As our campus ministry enters its sixty-fifth year, I suspect that there may be some who wonder if it is possible for it to continue to adapt to changing times. Chaplains have always played a significant role in campus ministries. To do that they have had to learn how to serve in situations that require a fluid ministry. That ability is being challenged in unprecedented ways during the COVID-19 pandemic. How does a chaplain maintain contact with students and serve them during a time when very few are on campus and classes will be held online?
Chaplaincy and other forms of campus ministry have responded creatively and lovingly to the challenges that confronted them in the past and there are signs that they will continue to do so. It will also continue to depend on those who are willing to invest some of their time, resources and energy to make it happen.
Some readers will have memories of ways that campus ministry touched their lives. Chaplains have been there for students who panicked over their workload and assignments, suffered a broken heart, got desperately homesick, or simply needed someone to listen to them and offer a bit of wise advice.
Campus ministry has fostered lifelong relationships, deepened faith or given birth to it, inspired some through conversations, chapel services and retreats. Chaplains who champion special causes have opened new horizons and purpose for others.
Providing adequate funding for campus ministry has always been a challenge. Hats off to those who find ways to make a go of it. The list of other ways of support is full of opportunities.
There are congregations who take time to offer hospitality to students. Some congregations make it possible for their pastor to serve as a part-time chaplain. Members of our church who are faculty and staff members befriend students and welcome them into their homes. Some campus ministries provide student housing.
The opportunities are there for those who seek them. In this time when many are wondering what’s next for their congregation or ministry, if campus ministry has not been part of your ministry, might this be time to consider how it might be?
As many of us wonder what the future might offer, Bishop Jason Zinko suggests a new way of viewing what’s next (p. 27). As they usually do, each of the other bishops also provide helpful insights for our lives and mission.
The Wet’suwet’en crisis in northern BC is part of an ongoing story of Indigenous rights. Practising Our Faith discusses how one congregation got involved in a small way (p. 9).
In Q & A (p. 15), claims about end times are explored from a biblical perspective.
Kenn Ward, Editor