A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend an interfaith service and dinner with the Jewish student group on campus called MN Hillel. This is an annual event hosted by Hillel in which they invite students from Christian groups across campus to come learn about them and their practices, and share a meal and service together to build inter-campus community among faith groups who may not normally interact.
Hello amazing, wonderful, human!
I hope I find you in good health, a happy spirit, and excitement for the upcoming year. There will be a lot going on when you arrive on campus, and it will be beyond exciting to get started on your path to the “real world,” but let me tell you something in advance—there’s going to come a moment when you realize that you’re exhausted and you need a break.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s something that, I will admit, I had help discovering. It’s a group that is full of so much passion and energy but also creates the perfect time to finally Pause. From exploring your dorm and running around all three banks during Welcome Week to getting lost on campus and having to stop someone and say, “Excuse me but could you direct me to ___,” I know it will be a long, tiresome, exciting, funny, stressful adventure, and you’ll be in desperate need for some place to just stop, take a deep breath, and relax.
Look no further—Lutheran Campus Ministry, aka LCM, is the place for you! The first Wednesday night I went to worship, an hour service called Pause, was during a thunderstorm. It was maybe the third week into the school year and I arrived at Grace University Lutheran Church drenched and stressed out. I was still making the transition from living at home with my family to living at school. My pastor from my home church recommended LCM to me, and I hoped that in my time of need for familiarity, I could find a bit of peace.
I realized I was walking into an unfamiliar space by myself during the third week they had already been gathering, and I thought, “What were you thinking???” Nevertheless, I did it anyway. I was greeted at the door and from there to the sanctuary, I was welcomed at least four times before I took a seat next to a stranger. We ended up making conversation and the next thing I know, I found myself singing Mountain Vespers, which were already near and dear to my heart. It was so special to experience walking into somewhere brand new, not really knowing what to expect, but feeling right at home. After the service, we gathered downstairs to enjoy conversation and treats and I found myself signing up for the LCM fall retreat (with people I had now known for a total of two hours—and by the way, the retreat was a blast)!
I came to Pause hoping to find peace in a time of transition, but I found much more than that. I was welcomed into a community of grace and hope and curiosity. The night I decided to see what LCM was all about, I found something so special that once I found it, I never left.
May you find peace when you need it most and happiness always.
Dear UMN freshmen (and all other new students!),
Welcome to the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities! We are SO excited to have you here on campus with us this fall…
I know college might seem like a daunting new chapter in life. There are so many new experiences to dive in to! Roommates, dining hall food, new people, new clubs, new classes, new YOU. (But you’ve been hearing this already)
It may seem like you are all alone in this at times, but the good news is: that couldn’t be further from the truth!There is such a vast variety of communities here at the U of M that are overjoyed to embrace you with open minds and hearts. And now all you get to do is pick and choose, and try a few different student orgs and groups on, until you find the right fit!
Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM) is one of the amazing communities on campus that is excited to get to know you, and I hope you consider a faith family as an opportunity to support you during this time of transition and growth.
I remember my freshman year feeling a bit overwhelmed with finding all of my classes, figuring out which groups to join, and ultimately how to function as an “adult” away from my parents and life back home. I had a whole other identity back in High School that I wasn’t sure how to carry into my new life at college.
Then, LCM came in. This community is a group of people that has shaped me into who I am today. I am proud of the person I am, partially because of the love, care, and values LCM has instilled in me.
“Pause” worship services every Wednesday night have kept me grounded in my values and faith, given me a moment to press “pause” on the chaos of daily student life, and connected me to some of the people who have grown to be the most important to me on this campus.
As an incoming senior, I am proud to say that I will continue to search for ways to, “Be curious. Be real. Be community.” (LCM’s motto!)
I invite YOU to join us for our first “pause” student worship service the first Wednesday of fall semester, Sept. 7th at 9 pm. “Pause” is held at Grace University Lutheran Church right across the street from superblock. I will be there and would love to welcome you to the University of Minnesota in person! See you at Grace!
Claire Erickson(LCM Servant Leader)
To those friends I have yet to meet,
Coming to the U as a freshman I knew that joining a faith community was a priority for me. I grew up in an incredible church and was eager to find a place for me here at school. Throughout my freshman year I dabbled in different faith groups, never finding somewhere that I really fit.
Transitioning to college is already difficult, as you begin to find out how to balance a more independent life, and I was hungry for a strong community of faith. I longed for a place where I was comfortable but challenged and growing at the same time. My first encounter with LCM was during the spring of my freshman year but due to my job I was not able to really get plugged in. However, my brief encounter inspired me to really commit to getting involved that coming fall. One of the first nights I attended Pause I tried to slide quietly into a pew near the back. My plan to not be noticed was foiled by an amazing student name Heidi as she quickly plopped down next to me and before I knew it, we had exchanged numbers with plans to get coffee. Simply connecting with Heidi made me feel noticed and valued as a member of the LCM community.
For me, LCM stands out among groups as there is a strong emphasis on authenticity, on curiosity and on building relationships rooted in faith. The folks that make up LCM are some of the most welcoming, kind-hearted, passionate, and inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and I’ve truly found my fit. Could LCM be where you fit too? Come connect with us and let us discover one another’s stories. 🙂
I’ll be keeping an eye out for you, like Heidi did for me…
For those of you who do not know, I am studying abroad in Haifa, Israel for this semester! While it is super exciting and such a new life experience, I was missing part of home; my church life. So, last Sunday, my friend and I decided to finally check out a local Episcopal church in Haifa, which was about 40 minutes away by bus from the University. It took us a few wrong turns, and checking in random places, but we finally found the church when we noticed a priest walking into the chapel. At first, when we arrived, we were the only two people in the sanctuary so we were a little worried this was not the correct location, but the priest and the organist greeted us warmly right away, making us feel comforted. After we took our seats, the priest came over with the English translations of the readings for that day and also the Order of the Liturgy, because the service would mainly be in Arabic, and he explained the service very thoroughly so we knew what to expect.
As more people started shuffling in, just about everyone in the congregation (25 or so) came up and greeted us, asking us questions about where we were from and what we were doing in Haifa. You could tell they all loved having visitors and were genuinely interested in our stories.
As the service started with the opening hymn, I just stood and listened to the beauty of the music and admired this quaint church. The service was interesting in and of itself because it was a harmonious blend of Arabic and English; half of the prayers were in Arabic, the other in English, we said the congregational responses collectively in both languages, and then all of the hymns were in Arabic. The organist even translated the sermon for us as it was given, so that we too could hear the priest’s wonderful message of loving thy neighbor, and putting our faith in God even through our hardest trials.
Near the end of the service, the priest actually had us introduce ourselves to everyone, and adamantly invited us to have coffee and treats with them afterwards. During the coffee hour where we filled up on delicious coffee, harissa (an Arab pastry), and cookies, the priest once again welcomed and thanked us for joining them that morning, and what he said to us next was truly heartwarming: he said that we were always welcome, that we could consider St. John’s our church home while in Haifa and they would help us with anything we needed in getting acclimated to the city. We had only spent an hour and a half with these strangers practically, yet they had opened their doors and arms to us, and made us feel as comfortable and at home as possible.
Last Sunday was such an excellent example of how to show genuine hospitality towards others, and it got me to truly think about what I think hospitality should look and feel like, and how I will show others this same kindness. I urge you all to also reflect on this, and whether you see a new or old face at church, to treat everyone with kindness and to make everyone feel welcome in our community.
Even though I couldn’t understand the service fully due to the language barrier, I knew that this church was living out God’s commandment to love thy neighbor to the fullest. It was one of the loveliest things to see, that around the world and in all types of communities and languages, God’s love continues to be shared and extends to the edges of the Earth.
Welcome back to all of our current students and a special welcome to our incoming freshmen! It’s hard to believe that the start of another great school year is just around the corner. I hope you’ve had an enjoyable and restful summer and are ready to start off the 2014-2015 school year!
Freshmen, you are just days away from the start of the next chapter of your life. Some of you may be traveling from miles and miles away, while others of you will only be a few minutes from home. Before you know it you will be moving into your dorms, meeting your roommate and the others on your floor, getting acquainted with campus, and starting your first college classes. Whether this anticipation brings you a sense of excitement, nervousness, or a bit of both, we are excited to welcome you all to campus, and hope that you all find Lutheran Campus Ministry to be the welcoming community that we all have experienced.
As a freshman last year, I found my first few weeks on campus to be more of a change than I had expected. I was living away from home for the first time, meeting more people than I could keep track of, trying to figure out what all I was going to be involved in, and figuring out how to keep all of my class syllabi straight. After a busy welcome week and first couple days of classes, I was so relieved to attend the Wednesday night Pause service at Grace Lutheran Church. I immediately found myself surrounded by several very friendly and welcoming college students and it already felt as if I were right at home.
Lutheran Campus Ministry is a community of hospitality. We are excited to welcome in new faces, get to know people individually, be curious, ask questions, discuss openly, and grow both individually and as a community. We worship together at Pause almost every Wednesday night at 9 pm at Grace Lutheran Church, beginning the first week of school. I would love to see you all there!
Good luck with the start of your freshman year and know that you’re always welcome at Lutheran Campus Ministry. I look forward to meeting you all this coming year!
If you would like more information on how to get involved with Lutheran Campus Ministry – Twin Cities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org