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Campus Ministry Update

February 04, 2021
Check out the latest updates from several more of our campus ministries – 
 
United Campus Ministry at Montana State University Billings continues to meet both in person and online. Coming together across differences defines our ministry. Last fall we hosted with Out and the Native American Achievement Center, a LGBT and Native Jeopardy night. Our Autism Club just hosted a karaoke night to kick off the spring semester. We bring in religious leaders including the imam and rabbi to campus to share their faith stories with our Table Talk program. This last election Agree to Disagree hosted respectful political conversations. That coming together was represented in UCM's participation in the Martin Luther King ceremony on our campus. In a time of social isolation with Covid, UCM works to build community at MSUB.
 
When the students at Montana State University were told not to come back to MSU after spring break last year, we stayed connected with our students with Zoom meetings, texts and calls. But in the fall, we began to meet again, in person.  We are blessed with a large campus ministry building with a tall A-frame roof, large windows and good ventilation, and with careful sanitizing, mask-wearing and social distancing, we’ve been able to safely (so far!) continue our ministry.  Our weekly meetings happen on Thursdays. (We call them, “TNT” for Thursday Night’s Together.) We provide a homemade dinner for the students, small group discussion time and quiet reflection and prayer time.

In a typical year, the group works once a month at the “Community Café”, a pay-as-you-can restaurant. The Café is closed, due to Covid, so this spring we will be making sack dinners, once a month, for the Bozeman homeless shelter guests.  In the fall we hosted an outdoor movie night on the lawn outside our building every Friday night, and we had a socially distanced retreat at a camp in the Gallatin Range.  Our spring break mission trip to Cuba was cancelled in 2020, but we are hoping to take a group of our students in August this year. As Covid cases continue to be a concern in 2021, we will continue to monitor and adjust our ministry to provide a safe and rich experience for our students.
 
The Foundation Campus Ministry at the University of Denver is a mainline Protestant ecumenical body, with participation from University Park United Methodist Church, Christ Church Episcopal Church, Abiding Hope Lutheran Church, and diocesan and conference support from each of those bodies. Like many of the campus ministries at DU, we’re in a rebuilding year due to the constraints of COVID. Three of our board members are ordained in our denominations and are available to meet with students and lead worship. We’ll be hiring student interns to facilitate our student outreach, and we’re redesigning our website to integrate our social media presence. In conjunction with the congregations represented on the board, we’ll be offering weekly service and social justice opportunities for students when we are allowed to return to meeting in person.

This Holy Week and Easter we’ll also be offering worship opportunities for small groups of students. In the event that we won’t be able to worship in small groups on campus, we are planning outdoor worship opportunities off campus for students who wish to participate. We’re also taking this opportunity to rewrite our board by-laws, defining the operations of our ministry more clearly so that we invite additional church participation. This year’s work will allow us to expand our presence in the DU Community in the next academic year, laying the groundwork for new and returning students over the summer as well as inviting graduate and international students to take part.

For further information, contact Andy Dunning at University Park UMC: adunning@uparkumc.org