Meet the 2017-2018 Congregational Council:
President: Menzi Nkambule
Vice President: Alex Aakre
Secretary: Sam Poppen
Treasurer: Matthew Ressler
Deacon of Community Action: Alex Sekora
Deacon of Global Concerns: Linnea Peterson
Deacon of Outreach: Madeline Ajack
Deacon of Spiritual Foundation: Thomas Specht
Deacon of Worship: Jana Mueller
As a community of faith, the Luther College Congregation seeks to be a place of Christian hospitality, celebrating the diverse gathering of the Body of Christ through its commitment to ecumenical conversation and partnership. As a Lutheran congregation, we also bear a calling to communicate our Lutheran identity. Serving on the Student Congregation Council requires a commitment to Christ’s ministry and support of the Luther Congregation and Luther College as ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
More than 70 students serve in leadership positions in College Ministries each year through volunteer, work study, and elected congregational council positions. Students provide leadership in all areas of our ministry.
The Luther Congregational Council meets throughout the year (Tuesdays at 9:40 a.m.) to discuss, plan, and lead the ministry of the Luther Congregation. Each of these positions requires a significant commitment of time and energy. A brief summary of each position is listed.
For someone who does not necessarily come from a Lutheran tradition, it excites me to call College Ministries home, and I would hope to continue to share this hospitality with others as it has been shared with me. With students coming to Luther from across the US and around the globe, it is important that we continue to proclaim the Good News that brings us together as one under the Kingdom of Christ. My goal, therefore, is to foster relationships between branches of Campus Ministries and other student organizations to ensure an open, inclusive, and collective effort that makes students feel at home.
This goal, as seen in our diverse worship music and nature of projects that we undertake as a church, is not a new goal for College Ministries, but I realize that we have room for improvement. Through service opportunities like Luther Serves, College Ministries attempts, with considerable success, to bring students from sports teams, sororities, fraternities, and other groups together. Working with the Council team, Vision team, and other students leaders, my goal is to continue this tradition and put more effort to making strong collaboration between College Ministries and other students organizations on campus. I hope this can bring about more sharing of resources, interaction, and awareness of conversations among students organizations and the Luther community.
To put it simply I want to build more of a community in the Luther College Congregation. We throw that word around a lot but sometimes I feel we actually have an absence of it in the Congregation. This is an extraordinary place and we are graced with some truly wonderful people. In the coming year I want to bring those people together. I want to have more church sponsored events where this community can grow and strengthen. My focus will be on expanding events outside of worship; pancake breakfasts, game nights, as well as expanded promotion for the spiritual happenings. Events where parishioners can meet each other and so they won't be scared to go to church by themselves because they know they won't be alone, they'll know someone. I can connect to God by myself anytime I want but Sunday morning worship is nice because it is a community connecting to God, a community I want to see grow and deepen.
I am serving the Luther Congregation in the position of secretary because I love to be involved. After working at a bible camp this summer, I found that working with others through faith is something I thoroughly enjoy and hope to continue. I think that I can be of service to the faith community here at Luther in a role that lets me step back if necessary, but also lets me express my opinions.
My goal is to make College Ministries an active participant in the Luther Community at large. I will look to expand on previous missions, as well as support new ideas and discussions about upcoming concerns. It is my greatest hope that I can continue to serve College Ministries and the Luther Community at large, in shaping a better future for both faith and life. Let us go forth and do good work!
I believe that the events organized by the Deacon for Community Action, namely Luther Serves, are strong programs that we should strive to continue far into the future. One way to accomplish this is to strengthen participation from more members of the college community, as well as to continue promoting them to the college community through both social media and traditional means. I believe that I have a unique combination of skills and experiences that will help me to accomplish these goals. In high school, I served as a worship volunteer, Sunday School and Vacation Bible School Leader, and as the elected Secretary of my church council. I also worked hard to start a community growing project through Foods Resource Bank to help benefit the less fortunate in my community. Here at Luther, I have served as a worship volunteer, and as a Sacristan, among many other College Ministries activities. I would love to continue to serve our congregation, Luther College, and the wider Decorah community as Deacon of Community Action.
I would like to continue in my role as Deacon of Global Concerns because I would like to follow through on the things I’ve started this year. As deacon, I would serve as the liaison between College Ministries and various social justice groups on campus. I would keep in contact with as many of those groups as possible and would also attend meetings of a few of them. I would try to make it clear that College Ministries stands on the side of justice and wants to be helpful to these groups in as many ways as possible, as well as ensuring that College Ministries stays abreast of global events and takes a stance where it sees a need for Christ’s presence in the world.
My biggest goal for the Luther Congregation and Luther Community would be to create an accepting and warm environment for all people at our college. With Outreach, I would like to reinstate the teams (OLE and LENA) in order to raise awareness of the program by doing both on and off campus events. I would like to make Outreach an environment that everyone feels welcome at, and a stress-reliever in the middle of the week. I don't think there is much awareness about Outreach among the Luther Community, so I would like to publicize the group more, so that more people can become regularly involved in community service. Outreach is my favorite part of the week, and I constantly feel God's presence among us at Outreach, and I would like for others to experience that as well!
My hopes for this community is to put a emphasis on inclusion and strengthening for those who feel weakened and fatigued by the daily struggle of life in a complex society that seems to force us below the water; to establish a safe place for deep discussion in what our relationship is with God, as well as our relationship with each other in the context of a Christian community here on campus.
As Deacon of Worship, I hope to build a strong community of volunteers. We have a solid, wonderful group of volunteers that help out with worship each week, and I would like to create more of a team atmosphere so that our volunteers know that they are so appreciated for all the work that they do. I love the faith community at Luther, whether that be the Lutheran congregation, or any other groups that are involved in College Ministries, because it does not matter if we have the same beliefs, it matters that we have a space to share our experiences with each other.