2011 Annual Report

to the Board of  Higher Education and Campus Ministry
July 2010-June 2011

I. GOALS FOR THE 2010-2011 ACADEMIC YEAR

Image courtesy of wordle.net

This was our ninth year as a full-time United Methodist campus ministry at American University.  In this year, we hoped to create a culture of spiritual development, offer more service opportunities, create a culture of engagement in faith, use sermon series to attract seekers, and diversify expression in worship, particularly through the arts.

II. FAITHFUL CELEBRATION

Our worship life is the cornerstone of our life as a community. It is the main gathering for the community, the place in which we are reminded of the values of our common life together, and an important place of celebration and consolation.  Our worship continues to be vibrant and heavily driven by lay involvement.

A.    Sunday Night Worship

Regular weekly worship services are held in the Kay Spiritual Life Center chapel every Sunday evening during the semester at 7:00 p.m.  It is the only regular mainline Protestant worship service offered on campus.  The other Christian services on campus are Roman Catholic, Chi Alpha (Assemblies of God), and The Gathering (McLean Bible Church).

1. Attendance and Stability

In the 2010-2011 Academic Year, our Sunday attendance started off very strong and remained so throughout the year.  We ended the year with an average of 42, a 2.4% increase from 2009-2010 and the highest average attendance in our history.  In addition, our total numbers for the year were the highest they have ever been for both the Sunday services (1,387) and the healing service (631) representing 3.7% and 40.5% increases respectively over the previous year.

Attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was very high, in some cases the highest ever (indicated throughout this report by an asterisk (*)).  Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2010-2011 AY:  Ash Wednesday (n/a[1]); Palm Sunday (51); Maundy Thursday (37*); Good Friday (32); Easter Vigil (27*); Easter Sunrise (26*); and Easter Sunday worship (82).  Our good numbers this year were the result of a major outreach that we initiated using flyering, electronic billboard advertising, and signs on the quad listing all our Holy Week services and a Lenten sermon series designed to draw interest (see below).  High attendance may also have been due to the late date of Easter this year and the lack of travel home for many.

At the Bishop’s Day Apart in November, one of the speakers pointed out that attendance is not being defined by those who attend worship every week, but that many parishioners attend 3 out of 4 weeks of the month.  Thus, worship attendance is not always the most accurate reflector of the total size of the worshiping community.  This is certainly true in our case and I would estimate that while our average worship attendance is 42, the likely size of our total worshiping community is around 60.

2. Worship Committee

A worship committee has been in existence since fall 2004.  The worship committee is entirely student led in consultation with the chaplain.  The committee bases its work on the sermon outlines that I have prepared and the themes for the day.  In consultation with the musicians, the committee determines the hymns, it picks the prayers—in many cases writing the prayers—and other worship elements.  Average attendance at worship committee meetings: 5.

3. Sermon Series

In the fall semester, I offered a sermon series entitled “10 Things I Hate about Church” (a play on the film title “10 Things I Hate about You”) in which we explored things that people tend to believe about Christians and Christianity.  The topics included: Boring, Out of Touch, Homophobia, Judgmentalism, Intolerance, Hypocrisy, Sexist Language, Divisiveness, “Are You Saved?”, and Too Political.  Attendance was solid (average 44/week) throughout this series and it generated a lot of interest on campus.

In the spring semester, we had two sermon series: (1) Sharing Faith in a Pluralistic World, and (2) Lent and Easter with U2.  The former dealt with how one shares one’s faith in an interreligious context and looked at sharing through words, relationships, and actions (35/week).  The latter tied the Lenten lectionary readings to particular songs by the band U2 using the lyrics as reflection on the scripture and musical offering. There was a fair amount of interest in this series and it provided a novel dimension to our worship and music life. (42/week)

B. Thursday Night Healing Service

We have continued with our mid-week worship opportunity: a communion, prayer, and healing service held every Thursday night at 11:00 p.m. in the Kay Chapel.  In 2010-2011 the average attendance was 20, a 42.9% increase from 2009-2010 and is the highest such average on record.  The healing service represents real growth possibilities as its appeal becomes more widely known.

C. Other Services

  • In October 2010, I participated in a memorial service coordinated by the Philosophy and Religion Department in remembrance of Andrew Wolf, an AU alum killed on a bike trip across Canada. (40)
  • In November 2010, students reprised the Veterans Day “Remembrance Day” Vigil, placing 500 crosses and other markers on the quad in remembrance of the U.S. servicemen and –women who have died in the Iraq war.
  • In January 2011, members of the community participated in an interfaith anniversary commemoration of the Haiti earthquake, sharing prayers or reflections. The event was organized by the Caribbean Student Association and the University Chaplain. (55)
  • Ash Wednesday fell during the middle of spring break and thus a service did not take place this year.
  • In March 2011, our Thursday healing service was modified to be a more interfaith prayer service for the people of Japan. (32*).
  • We offered a baccalaureate service for the seventh year in a row.  We were again able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication. Attendance at the Baccalaureate was our highest yet: 165*.

III. FAITHFUL RELATIONSHIPS

A sense of community is vital to a healthy campus ministry and the community thrives when the relationships that make it up are nourished and supported.  Weekly fellowship opportunities (and weekly leadership opportunities that help to provide fellowship, such as the UMSA meeting) help to build a solid foundation for these vital relationships to thrive.  Of course, plenty of food is involved.

A. Weekly Meetings of the United Methodist Student Association

The United Methodist Student Association (UMSA) has a weekly leadership meeting.  This meeting is a key component of the community’s leadership development in that it develops leadership skills, teaches collaboration, and helps students to think productively and constructively.  Students involved in UMSA leadership number approximately 15, representing well over a third (35.7%) of those regularly attending worship.

B. Weekly Fellowship

Every week, we have a time of fellowship after Sunday services in the Kay Lounge, with refreshments and an opportunity to connect with one another. Average attendance: 35.

Fellowship remains strong following Sunday services and a weekly community lunch (Tuesdays in the Tavern) has also been a popular fellowship event.

1. Fellowship Dinners

Following on the practice established in 2006-2007, we continued occasional fellowship dinners following worship. We have had a number of fellowship dinners this semester, at times prepared by the students, at times prepared by local churches. We have had thirteen (13) dinners this academic year. Average attendance, about 40.  The fellowship dinners have also provided an important way of connecting with the local congregations.

C. Welcome Week

We began the 2010-2011 Academic Year with an active welcome week program consisting of a game night and ice cream social (co-sponsored with Chi Alpha) (21), nighttime tour of the Monuments (22*), participating in distributing cupcakes at a Kay event (400), a movie night (Up in the Air, 37), and s’mores (200).  Tied into this promotion were events during September such as, a beach party (60), a hike in the Rock Creek Park (20*).

D. Monthly Movie with the Methodists

The first Tuesday of the month is movie night.  The UMSA and the Chaplaincy sponsor a free showing with free pizza and snacks.  In the past year we showed Up in the Air, The Hurt Locker, The Book of Eli, Rent, Inception, 127 Hours, and Toy Story 3. Viewing of the film is always followed by an optional discussion in which we talk about the theological or philosophical issues addressed by each movie.  The movie nights are very popular and we often have attendees who would not otherwise participate in campus ministry related events. Average attendance: 22.

E. Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 17-18, 2010 at the Shenandoah cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge.  A record turnout of twenty seven (27*) students attended, with a number of freshmen participating.  In the spring of 2011, 10 students attended a planning and visioning retreat at West River Camp.

F. Fall Outings

Seven (7) students participated in a fall outing to Cox Farms in Centreville, VA.

G. Halloween Murder Mystery Party

A tradition revived from the old Protestant Community days, the party is organized by students and was held at Metropolitan Memorial UMC.  Participants are given roles to play and a crime to solve.  Attendance 35*.  The fall party was such a success it was reprised in the spring semester for April Fool’s Day.  Attendance: 30.

H. Other Fellowship Opportunities

  • Welcome Week programming, August 15-22, 2010
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, August 29, 2010 (45)
  • Fellowship Pizza dinner following worship, September 19, 2010 (40)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, September 26, 2010 (40)
  • Fellowship Dinner following worship provided by Dumbarton UMC, October 3, 2010 (45)
  • Outing to Dinner at Steak-n-Egg following the Healing Service, October 14, 2010 (8)
  • Fall Break Star Wars Movie Marathon Lock-In, October 15, 2010 (21)
  • Fellowship Chili Dinner provided by MMUMC, October 17, 2010 (30)
  • Fellowship Lasagna Dinner following Homecoming Service, October 24, 2010 (40)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (43)
  • UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 4, 2010 (17)
  • Fellowship Dinner with Potato Bar provided by MMUMC, December 5, 2010 (35)
  • “Hypothetical” Christmas Party, December 7, 2010 (27)
  • Fellowship pizza dinner following worship, January 9, 2011 (30)
  • Fellowship dinner following worship, January 30, 2011 (40)
  • Men’s Group dinner at MeiWah, February 18, 2011. (9)
  • Fellowship Dinner and Ice Cream Bar following worship, April 3, 2011 (32)
  • Fellowship Taco Dinner provided by MMUMC, April 10, 2011 (45)
  • Easter Dinner, prepared by students, April 24, 2011 (60*)
  • Senior Farewell Cookout, May 1, 2011 (40)
  • Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors to dinner at Lebanese Taverna, May 2, 2011, (10)

IV. FAITH DEVELOPMENT

The ability to wrestle with deep questions of faith and to explore the biblical and theological traditions of the church is a great gift of campus ministry.  There is a deep hunger among young adults to explore in meaningful ways the tradition that would have them participate in it.  And so, Bible studies, membership classes, discussion groups, book studies, and others are an essential part of our ministry on campus.

A. Baptism and Christian Initiation/Membership

Ms. Anne Lynch was received into membership in The United Methodist Church on Sunday, December 5, 2010 by transfer from the PCUSA.

B. Covenant Discipleship

We had two regular covenant discipleship meetings every week.  The CD groups were organized by our seminary interns.  The groups averaged 12 participants a week.

C. Practical Christianity

Jennifer Kinne (’12) and Carly Jones (’13) have continued to demonstrate great leadership in taking charge of our Practical Christianity program and have developed excellent study outlines and had a number of very successful weekly discussions. The decision to track along with the fall “10 Things I Hate about Church” sermon series and to use Martin Thielen’s book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still be a Christian, and a change in time from Sunday afternoons to Wednesday evenings generated a fair amount of interest such that the program saw an increased weekly attendance and a more committed base.  Average attendance: 7.

D. Bible Studies

1. “Badass” Stories of the Bible

Based on a list on a popular website of the Bible’s most “badass” verses, I led a semester long bible study on the more violent and perplexing stories in the Bible. Stories included Samson slaying 300 with the jawbone of a donkey, Elisha and the bears, Jael and Sisera, etc. Average attendance: 6.

2. Revelation

In the spring semester, I led a verse by verse exploration of the Book of Revelation with an exploration about the nature of apocalyptic literature and its meaning for today. Average attendance: 6.

3. How Does Jesus’ Death Save Us

During Holy Week, I led a special one-time Bible study on theologies of atonement.  Utilizing materials from The Thoughtful Christian and Biblical narratives, we explored this important Holy Week question. (12)

4. Bible Studies at Washington College of Law

I conducted occasional Bible studies at the Washington College of Law as a guest of the Christian Legal Society.

5. Summer Bible Study

In the summer of 2011, following on the success of the previous summers, there was a sizeable number of students remaining in town over the summer and an expressed desire for fellowship and study.  A weekly Bible study and dinner would run throughout June and July. Average attendance (as of June 2011): 12.

E. Glee and the Gospel

Beginning in the fall semester, one of our pastoral interns organized a weekly gathering to watch and discuss Glee at her apartment at Wesley Seminary. Average attendance: 6.

F. Book Studies

Cody Nielsen, one of our pastoral interns, led a number of book studies reflecting on important theological and religious questions, including The Unlikely Disciple and others. Average attendance: 6.

G. Self-Empowerment Group

Weekly group led by Meredith Hollingsworth (’13) looking at different ways that people experience empowerment and what often holds them back. Average attendance: 5.

H. Faith and Sexuality Seminars

A special two-part program co-developed with the University Wellness Center and led by one of the wellness counselors, using the “Our Whole Lives” curriculum specifically adapted to the needs of the students involved in the community. The program was judged by all to be a success and will be reprised in the fall. (12)

I. Interfaith Text Study

Along with Rabbi Ken Cohen, I co-led a weekly interfaith text study, examining Biblical texts and discussing different themes including suffering, atonement, evil, redemption, etc. Average attendance: 7.

J. Interfaith Dialogue

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy were founding presences in the Kay Interfaith Council, an interfaith body designed to promote communication and discussion among the various tenants of the Kay Spiritual Life Center. The campus ministry maintains a strong connection with the Interfaith Council and a number of students serve in leadership of the Council.

K. Conference Participants

Students also participated in a number of connectional ministries.  A number of our students continued leadership in various United Methodist student groups, including UMSM, RMN, and MoSAIC. One student, Carly Jones (’13), was appointed to serve as lay delegate at-large to the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference.

L. Counseling

As United Methodist chaplain, I have offered counseling services to the university and have counseled a number of students from within and without the community.  The UM community has developed a reputation as an open and affirming community, and that has translated into students coming for counseling who are from outside the community.

In the spring of 2011, I reprised a support group for graduating seniors.  Due to the smaller size of the senior class and a number of scheduling difficulties, it only met a couple of times.  It may be reprised as a post-graduate support group over the summer.  Average attendance: 2-3.

M. Discussions & Panels

  • Panel Discussion: Disaster Relief and the Individual, September 21, 2010 (7)
  • Discussion: Women In Church Leadership, October 20, 2010 (11)
  • Discussion: The Paycheck Fairness Act, Discussion and Debate, November 10, 2010 (41) (Cosponsored with the Roosevelt Institute).
  • Discussion and Revision of Reconciling Statement, November 14, 2010 (12)
  • Film & Discussion: Viewing of the documentary “Incompatible With Christian Teaching,” November 10, 2010 (10)
  • Film & Discussion: Viewing of film Rent as part of National AIDS Day, December 1, 2010 (15)
  • Discussion: Theology of Hate, co-sponsored by GLBTARC, AU Hillel, and University Chaplain’s office in wake of visit by Westboro Baptist Church, January 20, 2011 (34)
  • Hospitality and Worship Workshop, January 22, 2011 (17)
  • Interfaith Outing to St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral, January 22, 2011 (20)
  • I participated in a discussion sponsored by Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship on human trafficking. January 29, 2011 (26)
  • Interfaith Film & Discussion: viewing of “Arranged” and conversation about arranged marriages. February 24, 2011 (15).

N. Academic Instruction

Since the fall of 2006, I have been an adjunct professor in the Philosophy and Religion department, teaching a course entitled “Religious Heritage of the West”.  It is a general education course of about 40 students a semester.  This has offered me the opportunity to make connections in the classroom as well as in the chapel.

In the fall of 2010, I taught a course in New Testament, being offered for the first time in nearly a decade. 21 students were enrolled.

V. FAITHFUL SERVICE

Social justice and service, those Wesleyan ministries of “mercy”, remain very close to the heart of our community.  For many, our commitment to social justice is a key entry point into the community as they are attracted to our commitment to engage with the world and seek to know more about what it is that motivates us to do so.  The young adults in our community are intensely passionate about an active faith and a desire to transform the world.  Our commitment to justice and service is one of the cornerstones of our community identity and of our identity on the broader AU campus.

A. The Other Six Days

The most significant development in our social justice ministry was the creation of an ongoing ministry called “The Other Six Days” in the 2004-2005 Academic Year. The aim of this program is to connect particular Sunday worship with opportunities for education and service. Monthly themes for 2010-2011 included LGBT inclusion, the gender gap, disaster relief and response, water rights, indigenous rights, and social activism training.  In each month there was a dedicated worship service, a discussion or educational event, and a service opportunity. The educational opportunities included discussions, film screenings, and presentations.  Service projects (see below) included fundraising, letter writing, and other hands-on activities.

B. Social Justice Coordinators

Since spring 2004, we have had a social justice coordinator.  Originally an intern for one semester from the Washington Center, this position has been staffed by a student peer minister since the fall of 2004.  The Social Justice Coordinator organizes meetings of the social justice committee and plans the events for our “The Other Six Days” program.  Our social justice coordinators for 2010-2011 were Elise Alexander (’12), Ethan Goss (’13), and Caroline Marsh (’14).

C. Social Justice Committee

Students met weekly to discuss issues of social justice and our community response thereto. Average attendance: 5.

D. Social Advocacy Training

The UM Committee on Social Justice put together a two-hour program and workshop on how to be a better advocate for social justice.  Co-sponsored by the Community Action and Social Justice Coalition. (8).

E.    Service Projects and Events

  • In October 2010, students put together a panel to discuss the gender gap and how it applies in the church.  The conversation featured AU program director Mindy Hirsch, pastoral intern Meghan Roth, and Rev. Vivian McCarthy of the Baltimore-Washington Conference. (11)
  • In November 2010, students cosponsored a discussion with the Roosevelt Center on the Paycheck Fairness Act, featuring two noted scholars. (41)
  • November 2010, students placed our memorial vigil to the fallen soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the quad. (12)
  • In November 2010, students screened the film “Incompatible with Christian Teaching” about the current position of the UMC. (10)
  • In January 2011, the community helped to support the God Loves Poetry response to the Westboro Baptist Church’s planned protest of AU through the making of “blackout” poetry. (23)
  • In March 2011, students participated in a Fair Trade Ice Cream Social, co-sponsored by the AU Fair Trade Association. (8 UM, 20 Total)
  • In April 2011, students formed a team and participated in the Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research. (7)
  • In April 2011, students participated in the reading of names of victims of the Holocaust organized by the Jewish Student Association. (6)

F. Alternative Spring Break

In 2011, for our seventh time, we took a group of 11 to Cherokee, North Carolina for a week of service, reflection, and learning.  As before, we were guests of the Cherokee United Methodist Church.

G. Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

  • The UMSA participated in a number of events with other groups, including AU Hillel, The Roosevelt Institute, Students Against Cancer, Queers and Allies, the Fair Trade Association, the GLBTA Resource Center, and a number of social justice groups on campus.
  • Most notably, the United Methodist Community was a major presence during the University’s counter demonstration to the visit to campus by Westboro Baptist Church in January 2011. The United Methodist community was an early sponsor of the counter-demonstration, promoted the God Loves Poetry event, and distributed hundreds of cups of free hot chocolate to the students, faculty, and staff in attendance as a sign of God’s inclusive love.

VI. FAITH SHARING

The campus ministry community is committed to making its presence on the university campus known and making its mission clear to all.  In the past year, we adopted a revised mission statement: “Love God. Serve Others. Welcome All.” This mission statements summarizes well the key focuses of the community: faithful commitment to God, service and justice toward others, and a community of radical hospitality for everyone.  Understanding our mission guides the ways in which the community seeks to be known and seeks to have the gospel message known on the AU campus.

A. Website

The Chaplaincy has a website that it maintains at http://www.aumethodists.org.  The site contains information about the ministry, upcoming worship times, the weekly lectionary readings, and copies of past sermons.  Sermons are posted on our website at http://www.aumethodists.org/worship/sermons. This year the website was redone to allow student participation in contributing material and greater connectivity with social media. Students can also use the website to update their directory information, sign up for the Weekly E-pistle, indicate interest in various leadership positions, and participate in community polls. We have made arrangements through the General Council on Finance and Administration approved Vanco Services to receive online donations through the website.

B. Methodist Heritage Week

September 13-20, 2010, we reprised our week-long program of events and discussions about United Methodism.  Discussions included a discussion on Methodist history, and other learning opportunities.

1. Feed the Quad

We sponsored our annual free picnic and cookout for the AU Campus on September 16, 2010.  Approximately 300 people are served at these events, receiving AU UMC cups with our web address.  For the sixth year in a row, it took place during Methodist Heritage Week.

2. Demonstration of Wesley’s Preaching

Our chaplain dressed up as John Wesley and delivered the sermon “Catholic Spirit”.  A discussion followed.  (7)

3. Game Day/Crafts

On successive days, the UM community tented on the quad offering hospitality, games, crafts and other information about the community. (100)

C. Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2010 and added about 40 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list.  We had a larger number of materials available for students and their parents.

D. Club Fair and Tabling

The United Methodist Student Association had a table at the Campus Club Fair at which we distributed materials about the ministry, along with t-shirts, cups, lanyards and other materials. The UMSA also tabled in the campus center and offered hot chocolate on the quad during February. In addition, during winter finals as with previous years, I tabled in the Mary Graydon Center, offering “Spiritual Therapy Through Chocolate” and giving out free chocolates and other snacks to stressed out college students during finals.

E. Dorm Deacons

A number of students have volunteered to be Dorm Deacons, responsible for distributing flyers and other information in the dorms and for being contact persons for the community. (4)

F. Hospitality Ministry

  • Hospitality Coordinator: responsible for tabling on campus, greeting newcomers.
  • Students visit the dorm rooms of those who were visitors to church the previous Sunday, bringing cups with the UM community logo and website that are full of candy and information about the community
  • Formation of Hospitality Committee—a group of students who reflect on issues of hospitality and how our community can improve.  This “Hospitality Brigade” met a number of times during the year to prepare care packages to students during finals.  Our hospitality coordinator, Cassie Baker (’13), helped to organize a gift bag distribution to new students during the beginning weeks of school.

G. Study Breaks

  • Partnering with the Hillel Foundation and the University Chaplain’s office, the United Methodist Chaplaincy helped to establish a study lounge in the chapel for students to use during finals.  It was stocked with snacks and other refreshments.  (30+)
  • Pizza Dinner for Stragglers: Realizing that the Terrace Dining Room dining hall closes at 2 p.m. on the last day of exams, leaving students with nowhere to go for dinner on that day, we provided free pizzas to students as a gesture of hospitality. This year, we received co-sponsorship for the event from the Office of Campus Life. (160)
  • Provision of free chocolate during finals to stressed out students (see “Spiritual Therapy Through Chocolate” above).

H. Promotion and Marketing

  • We have continued with the dynamic marketing campaign utilizing minimalist ads and snarky messages from 2008-2009 that continue to be extremely successful in branding the community, raising the profile of the ministry, and in reaching out to students.
  • Placement of ads in electronic newsletters, chalking on quad, and flyers on university shuttle buses.
  • The campus ministry maintains a presence on Facebook and other online media and is developing a following on Twitter, used primarily to keep followers up to date with programming and events.

I. Participation in Interfaith Events

  • Participation in Interfaith Month and Interfaith Fortnight with open services designed to be accessible to visitors.
  • I served as one of the advisors to the Kay Interfaith Council and regularly participated its programs.

 

VII. LEADERSHIP & MENTORSHIP

All of the above ministries contribute to leadership development: training leaders in worship, service, justice, devotion, and evangelism.  However, there are ministry areas specifically devoted to leadership development per se.

A. Adopt-a-Freshman

For the past three years, our campus ministry has had a program pairing incoming freshmen with an upperclassman who shares interests and background.  These connections help to provide a sense of community and to make the freshman transitions to college life easier.

B. Vocational Discernment

I regularly met with students to discuss vocational discernment and to help them reflect on future plans.  In the coming year, we hope to expand this to pairing students with members of the community at large who are already at work in the students’ chosen fields and who can give particular mentorship, especially as their vocations relate to their faith. We have begun to take steps toward the creation of a Center for Religion and Civic Life at AU.  The first stage, which will likely be implemented in the fall of 2011, involves vocational mentoring and social justice engagement.  We have received a $10,000 grant from the General Board of Church and Society as seed money to start the program.  Once the funds are disbursed, we can begin this program in earnest. (See www.aumethodists.org/crcl for more information).

VIII. GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

Hoping to build upon the accomplishments of the past year, as a community we have identified a number of goals for the year ahead.

A. Increase Connectional Engagement

In 2011-2012, we hope to build upon the good work we have done with Metropolitan Memorial UMC and build strong relationships with other local congregations as well as with other connectional ministries of the Church: UMCOR, GBCS, BWC Young Adult Council, etc.

B. Continue to Increase Service Opportunities

Last year we determined that we needed more “hands on” opportunities for service beyond our customary social justice witness.  This year saw the addition of a number of service opportunities and we hope to expand that aspect of the community in the coming year.

C. Develop a Culture of Engagement in Faith

We hope to continue to assist American University in exploring the intersections of faith and public life.  The pilot programs for the creation of a Center for Religion and Civil Life as a joint venture of the UMC and AU are already underway.  In 2011-2012, we hope to initiate the vocational mentoring program and further flesh out the academic side to the Center.

D. Develop Sermon Series Designed to Appeal to Seekers and Skeptics

Following up on the examples provided by the fall sermon series of the last three years, we plan to have a number of sermon series in 2010-2011 that will attract non-religious or nominally religious students to come to our fellowship.

E. Add More Arts to Worship

Students have expressed a desire to add more arts to worship, including visuals and drama as an effort to maintain passion and energy in worship and engage the tradition in exciting new ways.

We hope to follow the strong showing we have made this year and expect to continue to grow our presence, outreach and the number of opportunities available to explore faith on the AU campus.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark A. Schaefer
United Methodist Campus Minister
American University


[1] Ash Wednesday fell in the middle of Spring Break this year and as a result the service did not take place.