A Brief Sojourn at Luther College

The ideas and viewpoints expressed in the posts on the Ideas and Creations blog are solely the view of the author(s). Luther College's mission statement calls us to "embrace diversity and challenge one another to learn in community," and to be "enlivened and transformed by encounters with one another, by the exchange of ideas, and by the life of faith and learning." Alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the college are encouraged to express their views, model "good disagreement" and engage in respectful dialogue.

On December 1 of last year, I became the Interim Director of College Ministries and College Pastor. I was excited and knew I had a lot to learn having never served on a campus before. One of my refrains that first month was: “Please help me know what I don’t know.” And most people did!

I was immediately struck by the warm welcome I received. Even burdened by social distancing and wearing masks, the culture of Luther is invitational. College Ministries is an embodiment of that welcome. What I learned from the College Ministries team was both the deep desire and the commitment to engage with others respectfully, strive to include all and contribute to the well-being of students, faculty, and staff.

As I grew in my awareness of the tasks and hopes of this ministry, I was drawn into conversations and events that identified and celebrated that holy place where faith and life intersect. At Luther this is often spoken of as the intersection of faith and learning. Faith, in this instance, can take a myriad of shapes – even the form of spiritual questioning. Learning is understood to be much broader than the high quality of education provided at Luther. Learning is the outcome of engaging with ideas and events both on campus and beyond. Luther is a community that invites us to consider the whole of life – and then share that with others.

Luther College is resilient. Faculty and staff responded to the difficulties of this past year with tenacity and a clear focus on the students. I observed students struggling with the necessary separation from others and working past it.

I have learned. I have grown. I have been a part of Luther.

Pastor Michael Foss gives communion to a student on Ash Wednesday.

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