The PC(USA)'s collegiate ministry professionals are moving to three organizations. The Presbyterian College Chaplains Association, PCCA, will remain unchanged, and continue to function as it currently does. PACHEM's roles will be divided into two groups. The Office of Collegiate Ministries Advisory Board will function as its name implies, and will work on long range strategy. (Part of that long range strategy may include some student organization or event.) The majority of PACHEM will be folded into UKirk. The website, resources, newsletters, conferences, and Collegiate Ministry Locator will migrate to www.ukirk.org in the next few months. PACHEM members, and those who already receive newsletters, will be seamlessly transferred to UKirk (we hope!)
UKirk (as even the name implies) holds up congregational based college ministry as its standard model. According to the 2012 Collegiate Ministry Strategy, congregations near campuses will be identified and helped/ encouraged to develop a campus ministry mission.
So what about those doing collegiate ministry but who are not congregation based?
The UKirk branding will be useful to those stand-alone Presbyterian Campus Ministers. Ecumenical ministries may be able to work UKirk in somehow, perhaps when they list the seals of the various denominations supporting them. The ecumenical ministries would be included in the Ministry Locator.
What about PCUSA congregations near a campus who currently support an ecumenical ministry on campus? Can they work in tandem, both being UKirk Ministries? Can there be numerous UKirk chapters for a single campus? More thinking is needed in this area.
As for chaplains, perhaps a few church-related institutions will be able to use the UKirk brand /logo for their own Presbyterian fellowship group on campus. Most chaplaincies, because of their charge to the entire campus, will not.
The hope is that the UKirk emphasis will stimulate the chaplains to encourage the local PCUSA church to step up the church's
college ministry. The hope is that the congregations and the
chaplaincies will work better together to" reach, love, and teach" the
One of the underlining UKirk assumptions, I think,
is that the churches near our colleges have mainly assumed that the
chaplains are doing the campus ministry for the congregations, while at
the same time the churches don't understand the ramifications of the multifaith component of the
chaplains. Many chaplaincies and local congregations have cordial relations, but not the level and spirit of cooperation UKirk implies. By stimulating the congregations to be active doing campus
ministry while working with the chaplains, the chaplains will feel more
support from the congregations. The end result is that more students will get connected.
don't have a good feel for how the denomination's "worshiping community" concept will be
a part of all this. The Chaplaincies have their own worshiping communities,
most with strong Reformed overtones. Will the denomination take credit
for them? Will chaplains be treated as congregational pastors instead of
second class Presbyters? Might not a congregation have a worshiping
community of college students, while the chaplain also has one (and with
some students involved in both?)
This is an exciting time for collegiate ministry, fraught with potential. And hope springs eternal.....
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