Community by Macy Jaeger
Community. Often defined as a group of people who share something in common, their shared attributes and the strength of the connections
among them create a unique environment of similarities. When you're in college, you're a part of many communities. Your city, school, major, classes, dorm, and extracurriculars are just a few a student can count themselves a part of. For me, one of those communities throughout college has been church. Starting with a few tentative Wednesday dinners with Lutheran Campus Ministry after long hours of sports practice, it evolved into unfailing semiweekly attendances I fervently counted on to break up the hectic pace of college life. They offered me something I didn't have in my other communities, a sense of familiarity. The church has always had a constant presence in my lie and with the mix of feelings, new experiences, and unfamiliarity that comes with being new to college, it became a haven in a sea of uncertainty. Knowing that I could retreat to something I've been a part of my whole life, and something I was comfortable with, helped me to face everything else life was throwing at me. It was, I suppose, my rock.
Once I became more comfortable with college, being away from home, and had forged my own path, when I no longer needed to desperately cling to that rock- what kept me coming back? The people. The friends I have made through church, the bonds I have forged, the medley of fun activities, strange and funny conversations, the array of views of scripture, the unique backgrounds and personalities- they kept me coming back. These were people who didn't share my major, my classes, my hometown, not even my home state but they became some of my closest friends. They were my support system, my cheerleaders, my shoulder to cry on, and my siblings in faith. They say the church is the people of God, and it is so, so easy to see that in Lutheran and Episcopal Campus Ministries at NAU. I can't begin to think how different my college experience would have been without these people. I have learned so much about my faith and about myself these last three and a half years, and as I prepare to graduate in December, I can't help but be eternally grateful for these people and this organization God has placed in my life.
In essence, this has been a love letter of sorts to the campus ministry that has been such a large part of my college career. To Ken, my first campus chaplain, who saved me dinners when I came late, who hung my colored illustration from his book on his office wall, who taught from a background of such diverse denominations and beliefs- and to Brad, my current campus chaplain who enabled his students, encouraged (usually) chaotic discourse about lesser-discussed topics in the Bible, and who introduced me to the best tea shop in town, thank you.
This story was featured in LCM|Canterbury's Fall 2019 Newsletter.