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Wanderings – Observations of Campus Life at SJSU

Organizing for Change

 

Last week was intense! Earning four units of continuing education in Community Organizing at CDSP (Church Divinity School of the Pacific), I sat at the feet of some pretty powerful community organizers – people whose training and organizing methods were used by President Obama when he was still a community organizer himself in Chicago.  It may not be possible to summarize 10 hours a day for five days into one blog, but if I could use a couple of thoughts in attempt to summarize,  I would borrow from Dr. Stephen Covey’s work, The Seven Basic Habits of Highly Effective People- “begin with the end in mind” and “seek first to understand”.

Like most endeavors that are effective, relationships built and sustained are the hub.  I  know I am not the only one who wants to do ministry and go into community action with people that have our back, people we know we can trust when the going gets tough – a band of  brothers and sisters.  Jesus, who in my opinion was the most effective of all people who roamed our earth when it comes to relationship building, knew how to select and call a core group of followers.  These men and women literally followed Him to the cross.  Few of us need reminding that His ministry was about social change, teaching effective living  and healing the wounds of the poor and the marginalized.

Sitting in my study today at Grace Baptist Church across the street from the campus, I am beginning with the end in mind thinking about how to reach out to those young people who need to know that they are Beloved.  We reach out with no strings attached, nothing to sign up for, no commitments except to receive a blessing and maybe join us in building a sustaining community of friends.

As I begin the Spring Semester, I am blessed to have a wonderful student intern, A’Lester Allen, a great board of trustees who serve the Canterbury Foundation and the men, women and congregations of the Episcopal Church who donate to the ministry of building relationships with people of all faiths and belief systems.  In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world.  Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Riding the Wave

 

wave

Life is full of change.  Sounds like a “no brainer” remark – if any one is reading this blog, I can almost hear you saying, “Of course life is full of change!” and I agree but would add that to live life with any kind of peace and contentment, one needs to accept the changes life throws our way by learning to ride the wave of change and make the transition from an ending to a new beginning.

I will admit that I almost fell off my surf board  last Thursday.  One of the center pieces of our ministry on campus has been the weekly chapel at Spartan Memorial.   It is a beautiful and peaceful space until invaded by jack hammers and heavy equipment noises – no longer a place of contemplative quiet and prayer.  The construction necessary for the building seismic upgrade has made prayer and quiet most difficult, even impossible.  I was under the wave at first until I picked myself up and got back on my surf board.  The question that got me back in action was, “What are the alternatives?”  That question  led me on a wonderful exploration.  I visited the Mosaic module where the graduate student welcomed me warmly and said, “Yes, we invite groups to pray here”  I also learned something about the wonderful programs they offer.  I hope you will check them out! .  Then I stopped by the Spartan Shops and bought Gold Point Cards for the Prize Wheel I will use at the recruiting table each in the Student Union.  Take a spin and win a prize – first you have to answer a Bible question!  It may sound corny but it may be a way to get people involved in conversation and invite them to chapel on Thursday’s.

Finally I stopped by the International House.  What an elegant residence for both US and foreign students.  Once again I was warmly greeted by the director and assistant director and then one of the resident students gave me a great tour.  We talked about the possibilities of working together to do service work to help alleviate the poverty that is so evident on the streets around the campus.

The wave of change can either send one to the bottom or lift us up to new possibilities.  I pray we all learn to ride the wave of change to a new beginning.

The Doctor is In and I am His Servant

The Doctor is InIf you haven’t visited the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, I highly recommend it.  Who doesn’t love the wonderful characters “Sparky” created?  Don’t we all have a bit of each one of them in us?  Poor Old Charlie Brown, the little redheaded girl, Pigpen, Linus the vulnerable and Lucy the outspoken…love them all.

Standing in Lucy’s Booth inspired me to reflect theologically.  Who of us has the answers to anyone else’s concerns much less our own on most days?  And yet, it seems to me that when we take it all to God in prayer, we find really can find our Salvation.

A couple of week’s ago, our bishop gave us an assignment to write our own salvation story.  The words seemed to pour through me.  Let me give you a brief recap of what I wrote that day:

“I think of the jokes that sceptics throw around in response to the phrase, “Jesus Saves.”  Saves what?  Green Stamps!  Our world scoffs at “salvation” – better said, may not know how to think about the concept that many Christians believe we understand.  But I wonder if we do?

Some many years ago, I went to a Billy Graham Crusade.  I really love Billy Graham.  I agree with those who say he is America’s pastor, but that’s off topic.  Anyway, that afternoon, I went with hundreds of others to make the Altar Call accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  Now, I am not disputing that the intention of a surrendered life is wrong.  It isn’t at all.  But I have learned in my own journey that intention is just the beginning , the first baby step.

For me, salvation has become a daily conversation with the Creator of the Universe.  It is the discipline to be silent long enough to hear the still small voice within.  No human friendship would last if one only called on a friend only once in a while and then only in need.  On a recent retreat, I was sitting quietly in front of the Sacrament and trying to quiet my mind and emotion long enough to enter into the silence. It takes all my willingness and focus to become more present to God as I believe He is always Present to me.  For just a moment in the stillness, I asked forgiveness for not telling the Lord of my being how much I loved Him.  “Forgive me, Lord, for being so darn needy” I said, “rather than praising and thanking You – who can thank you enough?”

Some of you may think I am delusional if I try to report that I have a direct link to God -  from my mouth to God’s ear – but all I know is that in this holy moments, a burden I was carrying, too big and too heavy, was lifted from me.  God knew my need before I even asked Him.  It was a moment of grace that is difficult to articulate but it was so very real.

That is salvation for me – a daily conversation, the nurturing of relationship with the best and dearest Friend any human being can have.  So what’s your salvation story?  It’s worth thinking about.

 

Wanderings – Observations of Campus Life at SJSU

CanterburyLogoMedWe delighted to be re-branding our Episcopal Campus Ministry. Formerly known as SJSpirit, we are now the Canterbury Bridge. Why bridge? The mission of this ministry is to reach out to all faiths and traditions to find a common ground exploring and investigating the question “How are we alike?” building bridges of understanding between faith communities on campus.

We are all called to be Bridge Builders…

Wood Bridge

From USA Provincial of the Society of the Divine Savior, Salvatorians:

“One of the ministries most urgently needed in the church and the world today is the ministry of building bridges; bridges that can reach across the barriers that divide and separate us. All in the church, from its highest leaders to its newest members, must become engaged in this ministry so that, as Jesus said, “all may be one, as you and I are one”. . . That all the many gifts and charisms that are a part of our great diversity may be united in service to our primary mission of evangelization. This calls for the involvement of the entire people of God and requires a new fervor, new methods and a new expression for announcing and witnessing of the Gospel. This demands a new style of pastoral life marked by profound communion and fruitful cooperation, always respecting and fostering the different roles, charisms and ministries present among us. So that we can accomplish God’s wonderful work of reuniting the whole human race.”

Lofty thoughts? I wish I could claim what I just said, but I am simply quoting—Pope John Paul II’s “Apostolic Exhortation” Pastores Dabo Vobis. Between you and me, I think he lifted this from our founder, Father Jordan’s “Apostolic Exhortations”. . . I’m just sayin’!

Read it all here

Young Adult/Campus Ministries

Young adults (ages 18 to 30), although they’re grouped together, are often at very different stages in their lives. They’re married, partnered, single, with children, divorced, widowed. They leave high school and enter the work force, the military, or college. Not every young adult attends college, and many will try it on but leave before completing a degree. They engage with the world, and many have strong opinions about war, the environment, and the institutional church. Many will rally to help a next-door neighbor or organize relief efforts for Sudan and Haiti.

The Episcopal Church strives to be alongside young adults, to accompany, mentor, and provide places for leadership development. The church also offers deeper experiences in their faith journey through fellowship, vocational discernment, and internships in programs such as the Young Adult Service Corps.
Young Adult Ministry in the church at large takes the form of parish-based young adult groups for worship, fellowship, mission and study; young adult internships and intentional living through the Episcopal Service Corps; diocesan retreats and gatherings; engaging and training young adults in the polity of the church; mentoring and discernment programs; and young adult pilgrimages and mission experiences.
Campus ministry includes all students attending places of higher learning at colleges and universities.  Sometimes referred to as “Canterbury Club” or “Episcopal Campus Ministry” (ECM), it includes all chaplains, campus ministers, and faculty. It provides programming, networks (diocesan, provincial, churchwide, and ecumenical), advocacy, and resources for those doing ministry on college and university campuses.