Vocation is an English word that grows from the Latin root, vocare, which means “to call.” As people of God, we are called by the one who names us beloved, before or beyond anything we do or don’t do. It is that grounding in unconditional grace, mercy, and love that sets us free to live a life of love, delight, and compassion. While the influence of our culture and economy might tell us that we have to find just the right job, or social circle, or partner in order to find that deep well of meaning and purpose, the Christian story is a different one. We rest in the love of God, and are called out of the deep well of God’s unconditional love to share that love with the world. That is our starting point.
Written by Pastor Kate
As humans, we are made to be in relationship with one another, and in relationship with God. The Bible tells us that we are “The Body of Christ,” in this world, mysteriously bound together with one another, sharing in both the joy and sorrow that each member feels.
We need people and actual communities that can remind us of our belovedness in the eyes of God. We need people who will honor who we are, and who we are becoming. We need communities that recognize that mistakes happen when people take risks and try new things, and are willing to forgive and continue living together.
This is a beautiful idea, am I right? But it can be especially hard when our culture tells us that we can do it all on our own, and that we should do it on our own. It can be hard when the hustle and grind are given priority over the complexity and slowness of building meaningful relationships. It can be hard when you’re simply too overwhelmed, or sad, or worried to leave your room.
This is exactly why we need God and why we need one another. We know that life, even life at college, can be deeper and more meaningful, it can be slower and more connected, than what we are told is possible by the world around us. It is wildly countercultural, and so we need to be reminded of this in our friendships, our weekly rhythms, and in the ways we choose to spend our time. Loneliness and isolation can creep into your life in college, even when you are surrounded by people. It will help greatly if you can find folks that seek to understand you, that care about your past and your future, and that honor those places in you that are broken, and healing.
We hope, of course, that you will find this kind of belonging within LCM, and that you soon consider yourself a part of this community. But we can’t do that unless we get to meet you, which is really the first step. So whether you’ve never walked through our doors, or have been wanting to get a little more involved, know there are opportunities for you to connect!
One way we live into this idea of fostering belonging and connection to one another is through our small groups! Small groups are an excellent way to dive into our community, meet new friends, and talk about faith and spirituality with other students in a smaller setting. We have four different small groups this semester and we hope you find one you are interested in checking out — two are beginning tonight!
Please keep an eye out for our emails, and let me know if you have any questions! I hope to see you soon!
Written by Emma Gray, LCM Student Leader
Dear incoming freshmen,
Thinking back to when I was in your shoes last fall, I remember the flood of emotions that came with moving into a new dorm, starting new classes, and experiencing Welcome Week for the first time. There was nervousness, excitement, and just overall fatigue that came from uprooting what felt like a comfortable environment at home over the summer.
When I first arrived at the University of Minnesota, I knew I wanted to start looking for a church community to join. My church and youth group from home were pretty small and tight-knit, so I was a bit nervous about finding a group like that in the middle of such a huge campus.
After seeing a poster in Coffman Student Union, I came to one of LCM’s first student worship nights of the semester (pause). I immediately felt like it was where I was meant to end up just after my first night there. The people and student leaders were so welcoming, accepting, and excited to meet me. It was also very clear to me that this church aligned with my values, which was a refreshing aspect to find in a faith community.
Shortly after attending student worship every week, I was invited to join Freshmen Bible Study. This intrigued me because I was interested in getting to know more people, especially other freshmen, more personally at church. After getting to know the other freshmen in the Bible study, I felt like I could open up more and be myself, which was a new feeling for me since I was still trying to find my place at the U.
This year, I will be leading the Freshmen Bible Study, and genuinely cannot wait! I found such a loving and comforting home at LCM last year and am so excited to meet new faces who can hopefully find the same things I did here. My hope for all of you is that you are able to find spaces and people that make you feel loved and worthy of who you are, not who you feel you could or should be. Whether that is at LCM or another space on campus, I encourage you to seek that out and pay attention to how different environments affirm you, and make you feel!
If you have any questions at all, about literally anything, LCM-related or not, please do not hesitate to reach out to me! I would love to hear from you and am happy to help with anything – I know the first couple weeks of freshman year are a lot. You will find your people, even if it feels hard at first. Remember that you are awesome and you are here for a reason!
As I start my third year at the University of Minnesota, I remember my first semester on campus. The advice I got from everyone I knew who had already gone to college was to “join as many student groups as you can!” I was told it was a great way to make friends, which aside from handling my classes, was one of my biggest concerns about going to college.
As a campus pastor, I am well acquainted with the rhythms of saying goodbye and saying hello. As we savor the gifts of one particular generation of students, we recognize that the next group of individuals that gather in Christ’s name at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities will be shaped by different experiences and bring different expectations as they join our community.
At LCM, we’re entering into this season, centered on the theme of wilderness. It’s a complicated, multilayered theme, and one that can sustain the journeys that you all will be on together and individually this season. Just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, so we’ll prepare ourselves for his death and resurrection by wandering around together in the wilderness, wondering what God might be making of us. We’re taking care to make space for the hard stuff, while also acknowledging the surprises of beauty, joy, and sustenance that can find us in these wild places. You’ll have the opportunity to tell stories, make art, go on hikes, and serve your neighbor; among many other things, together in community.
Written by Elaine Dorn
Siblings, animals, plants, bugs; anything and everything within reach was the waiting subject of my, perhaps a little over-zealous, snazzy rose gold digital camera that I received as a gift for my eleventh birthday. I loved snapshotting moments in time, catching the giggles of my younger sisters and brother and capturing tiny, everyday things that never failed to put a smile on my face: a roly-poly bug skittering across a blade of grass, the way sunlight peeked through the pine tree in my yard, and baby lambs scampering around the barn. Each of these moments, although small, were the ones that seemed the most impactful and worthy-of-capture to me because they disclosed the beautiful narrative found within simple, perfect moments in life.
Today, I still have that snazzy rose gold camera, even if it’s not my current moment-capturing tool of choice. However, my favorite instances to capture remain the same. I deeply love telling the stories of people, of places, and of the simple things that make the life we live so sweet. One thing I’ve learned, as a photographer, is that no story is too small or too imperfect to be worthy of telling; and I think it’s so incredibly profound in regards to our faith and God.
Personally, it is easy to believe that my story and I are not worthy of being told or noticed; that because I sometimes feel as though I don’t fit in or that I’m not enough, my story and I should just be scooted to the back corner where no one can see. However, as we look through the Bible, the people whose stories are told are just like me. Rarely are they the best of the bunch, the loudest, the brightest, the wisest, or the smartest; they are individuals with plenty of mistakes, insecurities, and struggles. Just because they are imperfect, ordinary people does not mean that God does not use them in absolutely incredible ways. It doesn’t matter if they are as talented as the people surrounding them, or if they feel about as impactful as a roly-poly bug on a blade of grass. God chooses to capture their story, and through it, show people the depth of God’s love. In fact, it is through those imperfections that God does his greatest work (definitely check out 2 Corinthians 12:9). I have found the same to be true, time and time again, as a photographer. It is pretty rare for perfection to tell a good story through photos. However, candid, imperfect moments are the ones that never fail to create a photo that brings delight and joy to a viewer. The same can be said for ourselves. If we allow God to use us in our mess, in our imperfection, and in our candid moments, God can bring life and love to those around us in ways we never thought possible.
Several students resonated with that learning, and together, the folks who identify as white in our community decided to read Layla Saad’s “Me and White Supremacy,” and we are now inviting members of our broader community to join in this work together, as we prepare for a spring semester of deeper work.
This country needs you, and it needs your vote. This is not the time to be overwhelmed by the options, or to let lethargy take over. I also understand how much that is happening right now, and so we’re making ourselves available to walk alongside you. You are not alone in this. We are not alone in this. Thanks be to God.
Maybe you feel like you’ve been on high alert, too? Did you see that I made 2020 a hashtag? It’s been, hmmm, *something.* If we were first driven to our coping mechanisms by fear or anxiety or boredom, they’ve certainly now become habits. For me, constant scrolling is my go-to – when I’m bored, or scared, or anxious, or any number of things. I wonder what it is for you?