Campus Ministry, a Year Later

Campus Ministry, a Year Later

A year later and students remain mostly off-campus. Instead of living in dorms or apartments near California State University Monterey Bay, or one of the other five campus ministries in our synod, they are scattered all over the state, the country, and the world.

Zooming in for classes from their childhood bedrooms is not exactly what most of our students had in mind for their higher learning. As a former biology major, I want to know how does one complete a biology lab online? But more than that, I recognize how painful it has become for these young adults to have all their social contacts limited to a screen. The electronic screens project images of friends, but they also “screen” out part of the human experience, filtering out some of the flavor and joy of life.

An important part of campus ministry has been simply to provide support to students and staff during this trying time. Through our drop-in chat times, discussion groups, and times of worship, we have striven to encourage and give hope.

Campus ministry always needs to adapt: every year brings a new group of students and fresh issues on campus. The pandemic has forced more change upon us and we, like congregations and other ministries, are looking to where God is leading us. The question is not if we will get through this pandemic, but what will we learn from it?

We know there will be successes and failures. The collaboration with Campus Health Services on a Celebration of Gratitude was a great success. The declining interest in engaging at our weekly lunch gathering probably suggests the need to change something. The ongoing challenge of limited contact with new students perplexes us, but the ongoing ministry to Mandarin-speaking students at UC Santa Cruz excites us.

Overall, I believe the greatest learning for campus ministries and for all of us is that we are better working together. Working together, we can serve and love and share the Good News of Christ so much more. I hope that we bring this lesson out of this COVID-19 time and with it we may see a resurrection of the church and of community life.

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a campus minister and to work with students, faculty, and staff. I am also thankful for the ongoing support of the synod in this important mission work. On behalf of all of the campus ministries, I thank you for your prayers and financial support.

Pastor Clark Brown
CSUMB Campus Minister

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