PROWL ministry changes name to UKirk



UKirk member Marjorie McCoy make burritos for Burrito Riders, a Huntington group that rides their bikes around the city and gives burritos to the homeless.

Marshall University’s PROWL ministry recently changed its name to UKirk as a collective decision by local Presbyterian churches.
PROWL stood for People Reaching Out with Love since its origin on Marshall’s campus in the ‘70s.
UKirk means University Church. The ‘U’ stands for University, while ‘Kirk’ comes from the Scottish word for church.
The foundation is a not-for-profit organization that helps support Presbyterian campus ministries at state colleges and universities throughout West Virginia.
UKirk is supported by The Westminster Foundation of West Virginia.
Ellen Dawson, UKirk’s campus minister since January, said during her first meeting with the representatives from the local Presbyterian churches they collectively decided to change the name.
“The name was established over 30 years ago,” Dawson said. “The students that were part of the ministry said they were wanting to change the name because of the acronym. PROWL just didn’t seem welcoming. And the students said it was hard to explain it and break it down to others. It also marked that we were new and doing some new things.”
Senior Marjorie McCoy, member of UKirk, said the initiatives it offers is not only beneficial to the community, but to its members as well.
“The one we did recently was the breakfast burritos with the Burritos Riders in Huntington,” McCoy said. “They ride their bicycles around and give burritos to homeless people. So, we helped make the burritos for them. We all just thought that this was something that really benefits our community, so we wanted to help pitch in. And it felt really great to help out.”
While service initiatives are an important part of what UKirk offers, its main purpose is to help make a difference on Marshall’s campus.
“We want to make an impact on students’ lives,” Dawson said. “And just the fact that we’re rebuilding, it’s really a benefit to any student that joins because they will have a voice in what this ministry looks like. I want to involve students and their opinions and their backgrounds into rebuilding this ministry.”
McCoy said her time with the ministry has made a big difference in her life.
“It’s been great,” McCoy said. “Our group has always included a lot of different people from different faith backgrounds. And we try to make a point of including everyone that comes. We always have great discussions in a small group atmosphere. So instead of going to some big worship thing every week, it’s nice to have a smaller group to talk about our faith in a free and open environment.
Dawson said the ministry has six members, but it is looking to grow.
“We’re small, but mighty,” Dawson said. “We want to invite people in, and we really think that because we do a rotation during each month—a Bible study one week, a worship service the next, a service project after that and then fellowship—we really think it’s inviting to students. It’s unique and it’s unlike the other ministries on campus. We don’t do the same things every week. And I think it’s also easier for students to come on nights when we’re all watching a movie or a night when we’re doing a service project. It’s easier to walk into something like that than it is to walk into Bible study or a worship service. And we’re hoping that happens.”
UKirk has weekly meetings 8:30 p.m. Mondays at in the Campus Christian Center.
Malcolm Walton can be contacted at [email protected]