CHARLOTTE, NC—The Charlotte campus of Union Presbyterian Seminary (UPS) is celebrating its first anniversary since its building inauguration September 11, 2012. The building serves the entire community as “a gathering place of faith and learning,” said Susan Hickok, associate vice president for advancement at the Charlotte campus. She also explained that, when planning for the building construction, the planning team thought the building itself would preach.” The service to the community, as well as the outreach that students and faculty do, preaches throughout Charlotte, just as they thought it would.
The campus is not only beautiful but is also next to a Presbyterian counseling center and across the street from a Presbyterian retirement community. The proximity of the facilities benefits all parties: the counseling center uses the campus facilities for meetings, the seminary students use the counseling center’s services to discern their calls for ministry, and some students serve at the retirement center.
The campus has also served as a theological resource for churches in Charlotte Presbytery to have congregational retreats, says Dean Thomas W. Currie.
“We have visiting speakers and workshops, and local area pastors will participate in that,” he said. “In addition, we house the Charlotte Presbytery’s curriculum resource center, so we serve churches throughout the presbytery and beyond that way. Some pastors will come over here and study, and they see us as a place where they can prepare sermons—not just pastors, but educators as well.”
“Every week, we see a variety of people just sitting in the library because it is a beautiful space to enjoy,” Hickok added.
The campus is heartening for the community in that people in the area are investing in learning and may become pastors to different Charlotte neighborhoods.
“At a time in the life of the church where you hear about different challenges, this building has been healing for a lot of people, and it has been a source of hope and encouragement,” Hickok said.