopes and dreams for the future (a job was of course on the list!). When asked what impact campus ministry has had upon her life, she mentions lifelong friendships and the community that has shaped her, and then she shares a story about a time when she read a prayer and “felt a sense of peace; God was right there next to me.” She goes on to say, “I felt God there, and realized God has been with me through it all.” Considering that her final year of college has taken place during a pandemic, to proclaim that God has been and will continue to be with her through it all is a powerful testimony, and I’m sure it is just a glimpse of what Consal will take with her from her time with campus ministry.
Please join me in prayer for the campus ministers and chaplains as they prepare to welcome students (back) to campus post-pandemic lockdown, student leaders, volunteers and board members who will welcome and invite new students into their faith communities, and the congregations, individuals, presbyteries and synods who support this work financially.
Rev. Gini Norris-Lane, Executive Director, UKirk Collegiate Ministries Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, August 8, 2021, the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
Today’s Focus: College and Young Adult Sunday
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Elle Rogers, Marketing Manager, Electronic Resources & Strategic Business Development, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation
Lauren Rogers, Project Manager, Special Offerings,/Appeals, Mission Engagement & Support, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Let us pray
God of all times and places, we give you thanks that you are with us in all the seasons of our lives, when we feel you near and even when we wonder or wander. As students prepare to go to college for the first time or return to a community that has become like home, we ask that you guide, support and encourage them as they step into this new season of life. Be with the campus ministers and chaplains as they plan and prepare for the student’s arrival, and inspire in them a newfound energy, intelligence, imagination and love for your beloved ones. Through the church local and national, provide both the human and financial resources so that our ministries can flourish in this time and place. Continue to inspire your church to partner with your Spirit to care for, learn from and come alongside young adults in this season of life and ministry together. Through Christ we pray, Amen.