The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) collegiate ministries network, UKirk, is expanding. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church (CPC) is in the process of adopting UKirk branding for its collegiate ministries, furthering strengthening both the network and ties between the two denominations.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in this way,” says UKirk national director Jason Santos. “In a small way it’s symbolic of effort towards unity, and attends to broader thought in our denomination. It also points to the fact that UKirk is becoming a more connected network for Presbyterian collegiate ministers—and all of the students who come.”
Nathan Wheeler, CPC coordinator for youth and young adult ministry, is also excited about the new partnership. “We haven’t had a campus ministry in place for our students to connect to that makes sense to our ideological and theological roots,” says Wheeler. “I’m pleased for our students for the opportunities they will have through UKirk to be shaped by faith that allows them to develop their own belief system.”
Currently the CPC has collegiate ministry sites partnering with Tennessee Tech in Cookville and Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro. The CPC is also exploring possible connections with UKirk Nashville at Vanderbilt and Belmont University. “Thanks to this partnership we’re going to be able to build infrastructure,” says Wheeler, “and create opportunities for those who are led to work, or be involved in campus ministry.”
The Cumberland Presbyterian Church has roughly 75,000 members in more than 700 congregations—just over 50 over those churches are outside of the United States. An average of 150 to 200 students attend the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Youth Conference on an annual basis.
The PC(USA) and the CPC already partner for the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, which is held every three years. An estimated 5,000 students will attend the 2016 Triennium July 19-23, at Purdue University.