Our campus missionary, Rebecca Schaff, spoke at the national LWML Conference this June in Albuquerque. She was there as a representative of the LCMS to talk to the group about the synod’s domestic missionaries and to highlight the importance of campus ministry to international and domestic students. You can watch a short video of her speech here.
To support Rebecca’s work at ULC and on the U of M campus, please visit her page at lcms.org. You will also find more information about her work on ulcmn.com and at lcms.org.
Our own Kurt Weber spoke about the importance of church for college students with Pastor Marcus Zill, who heads up LCMS Campus Ministry for the synod, on KFUO radio. You can listen to the segment here:
Returning from vacation yesterday I confronted the inevitable stack of mail. There was the usual: a lot of junk mail, a vestment catalog, some stuff from CPH and the Synod… and a really nice note from a 1950 alumna of ULC! She had received a mailing we had sent requesting updated contact information, and had gotten our most recent newsletter, and decided to write to us to tell us about her life and family.
She had met her husband, who recently passed away, at ULC as a student. They were both members of Gamma Delta (ULC’s Lutheran student group at that time), as were her two brothers. She says briefly about her experience at the chapel: “we were so grateful to have Gamma Delta around when we attended the University. Rev. Norden was known as a Matchmaker and he did a good job of bringing students to the Y where we met on Sunday nights until the chapel was built later. We learned a lot at Gamma Delta…”
Also in the stack of mail, sent separately, was a brief note from this dear alumna’s son, who, going through his parents things, as children eventually must do for aging parents, found the following carefully preserved after all of these years:
Now I don’t know if the students I get the privilege of serving this year will save our outreach brochure for the next 60 odd years or not. But I do know that the experiences they will have at ULC – meeting other Lutheran students, growing in their knowledge of Christ’s Word, receiving His good gifts of grace, serving others – will have a life-long impact on them, just as they did for this dear woman and her husband.
You might note how prominently the then-planned-for chapel played on this outreach card. Our alumna also wrote: “On our last trip to Minneapolis we saw where the new chapel is to be built. We were very disappointed when the original chapel was sold and torn down, but felt better when we saw that the new site is still near campus.”
A new chapel plays prominently in our minds too as we gear up for another school year and look forward to meeting another group of new students. As we get closer to being able to break ground, I again invite you help make the new chapel a reality by your prayers and with your financial contribution to the Build-it-Back fund. By doing so, you’ll be helping to make a life-long impact on students, stretching even into eternal life.
The youth and chaperones would like to say “Thank You!” to the congregation for offering scholarships to the Bread of Life 2016 Higher Things Conference. We are delighted that so many youth were able to attend including: Nicole, Cassie, and Nathan Demlow; Isaac Glynn; Jake and Joe Henke; Andrew Kind; Katherine, Nathan, and Matthew Vanderhyde; Caleb, and Rachel Walker. Chaperones included: Sarah Rose Battles, Pastor Kind, Karen Henke, Jaclyn Magnuson, Kari Walker, and Nancy Bynum.
Pastior Kind began our trip with Matins and a prayer that the Angel Raphael would accompany us along the way and that we would return to our homes in peace, in safety, and in joy.
After one gas stop and one lunch stop, we arrived at Northern Iowa University in Cedar Falls and picked up our materials. The theme for this year’s Higher Things Conference was “Bread of Life.” The schedule for the Higher Things Conference was full of excellent services, sessions and events. The full details and schedule are here on the web.
The conference opened with the Divine Service. Nathan Vanderhyde neatly summed up what many of our young people thought about this service by saying, “I think the major highlight of Higher Things was having 837 people singing the same hymns and saying the Lord’s prayer. It’s amazing to think that they all pretty much believe the same thing as you do. That’s what really made me want to be there all week.”
Pastor Donovan Riley addressed the first plenary session on the attempt by some to refute that Jesus is God from the text of Scripture itself. Among Pastor Riley’s points were the ‘I Am’ statements by Christ in the New Testament. Christ spoke these fully aware of, and connected to, God’s “I am” statements in the Old Testament.
Some of the points the youth and the chaperones enjoyed pondering were as follows:
We are far more attracted to the needs of our body than the needs of our soul.
No more judgement, wrath, or hell: Christ’s life is sustaining us unto life everlasting
The Lord’s supper is food and drink for the journey, to sustain you
Compare your decisions to the 10 commandments, table of duties, and the Proverbs. Will your decision give glory and honor to God?
The boldness and confidence of Christ should encompass all that we are and all that we do.
The solution to shame is Christ: confessing our sins and receiving absolution
We are like mirrors. God creates, orders, loves, and speaks to us. We are only able to reflect God’s worth, value, identity, and confidence in His presence. Consequently, when we separate ourselves from Christ we lose our value, our identity, our confidence, and our worth.
The devil wants us to fear the situation; he wants us to think he has the authority over every situation. Fortunately for us, every battle has been won. Christ said it is finished. Proclaim God’s authority over every situation using His word.
Pastor Kind can be in a tornado and his hair still would look great.
In every situation, we always know what to do: PRAY!
The fact that we never think we need help does not change the fact that God is merciful and gracious and helping us 24/7.
Some people say they FEEL led to do something deep down in their hearts. In our hearts it is dark, our hearts are incubators for thoughts of murder, slander, and hatred – do we really want to follow our hearts?
We are to pray AGAINST our enemies by using the psalms of imprectation: Psalm 12 – prays that God word would be kept pure; Psalm 94 prays for the defenseless – aborted babies included. (Other “Go get’em God” Psalms: 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 69, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137, 140)
The lost sheep, the lost coin, like we, are dead assets, Christ comes to us as “dead assets”, rescues us, and gives us new life.
Sin is deep corruption of the heart – confessing sin over and over while putting our trust and confidence in Christ alone is the “cure”.
On Closed communion: Christ taught all, fed all, but the Lord’s supper was reserved for the disciples only. “Just because someone wants to do something does not make it good for them.”
The Lord’s supper:(1) Ransoms us from death (2) Removes guilt – of sins we’ve done, and sins done to us (3) Resurrection of the body, we cannot live without forgiveness of sin – our sinful mundane lives are interrupted by eternal life. (4) Renews and restores us – (Sanctification) – the old Adam is choked to death, and the new Adam is strengthened (5) Gives us confidence of God’s approval
The trip ended with a pizza party at Green Mill in Albert Lea followed by compline at Luther House. There were 23 opportunities to receive God’s word in the time we spent at Higher Things. Again, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the congregation for their continued support!
I encourage our youth to start saving up for the 2017 Higher Things conference, the choices are:
June 27-30 – Trinity University, San Antonio, TX
July 4-7 – Mars Hill University, Mars Hill, NC
July 18-21 – Montana State University, Bozeman, MT
July 25-28 – Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN
Like many of you I have been watching national politics unfold on my computer screen. Oh no, not Hillary and Donald… more like Harrison, and Mueller, and Preus. Last week the Missouri Synod held its triennial national convention in Milwaukee, which, between VBS sessions and other pastoral duties, I was able to watch on my laptop. It was one of the best conventions I’ve seen.
While several important doctrinal and practical issues were hammered out and voted upon, to my mind, the most important part of the convention was the elections. Putting solid, orthodox, confessional Lutheran pastors and lay people into positions of influence and leadership in the church has, humanly speaking, far more impact than passing this or that resolution. For without solid leaders who will confess and defend our theology on a day to day basis in their roles as leaders of the synod, resolutions voted on every three years won’t matter very much. And this year I was very pleased with the quality of the people elected to hold such positions.
I was surprised to see how many of those elected this year have, at one time or another, been members or students at University Lutheran Chapel. By my count 45 lay people were elected to serve our synod in some leadership capacity. Five of those are former ULC folks! Think about that. That’s more than 10% of the lay leaders elected to office at this convention! Here they are:
Kristine Bruss – Board for International Mission
Crysten Sanchez – Board for National Mission
Carla Claussen – Board for National Mission
Paul Edmon – Board of Regents, Concordia Seminary
Sandra Ostapowich – Board of Regents, Concordia Irvine
And that’s on top of others from ULC who are already serving at the synodical and district levels throughout our synod. We currently have a few alumni who are District Vice Presidents, one serving on the CTCR, several serving on other national boards, even more serving on District Boards of Directors – not to mention all of those who serve as leaders in their local congregations.
What is true of campus ministries in general has been especially true of ULC. They are incubators for future church leaders. Through the students who are brought to faith, catechized, deepened and strengthened in their faith under their care, they have an impact not just on their local region or district, but on the whole of the Church.
One of those elected, Paul Edmon, said this about it on his Facebook page when responding to congratulations from pastor Marcus Zill (who heads up campus ministry for the LC-MS): “Thank you. I pray to do my best. I will admit it is only by the amazing campus ministry at University Lutheran Chapel shepherded by Rev. David Kind that I am any where near the orthodox Lutheran I am today…”
This synod-wide, Church-wide, impact is just another reason we believe that the work and future of ULC is worthy of your prayers and financial support.
Yep. At Luther house at 6:30 AM, on the road by 7:15 our adventure had begun.
We Canoed to our campsite, and made hobo dinners.
Friday Morning we woke up and it started to rain, so we all crawled back into the “girls” tent and played phase 10. In the afternoon, the rain stopped and we were able to picnic on a island – and we were scolded by a loon, evidently the loon had a nest somewhere on the island.
We canoed back to the campsite and just made it back to the tent and it started to downpour.
We played phase 10 again. Pastor dominated the game.
The next day we canoed and portaged to a river. We climbed up a huge rock and picniced on top of it.
We canoed on to a big lake and fished the afternoon away. Kari Walker of Minneapolis caught a walleye and we had it for supper along with WONDERFUL salmon cakes courtesy of Arthur.
Sunday we had breakfast and matins and packed up camp and canoed out to the boat landing where we met professional photographers who took a group photo with Andrew Kind’s camera.
We packed the gear onto the trailer, had lunch and ice cream in Duluth, then headed back to the cities.
Special thanks to Arthur for arranging the trip and cooking, to Pastor for matins and compline, to Kari Walker for all the treats and Salmon, to Nicole for crocheting dishcloths for the trip, for Andrew for photographing our trip, and to Rachel for keeping our water bottles filled.
On May 22nd, our congregation voted unanimously to hire Rebecca Schaff as our campus missionary. A recent graduate in linguistics from the University of Iowa, Rebecca served as Director of International Outreach at St. Paul’s Lutheran Chapel while a student. She also spent a year at Harbin Normal University in northern China studying Mandarin Chinese. Since then, she has taught Chinese at an immersion school in Forest Lake, MN, and has been an active member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Forest Lake. We believe that her enthusiasm, dedication, strong heart for missions, and experience with international outreach and Mandarin Chinese make her an excellent candidate.
This summer, Rebecca will travel to St. Louis to meet with the LCMS Office of National Missions for vetting and training. She will then work with Pastor Kind to develop a mission plan and prepare to start working with students on campus in the Fall semester. We are overjoyed to have her!
Thanks be to God for His grace toward our congregation, for the new spirit of support and cooperation with the MNS District leadership, and most especially for this incredible opportunity to increase and focus our work as a campus ministry! His hand is clearly evident in all of this; in the enthusiastic support of the District President and Board of Directors, in the unanimous votes to approve the missionary proposal, in the generous financial grant, and in the calling of an exceptional candidate. We eagerly look forward to seeing all of these blessings grow and bear fruit in the spiritual lives of our students!
Exciting things continue to happen at University Lutheran Chapel! Not only are we preparing to build a new chapel at the U of M, but we are also launching a new project in campus outreach. ULC will be the first campus ministry to have its own domestic/urban missionary to help us reach out to international and domestic students.
Domestic missionaries (sometimes called urban missionaries, sometimes national missionaries) are LCMS missionaries working in the USA but after a foreign missionary model. This is a brand new venture in the LCMS under the Office of National Mission (ONM) called “Mission Field: USA”. Currently there are two domestic missionaries serving in US cities, one in Toledo Ohio and one in Philadelphia. Ours will be the first sent to do mission work exclusively on a US campus! (To read more about the LCMS domestic missionary program click here.)
This opportunity came to us rather quickly through my work on the District’s campus ministry committee (the committee that was charged with coming up with a plan for the use of the funds held by the MNS District from the sale of the old ULC chapel and the chapel at Mankato State.) The committee needed to have the plan ready to present to the Board of Directors by May 3rd, so there wasn’t any time to be wasted. I suggested that, among other things, a good use of district monies would be to help pay for domestic missionaries to work at our various campuses around the state in conjunction with the campus ministries already in place. At first this was not pursued by the committee; and, frankly, I was a little afraid of pushing the idea considering the size of the grant we were already requesting to help rebuild the chapel. But the District President, in a letter to the committee, strongly encouraged them to look at having a domestic missionary assigned exclusively to the U of M. So the plan went forward!
I met several times with the District Missions Exec, Rev. Dr. William Utech, and spoke on the phone with Rev. Steve Schave, LCMS Director of Urban and Inner City Mission, to discuss our work at ULC and to work out arrangements for a potential missionary position at ULC. I also discussed the potential missionary position with ULC’s board of elders and chapel council, both of which groups were extremely supportive of the proposal. With President Nadasdy’s encouragement ULC applied for and will receive a grant of $150,000 to be distributed at $30,000/year for five years for the support of a domestic missionary. (This is in addition to the $500,000 grant for the Build-it-Back fund.)
Here are the details thus far:
The domestic missionary position at the U of M will be supported by a three-way partnership among ULC, the MNS District, and the LCMS Office of National Mission.
ULC is the “calling” congregation – this means that ULC gets to choose the missionary, who will then be vetted by the ONM.
ULC will determine the mission plan – this means that the work of the missionary will be under direction and day-to-day supervision of ULC’s campus pastor.
ULC will provide financial support to the missionary (¼ of the total salary and benefits package)
MNS District will provide $30,000/year financial support for five years
The ONM will provide missionary training
The ONM will provide material support
The ONM will assist the missionary with fundraising in support of the position.
We have chosen to hire a missionary who is not an ordained pastor. All preaching, teaching and liturgical leadership will remain the sole job of the campus pastor. (Why duplicate a skill set we already have?) Rather the missionary will be responsible for building bridges to the international community on campus, especially the Chinese students (there are over 2600 Chinese currently studying at the Twin Cities campus!), for conducting outreach to international and domestic students on campus, and for building relationships rooted in Christ with, among, and between students. Our specific mission strategy is still in the works.
On Sunday, May 22, ULC’s Voters Assembly approved moving forward with the project and approved the hiring of our missionary (to be revealed in our next post, so be sure to watch for it!).
This is truly an exciting opportunity for us and will add immensely to our efforts to bring the Gospel to the students of the U of M. Thanks be to God for His grace toward our congregation, for the new spirit of support and cooperation on the part of the MNS District leadership, and for this tremendous opportunity.
About once a week I eat lunch at the Purple Onion Cafe in Dinkytown, just a few blocks away from Luther House. Its a great place, filled with students and profs and other university types. When I go to the Onion I always bring along something to read – something theological – something that doesn’t have anything to do with the class I’m teaching or the sermon I’m working on – something to be read for its own sake. Lately that something has been Hermann Sasse’s Letters to Lutheran Pastors.
Today I was reading a letter Sasse, who had left Germany and was then serving as a professor of theology in Australia, wrote in 1950 entitled Ecclesia Migrans, “the wandering Church.” In this letter Sasse makes the point that all Christians are wanderers: “wandering through countries and continents, through nations and races, through civilizations and eras of human history” (Letters to Lutheran Pastors, Vol. 1, p.200). History, he argues, has shown this to be true. The Church thrives for a while in one locale, then migrates to another never to return to the first. And this, Sasse says, is not strange, but helps to illustrate the nature of the Church as a heavenly, rather than merely an earthly institution. He gets this concept of the wandering Church from the New Testament which describes the Church and her Christians as sojourners, as pilgrims, as citizens of another realm – “In the world, yet not of the world,” our Lord says.
And yet, because the Church is in the world, she puts down roots, albeit temporary roots, in it. How can the Church influence the world without doing so? While she has no abiding city (Heb. 13:14), she still is active in and dwells in the earthly city, and as long as faith abides in that city, remains there. One thing Sasse said struck me in particular in light of the trends of today that argue that Churches do not need to be attached to a particular place, or have property and buildings and such, in order to fulfill their mission (being “missional” is the current catch phrase). He said: “Nothing more clearly reveals the earnestness with which the Church of Christ carries out its commission to go ‘into the world’ and to work ‘in the world’ than the tenacity with which the Church endeavors to strike roots in a given district, nation, or locality. What a temptation it must have been for the primitive church, with its keen awareness of being the wandering people of God, to roam nomadically about the world and quickly pass on the Gospel to all people” (p.205).
And yet it was not a temptation to which the Church succumbed. The apostles went into the world and established congregations in the cities and locales they visited. Those congregations remained in place so long as faith in the Word and grace of Christ remained in those places. They received or purchased land. They built buildings – great buildings even! Sasse says: “the Church already in ancient times becomes possessed of landed interests. In the eyes of men, landed property becomes the most valued earthly possession of the Church. It is more than an aftereffect of a late-ancient and medieval framework of economy that churches today are still property owners; also that they make every effort to compensate for the great losses which they have suffered in this respect… Underlying this is not merely a lust for power but also the realization… that the Church can influence the world only when she actually enters into the world, as her Lord and Master did and as He expects His church to do…” (p.205-206). In other words, it is important for the church to claim a piece of this world to call her own, even if only for a while, to lay down shallow roots, to be landed and to build. Why? Because she has been put in the world to bring the grace of Christ into the world through her preaching and her liturgical and sacramental life in the world. Claiming a place is a natural part of bringing the Gospel to that place. And that mission is accomplished more easily when there is a particular place from which the Church can do it, and to which people may be drawn. The Church is meant to wander in place. Until that place will have her no more.
The place where ULC wanders in place is Dinkytown USA, adjacent to the University of Minnesota. Like the Purple Onion cafe, Dinkytown itself is a place full of students – not just Minnesotans, but students from all around the world – and full of profs and other university types too. It is a place where the students, the pastors, and the members of ULC, have confessed the Gospel since 1925. It is where we have chosen to lay down our roots while we wander this earth.
Sasse also says: “we are reminded that it was a great misunderstanding to suppose that our churches and our congregations would necessarily maintain their status quo unto Judgment Day. To be “in the world” certainly means to stand where God has placed us and to maintain our stand to the very end. But it does not mean that God could not allow the place were we stand to be smashed to bits” (p.208)
How well we know it!
And yet we do not for a minute believe that we have reached “the very end” of our stand in Dinkytown and at the University of Minnesota. What God has allowed to be smashed to bits, He is also, it appears, allowing to be rebuilt. The roots have been shifted only 1 ½ blocks away. Our wandering in this place is not quite over yet.
As we are nearing ground-breaking (likely this Fall!), I ask you to help us lay the roots a little deeper and Build-it-Back.
I first discovered University Lutheran Chapel after college graduation. Though I grew up in the metro area of Minneapolis, I went away for college in Nebraska and ended up returning home to find a job. Though I was originally from the area, I had lost contact with many of my old friends, and a lot of them had moved away. I felt like a transplant in a new city.
In my attempt to make some new friends I tried a variety of secular social activities, but desperately missed friends who understood my Lutheran outlook on the world. When I learned about ULC, I was so excited to go and meet people my age, who understood my values and beliefs. Sure enough, at my very first church service at ULC, another person invited me to sit with her and she is one of my closest friends now, six years later.
ULC is unique in their activities both inside and outside the sanctuary, but it’s what was outside the sanctuary that meant the most to me at that time in my life. Things like “Faith Goes to the Movies,” a movie night where we watch a movie and then discuss theological concepts, are refreshing for a young person to attend because they are theological and yet social, and help to cultivate strong friendships within the church. I would be a different person today if I hadn’t met my church family to walk through life with me, not only on Sundays. I’m further impressed by the fact that we live in an age where many churches sacrifice sound theology for the sake of “relating” to a younger generation. ULC is living proof that’s not necessary.
I can’t speak for every member, but for me, this is why I go to ULC. It’s easy to feel lost in the world today, or get caught up in daily life, but I have ULC to remind me about what’s most important and to continue to build friendships and learn more about Christ and his grace. University Lutheran Chapel will always be my home.