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Each year, the Saint Paul Area Synod provides financial support for a variety of synod partnership ministries. One of those is Lutheran Campus Ministry - Twin Cities, which serves students on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses of the University of Minnesota. In this video, Lutheran Campus Pastor Kate Reuer Welton expresses her gratitude for the impact our support has had on students, the school and our church as a whole. Then, read her message below about how students are considering what it means to be church in this time and place of history…during a global pandemic and uprising following the death of George Floyd.
I am so grateful to you, friends in the Saint Paul Area Synod. When I first recorded the thank you video that accompanies this blog, we had not yet realized the fullness of the crisis that would be wrought by the coronavirus, and we’d not yet born witness to the death of George Floyd and the Uprising which has followed. While so much has changed, my gratitude remains. And my gratitude remains because the good work we’ve always been called to, amidst 55,000 young adults at the University of Minnesota has only intensified since mid-March.
Their perspective is being expanded, their faith is being shaped, their vocations are being formed in this expansive moment in time. In some ways, campus ministry is made for a moment like this. We’re always being pulled outwards, into the community, to find new ways of connecting with people and proclaiming the good news of God’s love, mercy and justice. We are challenged to do that work in deeper ways, and in different ways right now, but the work remains the same.
As we have walked with students over the last years, culture of curiosity, authenticity, community building, and servant heartedness has emerged – and we are seeing the fruits of that labor in beautiful ways this summer in particular.
Our servant leaders, which we nurture with intention and care, have again shown up to consider what it means to be church in this time and place. They’ve organized to reach out to their peers, checking in with friends and strangers to help ward off isolation, anxiety, and loneliness. They’re engaging with anti-racism work with their hearts, minds and bodies; and considering the implications for our ministry. They’re meeting weekly to consider how we meaningfully welcome students who are new to our community and new to campus in a world of physical distancing and isolation, and how they might extend the warmth and welcome of Christ when our most familiar ways of doing this are not possible. They’re doing this work as individuals, but also as a collective, as the church, as the hands and feet and beating hearts of Christ on campus. I’ll never stop being proud of them. I wish that you could all get a glimpse of their hearts.
This year, 2020, will certainly be seared into our hearts for the remainder of our lives, and that is especially true for these young adults. In this time of unrest and uncertainty, we must walk with them, bearing witness to the love and mercy and steadfastness of Christ, as known through the creativity, warmth and solidarity of Christian community.
As they grow in life and leadership in our church and world, we trust that they will take this experience with them, shaped and formed by it, and empowered to be co-Creators with God in building a more just and merciful world.
Last of all, know how grateful we are for your generosity and support during this uncertain time. We rely on the generosity of you all to help us be church in the midst of this amazing group of young adults. Our work continues, and we’re so glad your financial support does as well. God is always making us new, and this point in time is no different. My prayer for you, for all of us as a church and community, is that we emerge from this time ever grateful, more creative, hopeful, and just. Thank you for being church together.
– Pastor Kate Reuer Welton
P.S. Lutheran Campus Ministries nationwide need your help in knowing who is coming onto campus. PLEASE! There is always considerable challenge in connecting with students new to campus, and that will only be amplified this semester – just as student’s need for connection could be greater. You can refer students using this link or simply email a spreadsheet of graduates with their colleges to LCM-TC (and we’ll pass names on to the ministries for you). Also note that Gophers will get some special swag in a “Welcome to the U” box that we’ll send out in early August, so get their info in soon! Ski-U-Mah!