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 statement from each position is listed below.
I love this congregation. I do not necessarily come from a Lutheran tradition, but I have found my home in College Ministries. I can bring love, inclusivity, and welcoming to the Congregation. I want to create a safe space within College Ministries, a place where everyone feels safe to be their true selves, free from judgment. I promise to bring a more welcoming atmosphere into College Ministries, but especially into Sunday morning worship. I will implement a welcoming committee to ensure that no one feels alone when they come to church. I promise to collaborate more with FOCUS, so that we can all share in our common goal: Share the love of Christ with ALL people, not just the people we think are worthy. I promise to create more worship spaces on campus, so people who do not feel like they conform to the traditional church worship space. I promise to bring more service opportunities to College Ministries through the Decorah community, and to hold other members of the Council responsible in regards to their love and service in the church. I promise to be the love and leader that God has called me to be. I love this congregation, and I want others to feel the love that has been given to me through College Ministries.
My hope and goal is ultimately for stronger bridge between the Luther Congregation and the Luther community. My hope is for all ministries to welcome and to reach out to the Luther community from all lifestyles just as Christ had done for us. For the coming year, inclusivity is what I hope for most for ministry with the Luther Congregation and the Luther community. I aim to bring the ministry to the community alongside inviting the community to the ministry. I aim for the ministry to be more attentive especially to the needs of those in our community affiliated with the minority groups, and with this position, I aim to represent them whole-heartedly. I also aim for the ministry to serve as a devoted, reliable and unfailing support system to our community just as the Lord has always been for us. Some of the ministries the Luther Congregation needs to provide in this time are ministries of different faiths. Majority of the community with different faiths are facing difficulties to persevere and hold firm to their faith in the midst of our surroundings with values and faith practices alien to them. Without proper ministries for them to continue practicing their faith and maintaining their spirituality, diversity and inclusivity is unfortunately going to decline within our community. Just as Christ guided us who needed guidance and supported people regardless of their status, ethnicity, and belief.
I would like to see the amount of people who are involved with the college ministries community grow by raising more awareness of the different opportunities for worship on campus. I believe that investing in your relationship with God is the most valuable way to spend your time. I hope for this place to be a church home away from home for students where they will look forward to worshipping within this community and deepening their faith. For me, church has always been a joyful place, and I hope that Luther is that place for its students. At my home church I have fundraised for the annual Feed My Starving Children MobilePack, the local food pantry, and for Vida Humana in Chimoio, Mozambique. I have also volunteered with my church’s homeless shelter, VBS, and Sunday morning setup. Here at Luther I have served as a sacristan and have volunteered with Luther Serves. Through serving on council as treasurer, I hope to continue to serve Luther and its students while remembering to first give God control.
I believe that Luther College Ministries and the ELCA need to work on inclusivity, not just for those who already come to Chapel and to worship but also those who are a part of our parish but don't attend those events. We need to be activist for change on campus and stop standing for the status quo of the church. We can just have a chapel that affirms our we need to reach out to minority groups on campus and fight for inclusivity.
Through my position as Deacon of Community Action, I would like to continue to grow Luther Serves. We had a fantastic group of people come out last fall for the event, and I would like to see that continue and grow next year. I would also like to do what I can in my position to grow our Sunday morning worship crowd. Sunday morning worship attendance has been dropping over the last year, and I would like to be a part of the process to reverse that trend, and increase Sunday morning attendance.
I believe that Luther College has the potential to be an active community of love. My hope for the future would be to not only bring together our differences and start excepting them, but to understand each student’s goals of learning, and growing through our college careers. We start meeting those goals by communicating with each other and having productive dialogue within our student organizations and then create a strategy to start action for this change. My vision for this change would be to have a ministry that ties all backgrounds of religion together and works to make each student feel comfortable and accepted in the college community. I am running for the position of Deacon of Global Concerns because I want to work towards the goal of inclusiveness and peace within the student organizations and the Luther community. Being a part of the college ministries team would give me the opportunity to use my faith and activism to help achieve this goal.
In the 2018-2019 school year, I hope to modify Outreach programming to form an environment where students grow in community and faith in order to share their faith with communities around us. Outreach should provide students with a safe place to challenge their faith, practice leadership, and discover and use their spiritual gifts while serving others.
Within the Luther Community and Congregation, I hope that we can come to a place of unity in the coming years. It has been a common occurrence for me to find people that want to be more involved with faith activities, but the opportunities that are available do not feel welcoming to them. To be a Christ centered community, I believe we need to create opportunities for people to grow in their faith where they can feel comfortable being fully themselves. This means offering a wide variety of ministries, because the beauty of a diversity filled campus is that we have a diverse set of faith backgrounds. I believe that we can have the ability to create opportunities for people that open their minds to new practices, but also give them spaces where they can find a bit of home.
In this next year, I hope that all who visit church services on campus feel like they are a part of a welcoming community. To make this a reality, student leaders must provide worship opportunities for students familiar with both traditional and contemporary worship styles. Being open to music and prayer requests for services is one way of allowing students of various backgrounds to feel at home. Additionally, when a student is invited to be involved in the life of the congregation, that person can find purpose and investment in the community. Affirming the unique gifts and talents God has given people to share builds up the body of Christ. The congregation on campus also can expand their ministry by partnering with area churches and campus groups to understand and pray for their specific needs. We are not just an isolated community on the hill: we are connected to our brothers and sisters in Christ in the world. If chosen as a member of church council, I would accept the responsibility of representing students as a voice of faith on campus. I would love to inspire students' and community members' spiritual growth by helping plan worship.