Coffee with a mission
As the only nonprofit coffee shop in Tuscaloosa, UPerk is dedicated to connecting the Tuscaloosa community to Christ through coffee. With a strong belief that community is often formed while sharing a cup of coffee or a meal, UPerk strives to create a welcoming, casual environment for all people to enjoy.
Serving as a gathering place for the Tuscaloosa community, UPerk is equipped to serve through catering, private events, and daily operations. Founded in 2016, UPerk is a ministry of First Presbyterian Church and is home to UKirk, First Presbyterian’s college ministry. We hope you stop into UPerk for a coffee, but choose to stay for the community.
Great coffee starts with the producer whose family likely has spent generations perfecting their approach to farming the highest quality coffee possible. As our coffee is directly sourced, we at UPerk hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to serving quality brewed coffee and espresso.
UKirk — the name of which draws from our Scottish Presbyterian roots (the Scottish word for church being ‘kirk’) — is the national brand and expression of Presbyterian Church USA campus ministry. Our ministry may be Presbyterian, but we certainly draw students across denominational/non-denominational lines.
At Bama UKirk, we strive to create space for students that may look a little differently than other ministries in town. We worship differently, adhering to a ‘dinner church model’ that includes weekly communion followed by a home-cooked meal. We engage one another differently, as UKirk prides itself on being a smaller, close-knit community. We do theology differently, as students spanning the theological spectrum attend our gatherings.
Even still, we are looking for ways to expand our ministry— quantitatively and qualitatively. Our worshiping community constantly looks for new ways of being.
One of the most successful things we have created has been our exam week offering, UPerk, when we turned what used to be the Presbyterian Student Center into a coffee shop with free food and drinks provided by the College Committee of First Presbyterian Church. Students attended this informal coffee house in droves as they sought a place to stay and be in the midst of the chaos that is finals week.
With that, an idea was birthed, and thus began the process to make UPerk— Tuscaloosa’s community coffee house—a reality. UPerk is a fully-operational coffee house in downtown Tuscaloosa. UPerk is not just a coffee house; it is a community. It will be a place where students can stay amidst college's chaos. It will foster local initiatives and community partnerships created and led by our Executive Director - Caroline Ford. It currently houses our Tuesday night fellowship, with an emphasis on welcoming anyone and everyone— students and non-students alike— as we seek to broaden the scope of ‘campus ministry.’
In essence, we are doing campus ministry and church in a different way. Our mission is to be a community cultivating change through Christ’s love — for all people as God intended.