Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Random Thoughts on Campus Ministry

It was Robert Mullholland who said, “Spiritual Formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.” As the Assistant Director of Campus Ministries at a Huntington University, I find myself on the front lines of this process on a daily basis. College students are no simple group of people - actually, they are quite complex, struggling, doubting, questioning and sometimes outright rebellious individuals. Yet, that is what I love about them. I love to hear the stories of their lives, their families, their tragedies, their hopes and dreams, and how that is going to translate into having an impact on the world we live in.

Lately, one of the books that has “hit a nerve” with the upperclassman is “To Be Told” by Dan Allender. By using the simple metaphor of “story” to represent our life, Allender draws the students into the depth of who they are, and who they are becoming. With the “baggage” emotionally, spiritually and mentally the average college student carries (and also brought to college with them), they need a safe place to begin unpacking their story – they need a community.

Even within the community of a Christian campus, it is normal to find students who have not been raised in Christian homes. Most have not had positive church experiences growing up. Actually, many find it hard to trust organized religion at all. And probably the most apparent and the saddest thing is that most college students do not know the Bible. Not only are they having a hard time articulating their own story - they do not know God’s story.

Allender mentions, “God is not merely the Creator of our life. He is also the Author of our life, and He writes each person’s life to reveal His divine story.” This is the beginning of the journey for many of my students. To admit that God is writing something with their life – the good and the bad - is when the light bulb goes on. They do have a purpose – God’s purpose. This is frequently realized two or three years into college. More and more, I have juniors and seniors come in my office saying, “I’m not sure of my calling.” Quickly, it is discerned that they don’t have a clue how to define “calling.” Some see it as a vocation or career, others a deep longing or even possibly guilt. They also flippantly use the word “passion” without knowing the root of the word – suffering.

Life for the college student seems like “a series of random scenes that pile up like shoes in a closet.” They do not see how their tragedies, friendships, families, church backgrounds or lack of any of them are intertwined and have shaped them into who they are or who they are becoming. Sadly, most have never reflected on their own lives. More often they have been told (by well meaning church folk) to forget or suppress their past and follow their calling – but almost never have they been asked to learn their past and begin to explore their calling.

“When I study my life story, I can then join God as a coauthor. I don’t have to settle for merely being a reader of my life; God calls me to be a writer of my future.” Allender put it so well in that quote. God calls us to coauthor our life with Him. Those students who take up this challenge to study their life story, find that God has been authoring a pretty interesting book – their life. And yes, their decisions have been very important as well.

My “passion” (hopefully using the word correctly) is to see students learn how to begin this process of conforming to the image of God. If I can get them to take this step, they will see the necessity and blessing in telling their stories for the sake of others. I’m not talking about creating more preachers or Bible-thumpers, but authentic, genuine believers, who through their lifestyle imitate Christ to the World and bring about “real” change.

Rev. Fr. Bob Henry , Assistant Director of Campus Ministry at Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana. He also is an adjunct faculty member teaching classes in Leadership, Calling, University Life and Capstone. Bob is happily married to Sue and has three wonderful boys (Alex, Sam and Lewis). Check out Bob’s blog at www.spiritualinform.blogspot.com

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Northern Ohio Cluster Meeting

The quaint village of Willoughby, Ohio was the setting for the Missionaries of northern Ohio meeting this past weekend for a three day gathering of renewal, prayer, teaching on Anglican spirituality, joyous fellowship and worship. Pictured below are, left to right; Nathanael Mauer, Frederick Fick, Isaac John Geyer, Terry Moore and Ray Zeitz. At the concluding Eucharist, Bishop Fick confirmed two persons in the faith.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"God Sat On My Chest"

Fr. Nathanael Maurer MSJ is no stranger to ministry to those in substance abuse programs, having spent every Friday morning and afternoon for the past 15 months in ministry with the men in the drug/alcohol treatment program at the Keating Center and the past 4 years as part of a ministry team that supported them.

Jack Malhall is the 85 year old executive director of The Ed Keating Center, established almost 40 years ago. There are now 3 treatment centers where the men come and spend 3-6 months in an intensive “God-centered” AA – 12 step treatment program. They then move on to one of the dozen or so “sober houses” where the men work and live for another 6 months to 2 years, maintaining their sobriety and actively participating in community AA meetings with their sponsors. The Keating Center has a vast network of support from the AA community of Northeast Ohio and the community at-large. Thousands of men over the years have attributed their sobriety to Jack Malhall and the Keating Center’s help.

This past weekend, Fr. Nathanael led a team ministering with a retreat at the Brookpark facility that included a program of prayer, sharing, reflection, teaching, worship and reconciliation. Says Fr. Nathanael, “I was the first to share and presented my own story of how I found the love and mercy of God and how it changed me. A drug addict for 12 years, in and out of jails and prisons, I came to a place where by God’s mercy, He ‘sat on my chest’. I was no longer able to run. He loved me back to Himself. That was 25 years ago. He gave me a promise from Jeremiah 29:10-14a, “a future and a hope”. God is faithful. He has kept His promise."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Why Global South Bishops Will Not Be Going To Lambeth

Five leading Anglican primates of the Global South have released a full statement as to why they will not be attending this decade's Lambeth conference hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Signing the letter are:

Archbishop Peter Akinola (Nigeria)

Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini (Rwanda)

Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi (Kenya)

Archbishop Henry Orombi (Uganda)

Archbishop Gregory Venables (Southern Cone)

These primates represent more than half of the communion's 70 million Anglicans making their position vital to understand. This is an important letter that speaks to the issues in a clear and concise manner. Read the letter here:


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hope Anglican Church

In the far northern town of Oscoda, Michigan, where winter can be bitterly cold and awfully long, Fr. Tom Anderson leads a faithful parish known as Hope Anglican Church. Though blessed with beautiful lakes and streams, Oscoda has suffered from a 15 year economic depression, never recovering from the closing of the area's only major employer, the defunct SAC Air Force Base. Recently, Hope church found a new home, taking up residence at the old Swedish Lutheran church building. Renovations have begun and the parish presently worships in the lovely parish hall as it awaits spring when the work will begin in the old sanctuary. A new roof will go on, thanks to the benevolence of former parishioner of the Lutheran church who was just so thrilled to see the Old Church back in use again, he has already paid a local roofing contractor, in full, for a new roof. Oak pews have already been donated and the parish looks forward to rehabbing the beautiful sanctuary. A move in date on Pentecost Sunday is hoped for. Today, on the coldest Sunday of this winter, Bishop Fick celebrated the eucharist at Hope and reviewed the building plans and construction projects with the parish. The name Hope Church is certainly rich in meaning for Oscoda.

But wait! .. There's more to this ... read more below.

Emergency Homeless Shelter

But if all that wasn't enough of a challenge, Fr. Tom still oversees the ministry at the former site. Known as Emmanuel Mission, it has operated as the Oscoda Emergency Homeless shelter, the area's only shelter.
Plans include bringing the Emergency Homeless Shelter to the new Hope Anglican campus, once all needed and state required renovations are complete. Laundry facility, showers, kitchen improvements, sleeping quarters must all be built and/or renovated. When asked how all this can be done financially, Fr. Tom and Jackie Anderson will only respond with smiles that betray an incredible faith that God will somehow move upon his people to be generous, for the work that they do and the vision that they have far exceeds anything that one can see in the natural. It will HAVE to get done, because it simply MUST be done. The shelter needs your help in ministering to the homeless. If the Lord is speaking to your heart, please contact Fr. Tom 989-820-7222.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Diocese of St. Augustine - New Parish In Idaho

Two weeks ago, Bishop Larry Shaver confirmed two dozen people and blessed the founding of an exciting new parish, Grace Anglican Church in Boise, Idaho.

At the Diocese's fall clericus at Nashotah House, Father Don Hughes (wearing the chasuble) was ordained a priest and Deacon Jose Landaverde (wearing the dalmatic) also took vows in holy orders, while family and friends shared in the wonderful day.
Thanks to PK Ray+ for the photos

Friday, February 1, 2008

Ocean City Maryland Gathering

Presiding Bishop Walter Grundorf, along with Bishops Larry Shaver and Frederick Fick and Father Erich Zwingert were invited to present the Anglican Way, in faith, mission and ministry, to a group of outstanding Christian leaders representing over twenty inquiring churches in Ocean City, Maryland this week. It was a blessed three days of precious fellowship, praying the daily office and seeking ways to find common ministry and growth of the Kingdom of God.

Contact Information

11195 S. Grayling Rd.
Roscommon, MI 48653

Telephone: 586-264-6044
msjanglican "at" yahoo.com