Northern Ireland – Spring Break – Reflections


By Hanna Saveraid

After many hours of travel, 16 LCMers, one staff member, and one pastor arrived at Dublin Airport only to encounter our first challenge of the trip: finding our bus driver. Luckily, after only a few minutes and frantic phone calls we located Nigel, a cheery yet taciturn local who ended up driving us around for the week and teaching us Irish sayings. 


We spent the week at Corrymeela Retreat Center, a beautiful building situated on the ocean. Corrymeela is the center of decades of passionate work to explore community, peacebuilding, and identity. Our hosts encouraged using games and practice scenarios to explore conflict. Outside of our sessions we also participated in the daily rhythms of the community. A simple breakfast, then silent worship to start the day; a community dinner full of good conversation, then a worship to end the day in the echoey Croi (the sanctuary). 


Getting to know the year long volunteers was a highlight. Several volunteers even led some of us on a cold plunge in the ocean one chilly (42 F) morning. The water was freezing but invigorating. The volunteers seemed to enjoy the enthusiasm and welcome that LCMers always bring along with them. The LCMers who signed up for this trip were particularly willing to jump in, even though for many this trip was their first to Europe.


Midway through the week, we took a trip to Derry/Londonderry, Ireland which was one of the more poignant moments of the trip. Derry is a walled city built by English settlers in the 1600s and more recently was an epicenter of the “Troubles” in the 1970s-1990s. We visited the Free Derry Museum in Derry, which tells the story of civilian victims killed by British soldiers on “Bloody Sunday.” I found myself taken aback by the divide between Protestants/Unionists and Catholic/Nationalists that could still be felt in Northern Ireland. We found ourselves facing a living history of sectarian violence as many of the people we learned from had lost family members and chose to relive those traumatic experiences to teach others the importance of remembrance and working together. While outright violence has mostly dissipated following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and the tireless activism of peace builders like those at Corrymeela, these cultural-political divides still impact everyday life. Neighborhoods and schools are largely segregated between Catholic and Protestant, still making the “other” a foreign entity. 


While not exactly the same, our communities at home in Minnesota also feel starkly divided along political and cultural lines. This divide often feels hopeless. We learned from our generous Corrymeela hosts that peace or resolution takes time and may not ever be “complete.” When our history – recent and long ago – has taught us division, we have to keep returning to the table again and again to have difficult conversations. The conversations I had with old and new friends from LCM in Northern Ireland make me hopeful for the future and every community that LCMers will enter. This community collects people who act with grace and thoughtfulness, qualities that are needed in every place of discord.

Clare’s Story of Joy

I don’t think anyone will disagree when I say Joy is found in the little things in life. It is witnessing the golden sun setting in a parking lot after a long day. It is receiving a kiss on the cheek from my dad while we cook dinner. It is singing my favorite song in the car on the way to see my favorite people.

This is obvious to me now, but it wasn’t always so clear. I was very ambitious when I was young, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well in school. I was adamant that I would get a PhD in astrophysics from Yale one day, and that required me to put my head down in my studies today and every day until then. My daily schedule was school, a few hours of extracurriculars, dinner, homework, sleep. As much as I thought I was having fun, because there are many fond memories, this lifestyle did not make me Joyful. But then my time in high school was very abruptly cut short by Covid-19.

As with everyone, this was not a Joyful time, but a long and hollow time. For the first time since I was a child, no one expected anything of me for hours at a time, something I acknowledge was a privilege, but I spent much of that time wandering my neighborhood searching for something to do. There was much to grieve in that space, and I painfully learned how precious those little Joys really were, because they certainly weren’t promised to me. Still, even in those lonely times, I still watched the sun set, I still cooked dinner with my dad, and I still sang in the car. They were just a little bit harder to appreciate, but it was through those Joys that I was able to piece some semblance of who I was without all the expectations.

I did not grow up religious, nor did anyone in my family and I’m still not fully comfortable talking about God and Jesus in such big and grand terms in my own life. However, I have come to feel that these little Joys is God speaking to me. Mostly, His message is to slow down, to savor the life I’ve been given, even when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable. Sometimes, those moments remind me of those who cannot afford to savor it, at least not for very long, for those who must keep working to eat, or for those who have lost so much that savoring feels impossible.

When I think about my mission or calling, I almost always come back to this – Joy. In my own life, I have let go of many of my prescribed ambitions of success and have instead been taking things one step at a time, keeping these little Joys in mind. But God calls me to go further than that, to bring Joy to those around me, either by sharing in celebration or by providing relief from burdens.

At the end of the day, I think that’s why I keep coming back to LCM despite my background. This community of people has helped connect this calling of mine into a tangible life purpose by bringing Joy to everyone we can, through kindness, service, and love. I may not be able to say much about God’s purpose for us on earth, but I hope that everyone may stop and enjoy the sunset every once and awhile.

Sydnie’s Story of Belonging

I have never been someone who envisions myself as a part of something. I contribute to things. I participate when required. I have friends. I have family. I’ve been on teams. I’ve just never really felt like I was more than a solitary unit. I am simply more comfortable being alone than relying on other people. I can’t remember the time in my life when this started, but I can remember the time when it ended.

Shelby’s Story of Hope

I am a senior studying Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. After undergrad, I am planning on going into environmental law and policy. I have been involved with LCM for 4 years. Almost all my classes are centered on climate change in some way. I learn about the many issues the world is facing and will hopefully help solve one day, but also, it can be draining as I am constantly bombarded with the idea that: 1) there are many different facets to climate change and 2) there is too much to overcome, and we can’t fix it.

It can be easy to fall into the pit of despair of life, with the constant bombardment of information that we have readily accessible — we as humans were not meant to experience this much pain in a single day. We become accustomed to the hard times, to the death, to the destruction of others and the planet. We say it’s just another day in the life and keep on moving. I find this to be exhausting. And it would crush me if I let it.

Exploring God’s Call(s) in Your Life

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.

Be Community Together

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!
-Pastor Kate


Welcome Class of 2027!

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!


Welcome New Students!

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.

Report Back – Listening Project 2021

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.

An Invitation to Lent

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.