This came pretty quick, the first monthly call to have Presbyterian Bloggers gather around a common cause: Presbyterian Bloggers Unite // Campus Ministry. There are 33 bloggers signed up to to post something about campus ministry and the posts have begun to roll in.
First, the elephant in the room. AS many of you know, due to the recent GAC restructuring and budget reductions, Campus Ministry lost two staff positions and the office was combined with Youth Ministry and shifted to the Evangelism Area. I am sure folks are still getting their bearing and it really is too early to tell what impact the moves will have on campus ministry in general.
In any case, my history in campus ministry tells me that the passion and energy of both students and leaders will weather most if not all storms, be they financial, denominational or social. A hearty lot we be 😉
So . . . my campus ministry story is pretty short and sweet. If it were not for campus ministry I would have never met my wife, wife of nearly 20 years, Robin. We met about 20 years ago at the Celebrate Conference, I was a freshmen in college and just 18-years-old. Celebrate was an ecumenical event that took place every two years and it was the first time I had really been to anything like it. While there is SOME story floating around that I was more interested in her friend, I am sticking with the "No honey, it was you at first sight" story. In fact, the year we met it was held in Louisville, KY at the Galt House, so that place hold special meaning for us. Woulda thunk I would be spending so much time in Louisville? – cue Twilight Zone Theme song – The conference was held over New Year's and in 1988-89 the theme was "Let the Bones Dance" and I tell ya, it was a experience. I met some wonderful folks, we had some experiences that shall remain locked away in my memory and we expanded our understanding and experience of the complex body of Christ.
After that time . . . I participated in what was then PSST (Presbyterian Student Strategy Team), served on the Committee on Higher Education of the General Assembly and participated in a number of regional and national ecumenical gatherings. Then in seminary, I served as my internship as the Director and Campus Pastor at UNITAS a residential Christian Community on the campus of The University of California, Berkeley. In short, who I am has been deeply formed by my experiences in campus ministry. From the relationships built to the ministry experienced, God has been active.
And now, despite the changes that are occurring throughout our church, it is clear to me that there is some kind of resurgence in campus ministry throughout the country. While it is taking many forms: congregational based, chaplaincy, presbytery cooperatives and ecumenical partnerships, campus ministry is alive and full of energy. Yes, there are certainly some things that need to be navigated well regarding money, denominational resourcing and general shifts in culture; but the fluid nature of those involved in campus ministry gives me great hope.
For so many who have served and been served in and by campus ministry, thank you!
Again, please take some time to visit PRESBYTERIAN BLOGGERS UNITE – CAMPUS MINISTRY site where all the posts are listed, take some time to comment and then join in for next month when we will gathering together on May 1, 2009 and focus on POVERTY.