Pastor Janelle Hooper
New school? New neighborhood? New coach? New step-parent? New job? What transition are you in?
Thank you for supporting Houston Lutheran Campus Ministry, which meets students, staff, and faculty at the multiple intersections of life, academia, and faith. I’ve had the privilege of stepping into campus ministry the past few months as the interim part-time Campus Pastor at the University of Houston. So now you know one of my transitions.
How do any of us stay rooted in the midst of transitions? College campuses by nature are places that seek to root us in the school and school tradition, while recognizing students are a people on the go and won’t be here long. And many of our traditional models for ministry are about rooting people in a congregation and having them stay for the long haul. Too often models for ministry between congregation and campus do not translate well, even though as Lutherans we are a church with a history of reforming with roots in academia, since Martin Luther was both priest and professor. Nonetheless, there are two things in particular that congregations and campus ministries have in common: meeting people in life’s transitions and living in an interfaith world.
Shown in these two pictures are myself with campus ministers at the University of Houston from the Baptist and Catholic traditions. Also, University of Houston students serving a free lunch provided by New Life Lutheran Church for over two hundred university students, staff, and faculty.
Each person who comes in line for a slice of pizza is offered the same lunch no matter what they believe, confess, major in, or contribute to the life of the community – truly all are welcome. At least half of the requests are for a vegetarian option to meet religious and cultural beliefs.
Campus ministry is about showing up, being present, and walking alongside the diverse student, staff, and faculty on campus, while demonstrating love for neighbor. Campus ministry is your ministry, it is our ministry, and it is the ministry of individuals, local congregations, our synod, and churchwide mission support.
Whatever transition you are going through, think for a minute what that would feel like without a faith community for support. Aren’t you glad to be a part of ministry that meets this crucial need in people’s lives? Please prayerfully consider how you and your congregation can get further involved as a prayer team, providing a lunch, or becoming a sustaining member.