I thought I knew what church meant. I thought I knew what campus ministry meant. I even thought I knew what being Presbyterian meant—which I thought would be a good idea to know if I ended up working as a UCC minister in a federated Presbyterian-United Church of Christ congregation.
Turns out, God is doing a new thing. Of course, Isaiah, one of our favorite Advent voices, told us to look and see the new thing God is doing, but I never dreamed I would find myself in the middle of one of those new things. Would you join me in doing the new thing that the Synod is igniting through a contribution to the Innovation Fund?
Here at Church of the Covenant in Boston, a congregation with longstanding commitments to arts and activism, we have seen God doing a new thing in our ministry with the many, many college students who make their home during the academic year in our city. With the help of an Innovation Grant from the Synod of the Northeast, our ministry is focused on supporting students and young adults and bringing faith-filled frameworks to bear on students’ already established or emerging arts and social justice endeavors.
We’re letting the students know that we see them, and the amazing things they are already doing. We give them the space to explore how their commitments in the arts and justice can be deepened by their Christian faith tradition. While many college students pursue activism and the arts as an alternative to faith, we seek to show that these three areas (arts, spirituality, justice) can be deeply integrated and can provide nourishment as students grow in their faith journey and personal development.
In this way, God is leading the church to look outside itself rather than impose itself or its programming to “fill the pews.” God is reminding us that our “daughters and sons will prophesy,” and giving us ears to hear.
As for understanding Presbyterians, the Synod of the Northeast has given me a very real education about what it means to be a church that is all about connection and pointing beyond itself to God’s realm. Supporting the work of the Synod is supporting those new things that God is doing to make us all new!
Julie Avis Rogers
P.S. Would you #igniteinnovation through a gift today to the Synod’s Innovation Fund? Every dollar that comes in goes back out to ministry like ours!