Annual Reports

This is a collection of the annual reports submitted by our Chaplain over the years.

2009 Annual Report

to the Committee on Higher Education and Campus Ministry
July 2008-June 2009 (as of January 2010, with supplement for fall 2009)

I. GOALS FOR THE 2008-2009 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our seventh year being as a full-time United Methodist campus ministry at American University. In this year, we hoped to continue to foster ministries of spiritual discipline and development, through the increase in the number of small groups and student led Bible studies. We also hoped to continue the trend we have begun in fostering Christian leaders. We were in large part successful in these endeavors. We also initiated a very successful marketing and outreach campaign.

II. FAITHFUL CELEBRATION

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 2008-2009 Academic Year, we followed up on our practice from the previous years of a vigorous presence at Welcome Week. Our Sunday attendance started off very strong and ended with a year average of 36, a 5% increase from 2007-2008 and a tie with 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 (1191) and the healing service (362) representing 5% and 35% increases respectively over the previous year.

Attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was very high, in some cases the highest ever (indicated by an asterisk (*)). Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2008-2009 AY: Ash Wednesday (35); Palm Sunday (50); Maundy Thursday (23); Good Friday (33*); Easter Vigil (15); Easter Sunrise (12); and Easter Sunday worship (65*). 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.

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 the chaplain has prepared and the themes for the day. In consultation with the musicians, the committee determines the hymns, it picks the prayers and other worship elements. It has been a remarkable instrument for getting student involvement in the worship life of the community. Students have continued the tradition of writing the prayers that are used in our Sunday worship and Thursday healing services, adding a whole new level of student involvement in our worship.

3. Sermon Series

I offered a sermon series in the fall entitled “The Seven Words You Can’t Say in Church” that explored topics that Christians either do not address or that Christians are expected to deal with in a particular way. It included such topics as evolution, intolerance, abortion, sex, politics, death, and the sacred feminine. In the spring semester, I offered a sermon series entitled “It’s just like Facebook, only real” exploring issues of relationship, status, and friendship. A sermon series for Lent was offered called “Christianity 101” that covered topics of forgiveness, salvation, and repentance.

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 2008-2009 the average attendance was 12, a 33% increase from 2007-2008.

C. Other Services

Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated by the Catholic chaplain’s office and consist of a noon and evening mass and ecumenical services at the law school and the Kay Chapel. In 2008-2009, the service at the law school conflicted with the Catholic noon mass and so I conducted it by myself. In addition, for the fifth year in a row, we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist-Protestant students unable to make the earlier services. Attendance: 35.

In previous years we had coordinated a Remembrance Day service on Veteran’s Day at which we read the names of the US servicemen and women who have died in Iraq. Attendance was always disappointingly low at this service, even if those who attended did appreciate the opportunity. I decided that a more visible memorial was required and so instead of a name reading service, we made 4,200+ small wooden crosses and other markers for people of other faiths and placed them on the quad in the fashion of a battlefield cemetery. Signs were placed on the edges explaining the vigil and listing the names of the fallen.

We offered a baccalaureate service for the fifth year in a row. We were again able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication. Attendance was lower than in previous years, but still good: 80 attendees. This was likely due to the change of the commencement schedule, and the moving of our service from Saturday afternoon, after the honors convocation, to Friday evening.

Our community organized a remembrance of the September 11 attacks as part of our Thursday night healing service. Ours was the only remembrance of September 11 th on campus. Attendance: 19.

III. FAITHFUL RELATIONSHIPS

A. 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.

Every Thursday during the year, we had a weekly Community dinner in the Tavern. Often, a second weekly dinner took place following the weekly fellowship on Sunday evenings.

1. Fellowship Dinners

Following on the practice established in 2006-2007, we continued occasional fellowship dinners following worship. Some were cooked by the students, others were pizza dinners, and others were cooked by local congregations. Average attendance was about 35-40 per meal.

B. Welcome Week

We began the 2008-2009 Academic Year with an active welcome week program consisting of a game night and ice cream social (co-sponsored with Chi Alpha) (40), stump the chaplains game (35), participated in distributing cupcakes at a Kay event (400), and a movie night ( Juno , 120), and s’mores (200*). Tied into this promotion were events during September such as a kickball game (15), a beach party, a hike in the Rock Creek Park (17*). Our attendance numbers were the highest they had ever been for a Welcome Week program.

C. Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 Charlie Wilson’s War, The American President, Stop-loss, Wall-E, On the Waterfron, Milk, and Doubt. 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.

D. Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 19-20, 2008 at the Shenandoah cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge. Nineteen (19) students attended, with a number of freshmen participating. In the spring of 2009, 11 students attended a planning and visioning retreat at Camp Manidokan.

E. Fall Outings

We reprised our fall outing to Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia. Attendance: 13.

F. Halloween Murder Mystery Party

A tradition revived from the old Protestant Community days, the party is organized by students. Participants are given roles to play and a crime to solve. Attendance 20.

G. Quad Sitting Ministry

A ministry of hospitality and fellowship: the chaplaincy provided blankets for sitting on the quad, extension cords for laptops, and free snacks and sodas. Students would use the opportunity to study in the fresh air. A dozen or more students took advantage of the opportunity.

H. Other Fellowship Opportunities

  • Welcome Week programming, August 17-24, 2008
  • Women’s Group Outing: Picnic on the Mall, October 18, 2008 (10)
  • Game Night, October 17, 2007 (7)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (45)
  • UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 6, 2008 (10)
  • Senior Dinner for December Graduates, December 8, 2008 (9)
  • “Hypothetical” Christmas Party, December 9, 2008 (25)
  • Dinner & Ice-Skating, January 25 (10)
  • Superbowl Watching Party, February 1, 2009 (8)
  • Methodist Mardi Gras: Shrove Tuesday party with pancakes, etc. (15)
  • UMSA Talent Show, March 29, 2009 (21)
  • Easter Dinner, April 12, 2009 (45)
  • Annual Eat at Joe’s Cookout (at my house), April 26 (16)
  • Baseball Outing, Nationals v. Cardinals (10)
  • Bike Ride Study Break, May 2, 2009 (5)
  • Cookout after Senior Farewell Service, May 3 (40)
  • Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors to dinner at Lebanese Taverna, May 6, 2009, (9)
  • Summer Bike Ride, June 27 (6)

IV. FAITH DEVELOPMENT

A. Baptism and Christian Initiation

Ms. Carrie Johnson was received into membership in The United Methodist Church on October 26, 2008 by profession of faith. Ms. Michelle Dromgold was received into membership of The United Methodist Church on November 20, 2008 at our healing service by transfer from Messiah Lutheran in Rochester, NY.

B. Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week. The CD group was organized by our a student and one of our seminary interns.

C. Practical Christianity

In the fall of 2008, one of our freshmen, a young woman named Jennifer Kinne showed great leadership in taking charge of this program and has developed excellent study outlines and had a number of very successful discussions, which she did throughout the year, often following the themes of the Sunday worship. Average attendance: 5.

D. Bible Studies

1. Scripture with Fries and a Soda

Every week, the chaplain led a weekly Bible study in the Tavern called “Scripture with Fries and a Soda” covering texts like Revelation, Romans, and others. This program continued in Fall 2008 and served as the membership class for the two young women who joined the UMC in the Fall Average attendance: 4.

2. Methodism 101

I provided a weekly course in the history, theology, beliefs, and practices of United Methodism. It was made available to those seeking to join The United Methodist Church and those simply interested in learning more about United Methodism. It served as the membership class for those who became members in 2008. This program continued in Fall 2008 and served as the membership class for the two young women who joined the UMC in the Fall.

3. Bible Studies at Washington College of Law

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

4. Summer Bible Study

In the summer of 2009, following on the success of the previous summer, 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: 6.

E. Women’s Group

Beginning in the Spring 2007 semester, a number of young women decided to form a Women’s Group to study scripture, support one another, and reflect upon the meaning of being a young woman of faith. This group continued throughout the 2008-2009 Academic Year. Average attendance: 5-6.

F. Simple Living Group

In the fall of 2008, students began a “Simple Living” group in which they covenanted to reduce consumption, be more sustainable in their choices, and reflect on their Christian faith as it related to their material living. The group met weekly for dinner and discussion. (6)

G. Interfaith Dialogue

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

H. Conference Participants

Two of our students attended Student Forum in May 2009. Students also participated other connectional ministry. A number of our students continued leadership in various United Methodist student groups, including UMSM, RMN, and MoSAIC.

I. Counseling

The United Methodist chaplain has offered counseling services to the university and has counseled a number of students from within and without the community. In contrast with a number of other ministries on campus, 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, but who believe they are likely to be better received there than in their own.

Because of the high number of December graduates (8), the chaplain reprised the group again in November and December of 2008. In the spring of 2009, the chaplain reprised a support group for graduating seniors.

J. Discussions & Panels

  • Film & Discussion: Chocolate City , dealing with issues of gentrification (7)
  • An Evening with Judy Shephard: The UMSA co-sponsored a Kennedy Political Union event wherein Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was murdered in a hate crime, spoke on issues of hatred and bigotry. (300)
  • Film & Discussion: For the Bible Tells Me So , as part of the community’s Reconciling weekend.
  • Panel Discussion on the UM Position on Abortion: 9
  • Discussion on Majority White Institutions and Historically Black Colleges at Foundry UMC (with Howard U) (13).
  • Discussion: “Public Education in the District”. Mary Levy from the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights came to lead a discussion on education in DC. Attendance: 8.
  • Discussion: Domestic Violence Awareness. Led by alum Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger from the DC Rape Crisis Center. (20)
  • Film & Discussion: Invisible Children –Screening of the film to raise awareness. (5)
  • “Passion Week” “Last Supper” Dinner. The Christian communities shared in a dinner and discussion on the different understandings of the Eucharist. (55)

K. 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. Beginning in the fall of 2010, I will also be teaching a course in New Testament, being offered for the first time in nearly a decade.

V. FAITHFUL SERVICE

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 2008-2009 included gentrification, abortion, consumerism, literacy, domestic violence, and corporate responsibility. 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 Intern

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 2008-2009 were Kurt Karandy (’11) and Kristen Walling (’10).

C. Social Justice Committee

Students met weekly to discuss issues of social justice and our community response thereto.

D. Service Projects

  • In September 2008, the Committee on Social Justice presented a film and discussion on gentrification. (7)
  • In October 2008, student participated in an accountability meeting with the city leadership organized by the Washington Interfaith Network for affordable housing. (6)
  • In November students cosponsored an event on consumerism helping students to live sustainably in the dorms and to make sustainable choices in holiday shopping. A clothing swap was included. (19)
  • In November 2008, students participated in the Help the Homeless Walk ($105.00) (7)
  • In partnership with the Muslim Student Association, students made scarves for the homeless (18).
  • Students organized a campaign to get the university to reconsider its contract with Coca Cola because of that company’s poor environmental and labor rights record.
  • In March, students prepared a meal for the women at Calvary Women’s Shelter. (6)
  • In April, students distributed free sodas on the quad in furtherance of their anti-Coke campaign.

E. Alternative Spring Break

In the 2003-2004 academic year, our ministry added an Alternative Spring Break program. Based upon a similar program at Howard University, we planned a week of service and learning in Cherokee, North Carolina. Interest in the program for the spring of 2009 was up again and we took a group of 14 to Cherokee again for a week of service, reflection, and learning.

F. Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

  • Students participated in the university’s “Take Back the Night” program. The Chaplaincy supported the event by providing chaplain coverage for students who needed to talk or counseling during the evening’s events.
  • The UMSA participated in a number of events with other groups, including EcoSense, Queers and Allies, the GLBTA Resource Center, and a number of social justice groups on campus.

VI. FAITH SHARING

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/sermons.

Students can also use the website to update their directory information and participate in community polls.

For the past three and a half years, we have had arrangements through Network for Good to receive online donations, through which visitors to our website can make online at no cost to us.

B. Methodist Heritage Week

September 16-21, 2008, we reprised our week-long program of events and discussions about United Methodism. Discussions included a discussion on Methodist history, a discussion on the reconciling movement in the church, and other learning opportunities.

1. Feed the Quad

We sponsored our annual free picnic and cookout for the AU Campus on September 16, 2008. Approximately 300 people are served at these events, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address. For the fourth 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 “The Catholic Spirit”. A discussion followed. (8)

3. Social Justice Film

As part of MHW, we screened the film Chocolate City about gentrification in Washington.

C. Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2008 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, 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.

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 schedule 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.

G. Study Breaks

  • Partnering with the Hillel Foundation and the University Chaplain’s office, the chaplain helped to establish a study lounge in the chapel for students to use during finals. It was stocked with snacks and other refreshments. (30+)
  • The chaplain and some of the staff from Hillel prepared pancakes and provided juice for students at a midnight study break during spring semester finals. Over 200 people were served.
  • Provision of free chocolate during finals to stressed out students

H. Promotion and Marketing

  • A dynamic and new marketing campaign utilizing minimalist ads and snarky messages has been extremely successful in branding the community, raising the profile of the ministry, and in reaching out to students. Community members are constantly being told by members of the broader community how much they like our signs. They have been very effective in communicating the United Methodist community as a community of openness, inclusiveness, love, and grace. (Some samples are attached).
  • Placement of ads in electronic newsletters, chalking on quad, quartersheet mailings to campus mailboxes.
  • The campus ministry maintain a presence on Facebook and other online media.

I. Participation in Interfaith Events

  • Participation in Interfaith Month and Interfaith Fortnight with open services designed to be accessible to visitors.
  • The chaplain served as an advisor to the Kay Interfaith Council and regularly participated its programs.

VII. MISCELLANEOUS

A. Awards and Recognitions

I was awarded the Faculty Staff Recognition Award by the GLBTA Resource Center in the Spring of 2009. This follows the community itself receiving an award for excellence from that same office. Both awards are testimony to the great efforts this community has made to be open and welcoming to all people.

VIII. GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A. Continue Create a Culture of Spiritual Development

In 2009-2010, we hope to continue to try to develop ministries of spiritual discipline and development. We would like to continue to build greater resources for spiritual development.

B. Create a Culture of Engagement in Faith

One of the long-range goals of the community is to assist American University in exploring the intersections of faith and public life. We hope to help along a process of exploration of the ways that people of faith can turn their faith into action, and that people concerned with social justice can mine the depths of the theological and religious traditions. This is an important element of vocational discernment and of effective social change for the transformation of lives.

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

2004 Annual Report

to the Committee on Higher Education and Campus Ministry
Academic Year 2003-2004 (modified February 2006)

I.  GOALS FOR THE 2003-2004 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our follow-up year being a full-time United Methodist campus ministry on the American University campus.   Our primary goal during this first year was to raise the profile of the United Methodist presence on the campus and to create a dynamic and stable community of faith available to AU students.   In our second year (2003-2004), we hoped to define that raised profile as a community committed to a radical inclusiveness and with a solid identity.   To a large extent, these goals were met.

II.  WORSHIP

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.

1.  Attendance and Stability

We made great strides in 2002-2003 in terms of attendance.   Unfortunately, we were not able to follow up on that in 2003-2004.   A number of efforts were made to change this trend, but it remained largely the same throughout the year.   Our average attendance in 2002-2003 was 26.   In 2003-2004 our average attendance was 23.

While our attendance during Holy Week was still high, and higher than it had been in years before the full-time ministry, the other Sundays of the year were lower overall in attendance. We did learn that we were not alone in this plight.   A number of other groups on campus reported lower than usual numbers and a dearth of freshmen.   We noted very few freshmen at our regular events.

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.   This represents a time change from the previous year’s time of 10:45 p.m.   Our average weekly attendance for the 2003-2004 academic year was 8 people.

In 2003-2004, in response to a request from my board to make faculty and staff a part of our outreach, we offered a Tuesday mid-day communion service.   It averaged 6 in attendance, including the chaplain, the accompanist and the pastoral intern.   After 8 weeks, we shut it down.

C.  Other Services

The UM chaplain participated in a number of special services on campus this year, including a September 11th Commemoration services on the main campus.

Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated by the Catholic chaplain’s office and consist of a noon and evening mass and ecumenical services at the law school and the Kay Chapel.   This year, for the first time in recent memory, we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist/Protestant students unable to make the earlier services.   Attendance: 27.

D.  Summer Services

Summer services are not usually offered during the summer months.   However, in response to some student interest and the fact that we now have a full-time UM chaplain, we offered some summer services in the summer of 2003.   Like the Tuesday mid-day services, they were a failure and we scrapped the idea not long after it began.

III.  SOCIAL JUSTICE

A.  Alternative Spring Break

In the 2003-2004 academic year, our ministry added an Alternative Spring Break program.   Based upon a similar program at Howard University, we planned a week of service and learning in Cherokee, North Carolina.   We had 16 students participate in the program, staying at Cherokee UMC and working during the day at Cherokee Challenge, a leadership program for Cherokee youth.   We were able to meet members of the community, participate in a sweat lodge ritual, and to explore the town.   It was a very successful program and we expect to reprise it in 2005.

B.  Social Justice Intern

In the spring 2004 semester, we welcomed Ms. Laura Peck as our social justice intern.   A senior at Hanover College in Indiana, she worked with us via the Washington Center.   She set up a social justice discussion group, was instrumental in helping to plan our The Other Six Days ministry, and assisted in finalizing details for our Alternative Spring Break.   In August, she began studies at Wesley Seminary (this development itself being a consequence of her work with us).

C.  Other events

The United Methodist community organized and co-sponsored an interfaith vigil against hate crimes on October 16, 2003 on the fifth anniversary of the death of Matthew Shephard.

IV.  EDUCATIONAL & DISCIPLESHIP OPPORTUNITIES

A.  Baptism and Christian Initiation

We were happy to welcome Jessica Dillon into membership in The United Methodist Church.   Jessica joined in March 2004.

B.  Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week.   The CD group in 2003-2004 was organized by our pastoral intern from Wesley Seminary, Scott Manning .

C.  Wednesday Afternoon Bible Studies

Every Wednesday afternoon in the Davenport Coffee Lounge, students and the chaplain meet to discuss the lectionary text for the week in a devotional setting.

D.  Friday Chaplain’s Study

Friday afternoons at 1 pm, the Chaplain continues his in-depth text study.

E.  Interfaith Dialogue

On September 11, 2003, the United Methodist Chaplaincy co-sponsored an event with the Muslim Student Association hosting the screening of a Vital Visions film, “Islam in America” and a discussion following it.

In February 2004, the United Methodist Community sponsored an interfaith screening of “The Passion of the Christ” at a local theater.   A group of 17 Christians and 14 Jews saw the film and then gathered at the chaplain’s apartment for a discussion that went until about 2 a.m.   The UM Chaplain also participated in a panel discussion in the dormitory alongside the Catholic, Jewish, and Assemblies of God Chaplain about the film.

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

F.  Conference Participants

One of our students attended Student Forum in Arkansas in May 2004, as well as a student from George Washington University who is part of our extended family.   In addition, we had a number of students who attended the NEJ conference in both Fall 2003 and 2004.

V.  COUNSELING

The United Methodist chaplain has offered counseling services to the university and has counseled a number of students from within and without the community.   In contrast with a number of other ministries on campus, 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, but who believe they are likely to be better received there than in their own.

VI.  SOCIAL EVENTS & FELLOWSHIP

A.  Student Night at Camden Yards

On September 19, 2003, we took 25 students to Camden Yards on $5 student night to watch the Blue Jays-Orioles game, and followed up the following year on September 10, 2004 for the Yankees-Orioles game.

B. Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 and a half   we showed Bowling for Columbine, American History X, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Christmas Story, Cider House Rules, Bruce Almighty, and Rat Race. Viewing of the film is always followed by a 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.

C.  Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 12-13, 2003 at the cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge in the Shenandoah.   As indicated above, freshman participation in 2003-2004 was low and not a single freshman participated in that year’s retreat.

D.  Fall Outings

We had a fall outing to Cox Farms in Centerville, Virginia.   The outing involves hay rides, petting zoos, and large slides and other fun things to do.

E.  Pancake Study Break

On the first night of the two-day pre-exam study period for both fall and spring semesters, the United Methodist Community, along with other ministries on campus, participated in a pancake study break coordinated by the University Chaplain.   We helped to cook pancakes for nearly 300 hungry students from 11 pm to 2 am.

VI.  OUTREACH & MARKETING

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://archives.aumethodists.org/worship/sermons/. Students can also use the website to update their directory information and participate in community polls.

For the past year and a half, we have had arrangements through Network for Good to receive online donations, which visitors to our website can make online through the services of that non-profit organization at no cost to us.

B.  Feed the Quad

We sponsored our annual free picnic and cookout for the AU Campus in the fall on September 24, 2003.   An average of 350 people are served at these events, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address.

C.  Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2003 and added an average of 45 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list.   We have 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 cross-shaped keychains and ‘Flaming Cupcakes’ (hostess cakes with a candle stuck in them).   “Flaming Cupcake” is the nickname of the Kay Spiritual Life Center, a round building with a flame on the roof.   The UMSA also tabled in the campus center and offered hot chocolate on the quad during February.

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.

VII.  ECUMENICAL AND INTERFAITH RELATIONS

As part of the United Methodist campus ministry’s stewardship of the main Protestant worship service on campus, we help to promote and facilitate events and programs for the other Protestant ministries on campus.   We have helped to promote the Baptist Student Fellowship’s Non-Violence Workshop, Episcopal communion services, Episcopal discussions, and a Baptist presentation of a Non-violence documentary.

The United Methodist Chaplain was also instrumental in drafting a Joint Statement of the Chaplains of the Kay Spiritual Life Center in Response to the War on Iraq, which was released after that war started and published in the University newspaper The Eagle .

VIII.  GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A.  Provide and Alternate Christian Voice to the Political Conversation

The United Methodist community has been successful in providing a community for worship and reflection for the campus and has built a strong social justice ministry.   In the coming year, I hope to help the community articulate and witness to a Christian faith that is not only pious and active, but that is committed to its issues as moral issues and valuesissues.   Many on the left are suspicious of religion, and many on the right are convinced they have occupied the field on matters of morality.   It is my hope that our campus community can give a powerful Christian voice to issues of social holiness and morality in the Wesleyan tradition.

B.  Partnerships with other Campus Groups

Our “The Other Six Days” program developed for the 2004-2005 academic year will provide us not only with the opportunity to explore diverse issues, but also to find natural allies on those issues among existing groups on campus.   (For example, partnering with the Women’s Initiative when focusing on domestic violence next spring). We hope to partner with these groups as we seek to relate these issues to Christian faith.

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

2003 Annual Report

to the Committee on Higher Education and Campus Ministry
May 15, 2003

I. GOALS FOR THE 2002-2003 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was the inaugural year for a full-time United Methodist campus ministry on the American University campus. Our primary goal during this first year was to raise the profile of the United Methodist presence on the campus and to create a dynamic and stable community of faith available to AU students. As described below, I believe that both of these goals have been achieved.

II. WORSHIP

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.

1. The Inherited Situation

A number of changes were made regarding the shape and character of our Sunday evening worship. In years past, the Sunday evening worship time was known as Protestant Worship and the community that met as the Protestant Community. One of the hallmarks of this worship was a rotating preaching schedule among the chaplains. Each service would vary from week to week in terms of the quality and consistency of the preaching. In addition, there was great variation in the relative involvement of the chaplains, for some of whom, their day to preach was their first (and often only) encounter with the congregation. Sense of continuity from week to week was greatly lacking and the community’s stability was often difficult to maintain.

This was often compounded by the fact that there was not a cohesive community identity. The word “Protestant” was insufficient to help form group identity or to market that identity to the rest of the campus community.

2. United Methodist Leadership

The United Methodist Chaplaincy has taken ownership of and responsibility for the protestant Sunday night worship and the preaching schedule is coordinated through our office. The services were re-christened “United Methodist Ecumenical Protestant Worship” and the community as the “United Methodist Ecumenical Protestant Community.” The United Methodist chaplain preaches at least 13 Sundays out of 16 a semester and has restricted the rotation to those chaplains who have an ongoing and consistent relationship with our student congregation. Consistency in preaching has helped to build consistency in community.

3. Increased Attendance and Stability

The net result has been that we have seen a much more stable congregational life. In previous years, attendance would drop off to lower levels by the end of the year. In 2002, the weekly attendance by the end of the spring semester was around 10-12. This year, our final service of the semester saw an attendance of 29, above our average attendance for the year, 26.

In previous years, attendance over the Easter holiday was often low, often as low as 6-10 people, given the number of students who would return home for the holiday. This year saw Easter Sunday attendance at 32, with an additional 13 present at a 6:30 am sunrise service. In addition, we added Holy Thursday and Good Friday services with attendances of 16 and 33 respectively.

4. Community Identity

There is a much more solid community identity, which the United Methodist affiliation has only helped. We have helped to give a visible and consistent identity to the campus ministry, and despite our explicit denominational affiliation, we have not noticed any drop off in non-United Methodist participation. In fact, the newly elected president of the United Methodist Student Association is American Baptist, replacing her UCC predecessor. The newly elected vice-president is Roman Catholic.

Throughout the year, the UM community has managed to increase its visibility and profile on campus and is poised to increase in its ability to minister to the American University campus.

B. Thursday Night Healing Service

Beginning this academic year, we instituted a new, mid-week worship opportunity: a communion, prayer, and healing service held every Thursday night at 10:45 p.m. in the Kay Chapel. Our average weekly attendance for the 2002-2003 academic year is 10 people.
The time of the healing service was scheduled for 10:45 p.m. because that is ten minutes after the last class on Thursdays. We are planning to move the healing service back 15 minutes to 11 p.m. in the fall.

C. Other Services

The UM chaplain participated in a number of special services on campus this year, including September 11th Commemoration services on the main campus and the law school, and a memorial service for Valerie Batrony, a freshman who died over the Christmas break.
Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated by the Catholic chaplain’s office and consist of a noon and evening mass and ecumenical services at the law school and the Kay Chapel. This year, for the first time in recent memory, we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist/Protestant students unable to make the earlier services. Attendance: 27.

We coordinated an Interfaith Prayer service of Prayers for Peace in a Time of War, held at 11:45 p.m. on March 6. The event was scheduled to take place after our regular healing services and to extend into the following day, March 7, the World Day of Prayer.

D. Summer Service

Summer services are not usually offered during the summer months. However, in response to some student interest and the fact that we now have a full-time UM chaplain, we are planning on offering services on a part-time basis in June and full-time in July.

III. EDUCATIONAL & DISCIPLESHIP OPPORTUNITIES

A. Baptism and Christian Initiation

We were happy to welcome Brittany Brandt into Christian baptism and membership in The United Methodist Church. Brittany was baptized in December on the first Sunday in advent.

B. Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week. The CD group was organized by our pastoral intern from Wesley Seminary, Scott Manning.

C. Tuesday Night Bible Studies

Every Tuesday night, students and chaplains meet to discuss the lectionary text for the week in a devotional setting.

D. Friday Interfaith Text Study

Friday afternoons at 3 pm, we have continued our combined Jewish-Christian Bible Study in the campus center tavern. This year we studied Daniel and apocalyptic.

E. Interfaith Dialogue

On October 22, 2002, the United Methodist Chaplain participated in an interfaith question-and-answer session in the Anderson residence hall with the Catholic and Muslim chaplains.
The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

F. Conference Participants

Two of our students attended Exploration 2002 in Chicago, November 15-17, and three of our students will attended Celebrate 2002 in December. One of our students will be going to Student Forum 2003 in Pennsylvania.

IV. COUNSELING

The United Methodist chaplain has offered counseling services to the university and has counseled a number of students from within and without the community. In contrast with a number of other ministries on campus, 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, but who believe they are likely to be better received there than in their own.

V. SOCIAL EVENTS & FELLOWSHIP

A. Pizza Welcome

We began the semester with a pizza party immediately following our first worship service of the semester. In the future, we will be offering such pizza dinners not only to new students, but to all the United Methodist scholarship recipients as a way of reaching out to those who should naturally have connection with our community.

B. Student Night at Camden Yards

On September 20, 2002, we took 20 students to Camden Yards on $5 student night to watch the Red Sox-Orioles game (Red Sox won 3-1).

C. Monthly Methodist Movie Night

The first Tuesday of the month is movie night. The UMSA and the Chaplaincy sponsor a free showing with free pizza and snacks. This year we showed John Q, Keeping the Faith, Shawshank Redemption, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Siege, Michael, and The Matrix. Viewing of the film is always followed by a 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.

D. Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 13-14 at the cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge in the Shenandoah. Our spring retreat was eventually scaled back into an evening outing in downtown Washington, and included dinner, a movie, and snacks and discussion at the chaplain’s apartment.

E. Halloween Murder Mystery

Our annual whodunit party was held November 1, 2002 at Eldbrooke UMC. Like the movie nights, it has the potential of bringing people into the community who might not otherwise come.

F. Pancake Study Break

On the first night of the two-day pre-exam study period for both fall and spring semesters, the United Methodist Community, along with other ministries on campus, participated in a pancake study break coordinated by the University Chaplain. We helped to cook pancakes for nearly 300 hungry students from 11 pm to 2 am.

VI. OUTREACH & MARKETING

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://archives.aumethodists.org/worship/sermons/. Students can also use the website to update their directory information and participate in community polls.

In March we made arrangements through Network for Good to receive online donations, which visitors to our website can make online through the services of that non-profit organization at no cost to us.

B. Feed the Quad

We sponsored two free picnics and cookouts for the AU Campus: one in the fall on September 24, 2002 and the other in the spring on April 15, 2003. Over 350 people were served in the fall, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address. Over 400 people were served at the spring FTQ, at which information about our Holy Week services was distributed.

C. Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2002 and added more than 25 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list. However, our lack of any funds during the last orientation period (which began before my appointment) impacted our abilities. This summer, we are planning on a very visible presence at orientation with a variety of materials available to 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 cross-shaped keychains and ‘Flaming Cupcakes’ (hostess cakes with a candle stuck in them). “Flaming Cupcake” is the nickname of the Kay Spiritual Life Center, a round building with a flame on the roof. The UMSA also tabled in the campus center and offered hot chocolate on the quad during February.

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.

VII. ECUMENICAL AND INTERFAITH RELATIONS

As part of the United Methodist campus ministry’s stewardship of the main Protestant worship service on campus, we help to promote and facilitate events and programs for the other Protestant ministries on campus. We have helped to promote the Baptist Student Fellowship’s Non-Violence Workshop, Episcopal communion services, and Episcopal discussion on homosexuality and the church, a Baptist presentation of a Non-violence documentary,
The United Methodist Chaplain was also instrumental in drafting a Joint Statement of the Chaplains of the Kay Spiritual Life Center in Response to the War on Iraq, which was released after that war started and published in the University newspaper The Eagle.

VIII. GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A. Provide Social Justice Outlet

The United Methodist community has been successful in providing a community for worship and reflection for the campus. In the coming year, we plan to offer a more regularize social justice and service opportunity for the university community. Specifically, we are planning an alternative spring break trip for next spring. A couple of students have already volunteered to help coordinate the program.

B. Mid-week Service for Faculty and Staff

Our current worship opportunities are designed to accommodate a student’s schedule: Sunday at 7 pm and Thursday at 10:45 pm. This fall, we are planning to offer a Tuesday afternoon service at 12:45 pm for the benefit of those who might not otherwise be able to attend: faculty, staff, and commuter students. It is also hoped that some of our regulars will take the opportunity to come as well.

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

2008 Annual Report

TO THE BOARD OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND CAMPUS MINISTRY
JULY 2007-JUNE 2008

I. GOALS FOR THE 2007-2008 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our sixth year being a full-time United Methodist campus ministry at American University. In this year, we hoped to continue to foster ministries of spiritual discipline and development, through the increase in the number of small groups and student led Bible studies. We also hoped to continue the trend we have begun in fostering Christian leaders. As we had seen students take responsibility for worship, social justice, and hospitality, we aimed to develop student leaders in small groups and discipleship. We were successful in many of our goals, although some challenges remain.

II. FAITHFUL CELEBRATION

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 2007-2008 Academic Year, we followed up on our practice from the previous years of a vigorous presence at Welcome Week. Our initial Sunday attendance was very strong with some of the highest numbers for opening week attendance ever. However, the decline in attendance that routinely takes place over the course of the semester, was more precipitous than usual. That being said, our average attendance for the academic year was 34, up 3 from 2006-2007, an increase of 9.6% from the previous year and our second highest average overall. So, while the average attendance did not match the initial high levels in the fall, it still represented a positive year for the campus ministry in terms of worship attendance. The net totals of worship attendance (not simply averages) at all services was also the second highest on record.

Attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was very high, in some cases the highest ever (indicated by an asterisk (*)). Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2007-2008 AY: Ash Wednesday (34); Palm Sunday (20) [1]; Maundy Thursday (21); Good Friday (11); Easter Vigil (18); Easter Sunrise (13); and Easter Sunday worship (59*). Our good numbers this year were the result of a major outreach that we initiated using flyering, electronic billboard advertising, and the distribution of 1,700 quarter-sheets to every mailbox on campus with the theme “What Wondrous Love is This” and a list of all our Holy Week services.

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 the chaplain has prepared and the themes for the day. In consultation with the musicians, the committee determines the hymns, it picks the prayers and other worship elements. It has been a remarkable instrument for getting student involvement in the worship life of the community. Students have continued the tradition of writing the prayers that are used in our Sunday worship and Thursday healing services, adding a whole new level of student involvement in our worship.

3. Sermon Series

I offered a sermon series in the fall entitled “Majoring in Christianity” that explored how the various majors studied by students at American can be seen as Christian vocations. In the spring semester, a sermon series for Lent was offered called “Walking with Jesus through…” that covered areas such as family conflict, depression, and heartbreak.

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 2007-2008 the average attendance was 9, a decrease from 11 in 2006-2007. The decline may be due to the numbers of previously regularly attending students who moved off campus and thus could not make the service as easily.

C. Other Services

Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated by the Catholic chaplain’s office and consist of a noon and evening mass and ecumenical services at the law school and the Kay Chapel. In 2007-2008, the service at the law school conflicted with the Catholic noon mass and so I conducted it by myself. In addition, for the fourth year in a row, we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist-Protestant students unable to make the earlier services. Attendance: 34.

In previous years we had coordinated a Remembrance Day service on Veteran’s Day at which we read the names of the US servicemen and women who have died in Iraq. Attendance was always disappointingly low at this service, even if those who attended did appreciate the opportunity. I decided that a more visible memorial was required and so instead of a name reading service, we made 3,800+ small wooden crosses and other markers for people of other faiths and placed them on the quad in the fashion of a battlefield cemetery. Signs were placed on the edges explaining the vigil and listing the names of the fallen.

We offered a baccalaureate service for the fourth year in a row. We were again able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication and attendance was high: 105 attendees. The collection was donated as part of our community’s commitment to the HOPE Fund.

Our community organized a remembrance of the September 11 attacks that took place on the Kay Chapel steps. The service consisted of prayers, hymns, and a brief reflection by University Chaplain Joe Eldridge. Ours was the only remembrance of September 11 th on campus.

Our fall homecoming service, October 28, 2007 (Reformation Sunday), was also a service of reconciliation between Protestant and Catholic, in which Catholic Chaplain Rev. Fr. David Mott participated.

III. FAITHFUL RELATIONSHIPS

A. 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.

Every Wednesday during the year, we had a weekly Community dinner in the Tavern. Often, a second weekly dinner took place following the weekly fellowship on Sunday evenings.

1. Fellowship Dinners

Following on the practice established in 2006-2007, we continued occasional fellowship dinners following worship. Some were cooked by the students, others were pizza dinners, and others were cooked by local congregations. Average attendance was about 30 per meal.

B. Welcome Week

We began the 2007-2008 Academic Year with an active welcome week program consisting of a game night and ice cream social (co-sponsored with Chi Alpha) (40), a movie night (35), a walking tour of the monuments (11), participated in distributing cupcakes at a Kay event (300), and s’mores (120). Tied into this promotion were events during September such as a kickball game (15), a beach party, a hike in the Rock Creek Park, and the baseball outing (see below). Our attendance numbers were the highest they had ever been for a Welcome Week program.

C. Outing to a Nationals Game

The 2007-2008 AY was the sixth year we have done this program. It was tied in with our Welcome Week promotion. Because of the proximity of the new baseball team, many groups offer outings and thus the novelty of the event and its demand have dropped. We decided to forego renting a bus this year which was fortuitous as only 11 students attended the fall outing. We reprised the outing in the spring as a study break in late April: 13 students attended this outing to the Nationals’ new ballpark.

D. Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 Superman Returns, Children of Men, Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, Elf, 3:10 to Yuma, Gone Baby Gone, and The Kite Runner. 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.

E. Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 14-15, 2007 at the Shenandoah cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge. Twenty one (21) students attended, with a number of freshmen participating. In the spring of 2008, 15 students attended a planning and visioning retreat at Camp Manidokan.

F. Fall Outings

We reprised our fall outing to Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia. Attendance: 8.

G. Halloween Murder Mystery Party

A tradition revived from the old Protestant Community days, the party is organized by students. Participants are given roles to play and a crime to solve. Attendance 22.

H. Quad Sitting Ministry

A ministry of hospitality and fellowship: the chaplaincy provided blankets for sitting on the quad, extension cords for laptops, and free snacks and sodas. Students would use the opportunity to study in the fresh air. A dozen or more students took advantage of the opportunity.

I. Other Fellowship Opportunities

  • Welcome Week programming, August 21-27, 2006
  • Baseball Outing, Nationals v. Diamondbacks (13)
  • Game Night, October 17, 2007 (7)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (34)
  • “Hypothetical” Christmas Party, December 11, 2007 (24)
  • UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 9, 2007 (10)
  • Dinner & Ice-Skating, January 25 (10)
  • Superbowl Watching Party, February 3 (6)
  • Methodist Mardi Gras: Shrove Tuesday party with pancakes, etc. (16)
  • Easter Dinner, March 23, 2008 (38)
  • Knitting Group (5)
  • Community Planning Meeting, April 27 (7)
  • Annual Eat at Joe’s Cookout at University Chaplain’s house, April 27 (16)
  • Cookout after Senior Farewell Service, May 4 (40)
  • Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors out to dinner at Buca di Beppo, May 6, 2008, (stragglers to MeiWah on May 8) (16)
  • Summer Movie Outing, May 26 (10)

IV. FAITH DEVELOPMENT

A. Baptism and Christian Initiation

Miriam Wood was received into membership in The United Methodist Church on May 4, 2008 by profession of faith.

B. Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week. The CD group was organized by our Pastoral Intern Jonathan Tanner.

C. Practical Christianity

In January 2008, we began a regular weekly study meeting called “Practical Christianity” that was designed to explore a lived faith in light of Christian teaching. The sessions covered a wide range of topics from “living your faith in college”, to “sharing your faith”, to sexuality and dating. The program has become a staple of our Sunday evening programming, taking place before Sunday worship. Average attendance 7.

D. Bible Studies

1. Scripture with Fries and a Soda

Every week, the chaplain led a weekly Bible study in the Tavern called “Scripture with Fries and a Soda” covering texts like Revelation, Romans, and others. Average attendance: 4.

2. Methodism 101

I provided a weekly course in the history, theology, beliefs, and practices of United Methodism. It was made available to those seeking to join The United Methodist Church and those simply interested in learning more about United Methodism. It served as the membership class for those who became members in 2008.

3. Reconciling Bible Study

Students led a Reconciling Bible Study that began during Methodist Heritage Week (see below) and continued for several weeks (6).

4. Bible Studies at Washington College of Law

The chaplain 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 2008, for the first time in recent years, 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: 5.

E. Bi-Weekly Prayer Meeting

In early 2007, Miriam Wood, a sophomore proposed the creation of a bi-weekly prayer meeting. The prayer meeting met every Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm and prayed for concerns that had been shared with the group and explored various modes of prayer. Average attendance: 5.

F. Women’s Group

Beginning in the Spring 2007 semester, a number of young women decided to form a Women’s Group to study scripture, support one another, and reflect upon the meaning of being a young woman of faith. This group continued throughout the 2007-2008 Academic Year. Average attendance: 5-6.

G. Interfaith Dialogue

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

H. Conference Participants

Four of our students attended Student Forum in May 2008, which was held on the American University Campus. Students also participated other connectional ministry. Two students, Kurt Karandy and Katie Karges, were elected by their home annual conferences as delegates to General Conference. One of our students, Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger, continued her term as Co-Chair of the United Methodist Student Movement.

I. Counseling

The United Methodist chaplain has offered counseling services to the university and has counseled a number of students from within and without the community. In contrast with a number of other ministries on campus, 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, but who believe they are likely to be better received there than in their own.

In the spring of 2008, the chaplain reprised a support group for graduating seniors.

J. Discussions & Panels

  • Discussion: “Global Missions”. Speakers from the General Board of Global Ministries and US-2 Missionaries from Washington led a discussion on missionary vocation in the UMC. (15)
  • During “Passion Week”, the United Methodist community sponsored a screening of the film Amazing Grace and led a discussion on the themes presented in the film, particularly on the issue of faith as shaping one’s life’s work. Attendance: 30
  • Discussion: “The Origins of Easter”–a discussion on the origins of Easter from both Judaism and paganism. (23)
  • Discussion: “The Last Supper and the Eucharist”. An ecumenical dinner and discussion on the meaning of the Eucharist across different Christian traditions. Attendance: 40.
  • Visioning Process: A reflection on the community’s mission statement and development of a vision for the coming years. (12)
  • Film & Discussion: For the Bible Tells Me So –Screening of the film at North Bethesda UMC, followed by discussion on issues presented by the film. (7)
  • The chaplain participated in an interfaith discussion on the afterlife sponsored by the Kay Interfaith Council. (31)

V. FAITHFUL SERVICE

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 2007-2008 included environmentalism, AIDS, voting rights, hunger, workers’ rights, and heath care. 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.

The Other Six Days: Fair Trade Chocolate Sales. The UM Community purchased 60 bars of fair trade chocolate to sell around Valentine’s Day and to continue our witness to fair trade and child labor free products. The bars were resold at $1.50 and used as a UMSA fundraiser for justice purposes.

B. Social Justice Intern

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 2007-2008 were Casey McNeill (’08) and Kristen Walling (’10).

C. Social Justice Lunches

Students met weekly to discuss issues of social justice and our community response thereto.

D. Service Projects

  • In September 2007, the Committee on Social Justice presented a discussion on watersheds and water pollution. (6)
  • In October 2007, students participated in the DC AIDS Walk (6)
  • As part of The Other Six Days reflection on the AIDS crisis, students raised money for the HOPE Fund. ($117.31)
  • Students participated in an event addressing the issue of use of Native American images as mascots.
  • Students tabled in the Mary Graydon Center in support of D.C. voting rights.
  • The UMSA hosted the Homeless Speakers Bureau at a dinner and raised money for the National Council for the Homeless (23).
  • Students raised money for Heifer International ($118.02 on Ash Wednesday and $144.63 the following Sunday) to purchase animals for needy families.
  • In partnership with the Student Campaign for Burma, the UMSA screened Beyond Rangoon and discussed the situation in Burma. (8)

E. Alternative Spring Break

In the 2003-2004 academic year, our ministry added an Alternative Spring Break program. Based upon a similar program at Howard University, we planned a week of service and learning in Cherokee, North Carolina. In 2008, a much greater number of Alt Break programs led to a decreased demand and in the end only three people signed up necessitating cancellation of the trip.

F. Witnessing for Peace

Students participated in a weekly peace vigil during the fall semester every Monday.

G. Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

  • I moderated a panel entitled “Confronting Intolerance” about issues of Islamophobia, racism, and homophobia in October 2007.
  • Students participated in Wesley Seminary’s All Saints Day vigil remembering the war dead through placement of luminaries on the seminary lawn.
  • Students participated in the university’s “Take Back the Night” program. The Chaplaincy supported the event by providing chaplain coverage for students who needed to talk or counseling during the evening’s events.
  • The UMSA participated in the National Day of Silence to raise awareness about the discrimination and harassment of GLBT persons.
  • The Chaplaincy co-sponsored a screening of the film “Winter Soldier” about soldiers’ experiences returning from the Iraq War and testifying about the war, March 20, 2008.

VI. FAITH SHARING

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/sermons.

Students can also use the website to update their directory information and participate in community polls.

For the past three and a half years, we have had arrangements through Network for Good to receive online donations, through which visitors to our website can make online at no cost to us.

B. Methodist Heritage Week

September 10-16, 2007, we reprised our week-long program of events and discussions about United Methodism. Discussions included a discussion on Methodist history, a discussion on the reconciling movement in the church, and other learning opportunities.

1. Feed the Quad

We sponsored our annual free picnic and cookout for the AU Campus on September 13, 2007. Approximately 300 people are served at these events, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address. For the third year in a row, it took place during Methodist Heritage Week.

2. Bishop Oxnam Celebration

Co-sponsored with the office of the Dean of the School of International Service, we conducted a presentation and celebration of the ministry and vision of Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, founder of the School of International Service. President Neil Kerwin, Rev. Bruce Poynter, and Dean Louis Goodman spoke. Visitors from Metropolitan Memorial UMC and Wesley Theological Seminary were also in attendance. Attendance: 40.

3. Demonstration of Wesley’s Preaching

Our chaplain dressed up as John Wesley and delivered the sermon “The Scripture Way of Salvation”. A discussion followed. (10)

4. Hymn Sing

Students led a hymn sing in the tents on the quad.

C. Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2007 and added about 50 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, 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.

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 schedule 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.

G. Study Breaks

Partnering with the Hillel Foundation and the University Chaplain’s office, the chaplain helped to establish a study lounge in the chapel for students to use during finals. It was stocked with snacks and other refreshments. (30+)

The chaplain and some of the staff from Hillel prepared pancakes and provided juice for students at a midnight study break during spring semester finals. Over 200 people were served.

Provision of free chocolate during finals to stressed out students

H. Promotion and Marketing

Placement of ads in electronic newsletters, chalking on quad, quartersheet mailings to campus mailboxes.

The campus ministry maintain a presence on Facebook and other online media.

I. Participation in Interfaith Events

Participation in Interfaith Month and Interfaith Fortnight with open services designed to be accessible to visitors.

The chaplain served as an advisor to the Kay Interfaith Council and regularly participated its programs.

VII. GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A. Continue Create a Culture of Spiritual Development

In 2008-2009, we hope to continue to try to develop ministries of spiritual discipline and development. We would like to continue to build greater resources for spiritual development.

B. Outreach to those Suspicious of Faith

There are a number of people on campus who will not attend any program because of preconceptions and stereotypes about Christians. Through the use of sermon series on topics that will generate interest outside the walls of the community and a recommitment to our social justice presence on campus, I hope to present a face of Christianity to AU that is open, compassionate, committed to social action, and unlike the stereotype of a narrow-minded, insular group.

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] The unusually low number for Palm Sunday is due to the fact that Easter’s early date meant that Palm Sunday fell on the Sunday at the end of Spring Break, when many students were still returning or had been to morning services at home.

2007 Annual Report

to the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry
Academic Year
2006 – 2007

I.  GOALS FOR THE 2006-2007 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our fifth year being a full-time United Methodist campus ministry on the American University campus.   In this year, we hoped to build upon our past successes and focus on spiritual development, reaffirmation of our reconciling status, and development of Christian leaders.   In large measure we were successful in those goals.

II.  FAITHFUL CELEBRATION

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.   There 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 2006-2007 academic year, we followed up on our practice from the previous years of a vigorous presence at Welcome Week.   As a result, freshman involvement was strong.   Our numbers did not always track, however.   Our average attendance for the academic year was 31, down 5 from 2005-2006.   This may have been due to the loss of a very large graduating class in the class of 2006 (9) and a number of students who were studying abroad (5).

However, in spite of this dip in attendance at the Sunday services, attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was very high, in some cases the highest ever (indicated by an asterisk (*)).   Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2006-2007 AY:   Ash Wednesday (48*); Palm Sunday (52*); Maundy Thursday (23); Good Friday (20); Easter Vigil (20); Easter Sunrise (10); and Easter Sunday worship (48).   Our good numbers this year were the result of a major outreach that we initiated using flyering, electronic billboard advertising, and the distribution of 1,700 quarter-sheets to every mailbox on campus with the theme “Between Palms and Lilies” and a list of all our Holy Week services.

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 the chaplain has prepared and the themes for the day.   In consultation with the musicians, the committee determines the hymns, it picks the prayers and other worship elements.   It has been a remarkable instrument for getting student involvement in the worship life of the community.   In recent months, students have even begun writing the prayers that are used in our Sunday worship and Thursday healing services, adding a whole new level to the student involvement during worship.

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 2006-2007 the average attendance was 11, remaining at exactly the same level as 2005-2006.   And more and more people have been availing themselves of this worship opportunity.

C.  Other Services

Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated by the Catholic chaplain’s office and consist of a noon and evening mass and ecumenical services at the law school and the Kay Chapel.   This year, for the third year in a row, we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist-Protestant students unable to make the earlier services.   Attendance: 48 (our highest attendance yet).

We coordinated a Remembrance Day service on Veteran’s Day 2006 at which we read the names of the 3,000+ US servicemen and women who have died in Iraq, along with the names of other foreign service personnel and Iraqi civilians.   Attendance: 10

We offered a baccalaureate service for the second year in a row.   We were again able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication and attendance was the highest it has ever been: 125 attendees, up from 106 the year before, and up from 30 two years earlier.

The UM chaplain also participated in a number of special services on campus this year, including interfaith vigils for the victims of the Virginia Tech Massacre (50)

III.  FAITHFUL RELATIONSHIPS

A.  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.

Every Thursday, we had a weekly Community dinner in the Tavern, avg. attend.: 12.   Toward the end of the year, a second weekly began to take place following the weekly fellowship on Sunday evenings.

1.  Fellowship Dinners

Beginning in December 2006, two of our students began to organize home-cooked fellowship dinners that we would have following worship.   The first dinner was in December 2006 to say farewell to students who would be traveling abroad the following semester, at the beginning of the spring semester, again just before Lent, and on Easter Sunday.   Average attendance was about 30 per meal.

B.  Welcome Week

We began the 2006-2007 academic year with an active welcome week program consisting of a walking tour of the monuments, a movie night, a wiffleball game, a beach party, and s’mores.   Tied into this promotion were events during September such as a hike in the Rock Creek Park and the baseball outing (see below).   Our attendance numbers were the highest they had ever been for a welcome week program.

C.  Outing to a Nationals Game

2006 was the fifth year we have done this program.   It was tied in with our Welcome Week promotion, which, combined with the market appeal of the new Washington baseball team, brought 22 students.   As with the previous year, we rented a bus from Leonard’s Transportation services.   The event was a great success and we even saw some baseball fans at worship the following Sunday.

D.  Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 Inside Man, V for Vendetta, Thank You for Smoking, American Dreamz, Rudolph & Charlie Brown Christmas Double feature), An Inconvenient Truth, The Departed, Glory, and The Pursuit of Happyness Viewing of the film is always followed by a 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.

E.  Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 15-16, 2006 at the cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge in the Shenandoah.   Fourteen students attended, with a number of freshmen participating.   In the spring of 2007, 15 students attended a planning and visioning retreat at Camp Manidokan.

F.  Fall Outings

We reprised our fall outing to Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia.   Attendance: 8.

G.  Other Fellowship Opportunities

•  Welcome Week programming, August 21-27, 2006
•  Baseball Outing, Nationals v. Diamondbacks (13)
•  Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (25)
•  Dinner and a Movie:
•  UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 11, 2006
•  Methodist Mardi Gras: Shrove Tuesday party at chaplain’s residence with pancakes, etc.
•  Game Night, March 29, 2007
•  Community Planning Meeting, April 15: 2007-2008 Vision: Faith in Community
•  Annual Eat at Joe’s Cookout at University Chaplain’s house, April 29
•  Ice Cream Social Study Break, May 2, 2007 (12)
•  Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors out to dinner at the Cactus Cantina, May 10, 2007

IV.  FAITH DEVELOPMENT

A.  Baptism and Christian Initiation

We did not have any students receive baptism or join The United Methodist Church during this academic year.

B.  Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week.   The CD group was organized by our Pastoral Intern Jonathan Tanner.

C.  Bible Studies

1.  Great Stories of the Bible

Every Wednesday evening, the Chaplain led a Bible study entitled “Great Stories of the Bible” designed to increase Biblical literacy and familiarity with foundational texts.   The study had an average of 5-6 participants a week.   This study will continue in 2007-2008.

2.  Bible Studies at Washington College of Law

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

3.  Reconciling Bible Study

Students led a Reconciling Bible Study entitled “Claiming the Name”, exploring issues of homosexuality and Christian faith.   This Bible study was part of the community’s examination of our reconciling status and re-affirmation of that identity.   An average of 4-5 students participated each week.

4.  Social Justice Bible Study on Immigration

During Methodist Heritage Week, we conducted a special Bible study on immigration and the Christian’s response to the stranger. Attendance: 6.

D.  Bi-Weekly Prayer Meeting

In early 2007, Miriam Wood, a sophomore proposed the creation of a bi-weekly prayer meeting.   The prayer meeting met every Tuesday and Thursday at 5pm and prayed for concerns that had been shared with the group and explored various modes of prayer.   Average attendance: 5.

E.  Women’s Group

Beginning in the Spring 2007 semester, a number of young women decided to form a Women’s Group to study scripture, support one another, and reflect upon the meaning of being a young woman of faith.   Average attendance: 5-6.

F.  Interfaith Dialogue

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

G.  Conference Participants

Three of our students attended Student Forum in Tacoma, Washington in May 2007.   Students also participated in North East Jurisdiction meeting.   One of our students, Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger, was elected as Co-Chair of the United Methodist Student Movement.

H.  Counseling

The United Methodist chaplain has offered counseling services to the university and has counseled a number of students from within and without the community.   In contrast with a number of other ministries on campus, 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, but who believe they are likely to be better received there than in their own.

In the spring of 2007, the chaplain reprised a support group for graduating seniors.

I.  Discussions & Panels

•  Discussion: “The Stained Glass Ceiling”–a panel discussion about women in ministry and the experiences of three women serving the church: Rev. Vivian McCarthy (UMC), Rev. Rachel Cornwell (UMC), and Rev. Amy Butler (Baptist).
•  During “Passion Week”, the United Methodist community sponsored a screening of the film “Glory” and led a discussion on the themes presented in the film, particularly on the issue of slavery and liberation. Attendance: 16
•  Discussion: “Religion and Organ Donation”.   I was invited to speak at a panel sponsored by AU Students for Organ Donation on the question of the attitudes various religions have toward organ donation. Attendance: 24.
•    Discussion on Native American related Alternative Breaks.   Following worship on Sunday, April 22, we conducted a discussion on lessons learned from Native American based alternative spring breaks as part of our “Other Six Days” social justice focus on Native issues. Attendance: 20.
•  Film & Discussion: “The DaVinci Code”–Screening of the film followed by discussion on issues presented by the film, with special attention to Church history and the development of the canon.   Attendance: 22.

V.  FAITHFUL SERVICE

A.  The Other Six Days

The most significant development in our social justice ministry was the creation in the 2004-2005 year of an ongoing ministry called “The Other Six Days.”   The aim of this program is to connect particular Sunday worship with opportunities for education and service. Monthly themes for 2006-2007 included immigration, genocide awareness, corporate responsibility, poverty, women’s equality, and Native American issues.   In each of these months was a dedicated worship service, a discussion or educational event, and a service opportunity.

The Other Six Days: Fair Trade Chocolate Sales.   The UM Community purchased 60 bars of fair trade chocolate to sell around Valentine’s Day and to continue our witness to fair trade and child labor free products.   The bars were resold at $1.50 and used as a UMSA fundraiser for justice purposes.

B.  Social Justice Intern

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 coordinator for 2006-2007 was Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger, a junior from Chicago, Illinois.

C.  Service Projects

  • In October 2006, the Committee on Social Justice sponsored an outing to the Green Festival to learn more about environmental issues and ways that people of faith can participate. (7)
  • In November 2006 and March 2007, students prepared dinner for the women of the Calvary Women’s Shelter in Washington, D.C. (6)
  • In November 2006 and February 2007, students volunteered with children at the Transitional Housing Service’s Birthday Party Program. (14)
  • The Hospitality and Social Justice Committees put together a table talk on the Sanctuary Movement of the 1980’s and its modern expression.   Speakers who were part of that movement shared their experiences. (18)

D.  Alternative Spring Break

In the 2003-2004 academic year, our ministry added an Alternative Spring Break program.   Based upon a similar program at Howard University, we planned a week of service and learning in Cherokee, North Carolina.   In 2007, our fourth year of the program, we had 10 students participate in the program, staying at Cherokee UMC and working during the day at the home of a family in need. We also participated in a Potato Drop sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew that took place at Cherokee UMC.   In addition, we were able to meet members of the community including the Principal Chief, participate in a sweat lodge ritual, and to explore the town.   It was a very successful program and we expect to reprise it in 2008.

E.  Witnessing for Peace

United Methodist students organized a meeting in February 2007 to take a stand against the War in Iraq, including letter writing, postering, and other actions.   The group would, with the help of Chaplaincy funds, eventually construct a wall of fabric on the quad–one side filled with pictures of wounded veterans and Iraqis, the other a blank wall on which people could write their own reflections as to why they opposed the war.

F.  Re-Affirmation of Reconciling Status

The United Methodist Community at American University has been a reconciling campus ministry since 1994–making it one of the oldest campus ministries to be so identified.   However there did not seem to be a reconciling statement that was available anywhere (perhaps it had been lost).   After a year-long process of discernment and exploration, the UM-Protestant Community adopted a Reconciling Statement on May 6, 2007 in re-affirmation of our reconciling status.   The statement appears in long form on our website and in short form in our bulletins.

G.  Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

•  The Chaplain participated in a program sponsored by the AU Chapter of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
•  Students participated in Mayor Fenty’s march for D.C. Voting Rights on April 16, 2007.
•  The UMSA participated in the National Day of Silence to raise awareness about the discrimination and harassment of GLBT persons.
•  The Chaplaincy co-sponsored a screening of the film “The Ground Truth” about soldiers’ experiences of the Iraq War.

VI.  FAITH SHARING

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/sermons.html. Students can also use the website to update their directory information and participate in community polls.

For the past two and a half years, we have had arrangements through Network for Good to receive online donations, which visitors to our website can make online through the services of that non-profit organization at no cost to us.

B.  Methodist Heritage Week

September 11-17, 2006, We reprised our week-long program of events and discussions about United Methodism.   Discussions included a discussion on Methodist history, a discussion on the reconciling movement in the church

1.  Feed the Quad

We sponsored our annual free picnic and cookouts for the AU Campus on September 13, 2006.   Approximately 350 people are served at these events, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address.   For the second year in a row, it took place during Methodist Heritage Week

C.  Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2006 and added about 45 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list.   We have 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 cross-shaped keychains and ‘Flaming Cupcakes’ (hostess cakes with a candle stuck in them).   “Flaming Cupcake” is the nickname of the Kay Spiritual Life Center, a round building with a flame on the roof.   The UMSA also tabled in the campus center and offered hot chocolate on the quad during February.

In addition, during winter finals, the chaplain 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.

F.  Hospitality Ministry

  • Have new 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 schedule 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.

G.  Promotion and Marketing

  • Placement of ads in electronic newsletters, chalking on quad, quartersheet mailings to campus mailboxes.
  • Provision of free chocolate during finals to stressed out students

H.  Participation in Interfaith Events

  • Interfaith Council Discussion: Ask the Chaplain “Faith and Social Justice”–Chaplains of different faiths were invited to speak about their tradition’s relationship to social justice
  • Participation in Interfaith Month and Interfaith Fortnight with open services designed to be accessible to visitors.
  • Participated in a screening of a documentary “Life of Muhammad” followed by breakout groups discussing impressions from a variety of interfaith perpectives.

VII.  GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A.  Continue Create a Culture of Spiritual Development

In 2007-2008, we hope to continue to try to develop ministries of spiritual discipline and development.   We hope to do this through the increase in the number of small groups and student led Bible studies.

B.  Develop Christian Leaders

It is my hope that we will continue the trend we have begun in fostering Christian leaders.   As we have seen students take responsibility for worship and social justice, and hospitality, we hope to develop student leaders in small groups and discipleship.

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.

2006 Annual Report

to the Committee on Higher Education and Campus Ministry
July 2005-June 2006 (as of August 2006)

I.  GOALS FOR THE 2005-2006 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our fourth year being a full-time United Methodist campus ministry on the American University campus.   In this our fourth year, we hoped to build upon our past successes and focus on hospitality as the value that is a foundation for our community.   We believe that our focus on hospitality was a success.

II.  FAITHFUL CELEBRATION

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.   There 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 2005-2006 academic year, we followed up on our practice from the previous year of a vigorous presence at Welcome Week.   As a result, freshman involvement has been strong and our numbers have been on the increase.   Our average attendance for the academic year is 38, up 8 from 2004-2005 and up 15 from 2003-2004.

In addition to the increased average attendance, attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was much higher than in previous years.   Previous years had seen the addition of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday services–the 2004-2005 AY saw the addition of a midnight Easter Vigil that was well attended.   Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2005-2006 AY:   Ash Wednesday (43); Palm Sunday (43); Maundy Thursday (23); Good Friday (25); Easter Vigil (27); Easter Sunrise (29); and Easter Sunday worship (56).   Our good numbers this year were the result of a major outreach that we initiated using flyering, electronic billboard advertising, and the distribution of 1,700 quarter-sheets to every mailbox on campus with the theme “What Wondrous Love is This?” and a list of all our Holy Week services.

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 the chaplain has prepared and the themes for the day.   In consultation with the musicians, the committee determines the hymns, it picks the prayers and other worship elements.   It has been a remarkable instrument for getting student involvement in the worship life of the community.   In recent months, students have even begun writing the prayers that are used in our Sunday worship and Thursday healing services, adding a whole new level to the student involvement during worship.

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 2005-2006 the average attendance was 11, an increase of 3 from the previous years.   And more and more people have been availing themselves of this worship opportunity.

C.  Other Services

Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated by the Catholic chaplain’s office and consist of a noon and evening mass and ecumenical services at the law school and the Kay Chapel.   This year, for the third year in a row, we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist/Protestant students unable to make the earlier services.   Attendance: 43 (up significantly from previous years).

We coordinated a Remembrance Day service on Veteran’s Day 2005 at which we read the names of the 2,000+ US servicemen and women who have died in Iraq, along with the names of other foreign service personnel and Iraqi civilians.

We offered a baccalaureate service for the second year in a row.   This year we were able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication and attendance rose dramatically: 106 attendees, up from 30 the year before.

The UM chaplain also participated in a number of special services on campus this year.

III.  FAITHFUL SERVICE

A.  The Other Six Days

The most significant development in our social justice ministry was the creation in the 2004-2005 year of an ongoing ministry called “The Other Six Days.”   The aim of this program is to connect particular Sunday worship with opportunities for education and service.   In one month, for example, students had an opportunity to visit Sojourner’s magazine to learn about anti-hunger efforts.   Also in that month, students gathered to make sandwiches and distribute them along with fruit and a bottle of water to the homeless of Washington.   These two events were tied to a Sunday worship service devoted to hunger issues at which the sermon was entitled “Loaves and Fishes” and addressed the Christian response to hunger. Monthly themes for 2005-2006 included education, women’s equality, sexuality, child labor, environment, and animal rights.

The Other Six Days: Fair Trade Chocolate Sales.   The UM Community purchased 60 bars of fair trade chocolate to sell around Valentine’s Day and to promote our “The Other Six Days” focus on child labor (as such chocolate is free of child labor).   The bars were resold at $1.50 and used as a UMSA fundraiser for justice purposes.

B.  Alternative Spring Break

In the 2003-2004 academic year, our ministry added an Alternative Spring Break program.   Based upon a similar program at Howard University, we planned a week of service and learning in Cherokee, North Carolina.   In 2006, our third year of the program, we had 18 students participate in the program, staying at Cherokee UMC and working during the day at the home of a family in need. We also participated in a Potato Drop sponsored by the Society of St. Andrew that took place at Cherokee UMC.   In addition, we were able to meet members of the community including the Principal Chief, participate in a sweat lodge ritual, and to explore the town.   It was a very successful program and we expect to reprise it in 2007.

C.  Social Justice Intern

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 current social justice coordinator is Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger, a junior from Chicago, Illinois.

D.  Participation with other Groups

Our Social Justice ministry participated with AU Solidarity in seeking ethical contracts for university and was a coalition partner with AU Hillel and Students for Darfur in conducting events in opposition to the Sudanese genocide in Darfur.

The Chaplain participated in a panel “Death Penalty in America: A Heavy Price to Pay?” sponsored by Zeta Phi Beta

IV.  FAITH DEVELOPMENT

A.  Baptism and Christian Initiation

We did not have any students receive baptism or join The United Methodist Church during this academic year.

B.  Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week.   The CD group was organized by our Pastoral Intern Angela Harris.   In January, a second CD group was added due to increased interest.

C.  Bible Studies

1.  Great Stories of the Bible

Every Wednesday evening, the Chaplain led a Bible study entitled “Great Stories of the Bible” designed to increase Biblical literacy and familiarity with foundational texts.   Though a late starter, it was very popular and had an average of 6 participants a week.   This study will continue in 2006-2007.

2.  Bible Studies at Washington College of Law

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

3.  Sunday Chaplain’s Study: The Pauline Epistles

As a continuation from 2004-2005, we continued a systematic study of the writings of the Apostle Paul.   Average attendance was small (3) but very faithful in attendance.   We expect this study to continue in 2006-2007.

D.  Interfaith Dialogue

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

E.  Conference Participants

Two of our students attended Student Forum in Michigan in May 2006.   The North East Jurisdiction meeting of the United Methodist Student Movement was cancelled for the Fall 2005 meeting and thus no students were able to participate.

F.  Counseling

The United Methodist chaplain has offered counseling services to the university and has counseled a number of students from within and without the community.   In contrast with a number of other ministries on campus, 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, but who believe they are likely to be better received there than in their own.

In the spring of 2006, the chaplain reprised a support group for graduating seniors.

G.  Discussions & Panels

•  Discussion: “Life, Death, and Then What?”–Invited by former Catholic chaplain to participate in panel on life after death at Mt. Vernon campus of GW
•  Table Talk: “Can Child Labor Ever Be Justified as a Tool of Development” (The Other Six Days education event on child labor co-sponsored by the office of the University Chaplain)
•  Table Talk: “Global Warming: Whose Fault? Whose Responsibility?” (The Other Six Days education event on the environment co-sponsored by the office of the University Chaplain)
•  Discussion: “Are Denominations Dividing Christians?”   Organized by ZFB Sorority, the UM Chaplain was invited to speak about Christian unity and denominational difference.
•  Continuing of The Other Six Days education programming on education & gender discrimination, including outing to see North Country .

V.  FAITHFUL RELATIONSHIPS

A.  Weekly Fellowship

•  Fellowship after Sunday services in the Kay Lounge
•  Weekly Community dinner in the Tavern, avg. attend.: 12.   Toward the end of the year, a second weekly began to take place following the weekly fellowship on Sunday evenings.

B.  Welcome Week

We began the 2005-2006 academic year with an active welcome week program consisting of a walking tour of the monuments, a movie night, a wiffleball game, a beach party, and s’mores.   Tied into this promotion were events during September such as a hike in the Rock Creek Park and the baseball outing (see below).   While freshman participation varied at the events, we learned that the number of events had created a “buzz” about the activities of the United Methodist community on campus.

C.  Student Night at Camden Yards

2005 was the fourth year we have done this program.   It was tied in with our Welcome Week promotion, which, combined with the market appeal of the new Washington baseball team, brought 45 students.   As with the previous year, we rented a bus from Leonard’s Transportation services.   The event was a great success and we even saw some baseball fans at worship the following Sunday.

D.  Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 Million Dollar Baby, Crash, Star Wars III, Love Actually,   The Constant Gardener, Walk the Line, Good Night and Good Luck Viewing of the film is always followed by a 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.

E.  Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 16-17, 2005 at the cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge in the Shenandoah.   Seventeen students attended, with a large number of freshmen participating.

F.  Fall Outings

We did not have our annual fall outing but intend to reprise it in 2006.

G.  Other Fellowship Opportunities

•  Methodist Mardi Gras: Shrove Tuesday party at chaplain’s residence with pancakes, etc.
•  Dinner and a Movie: “Thank You for Smoking”
•  Community Planning Meeting, March 30: 2005-2006 Vision: Inclusiveness
•  Annual Eat at Joe’s Cookout at University Chaplain’s house, April 24
•  Baseball Outing to Nationals vs. Mets, April 29
•  Welcome Week programming, August 22-26, 2005
•  Baseball Outing to Nationals vs. Phillies, September 2, 2005
•  Community Retreat in Shenandoah, September 16-17, 2005
•  Agape Meal/All Saint’s Ecumenical Service, November 1, 2005
•  UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 11, 2006

VI.  FAITH SHARING

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/sermons.html. Students can also use the website to update their directory information and participate in community polls.

For the past two and a half years, we have had arrangements through Network for Good to receive online donations, which visitors to our website can make online through the services of that non-profit organization at no cost to us.

B.  Feed the Quad

We sponsored our annual free picnic and cookouts for the AU Campus on September 21, 2005.   Approximately 350 people are served at these events, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address.

C.  Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2005 and added about 45 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list.   We have 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 cross-shaped keychains and ‘Flaming Cupcakes’ (hostess cakes with a candle stuck in them).   “Flaming Cupcake” is the nickname of the Kay Spiritual Life Center, a round building with a flame on the roof.   The UMSA also tabled in the campus center and offered hot chocolate on the quad during February.

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.

F.  Hospitality Ministry

  • Have new Hospitality Coordinator, responsible for tabling on campus, greeting newcomers
  • Vigorous new campaign emphasizing inclusiveness “Arms Open Wide”
  • Formation of Hospitality Committee

G.  Promotion and Marketing

  • Methodist Heritage Week, September 12-16, 2005, Week-long program of events and discussions about United Methodism
  • Formation of Newsletter Committee and newsletter The UMSA Monthly
  • Provision of free chocolate during finals to stressed out students

H.  Participation in Interfaith Events

  • Interfaith Council Discussion: Ask the Chaplain “Faith and Social Justice”–Chaplains of different faiths were invited to speak about their tradition’s relationship to social justice

VII.  GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A.  Create a Culture of Spiritual Development

Building on our previous successes, we hope to focus on one area where we have been weakest: spiritual formation.   In the coming year, we hope to emphasize small groups, covenant discipleship, vocational reflection and other spiritual development programs.   The theme for the year is called “Share the Love–Live the Life”, focused on a holistic faith and spiritual formation.

B.  Re-Affirmation of Reconciling Status

In 2006-2007 we hope to engage in a comprehensive review and re-affirmation of our status as a Reconciling Campus Ministry.

C.  Develop Christian Leaders

It is my hope that we will continue the trend we have begun in fostering Christian leaders.   As we have seen students take responsibility for worship and social justice, and hospitality, we hope to develop student leaders in small groups and discipleship.

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.

2014 Annual Report

Annual Report to the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, July 2013-June 2014

I.      GOALS FOR THE 2013-2014 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our twelfth year as a full-time United Methodist campus ministry at American University. In this year, we hoped to increase connectional engagement, 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. We succeeded on some of these goals and did not meet expectations on others.

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 major Christian services on campus are Roman Catholic and Chi Alpha (Assemblies of God).

1.     Attendance and Stability

In the 2013-2014 Academic Year, our Sunday attendance started somewhat below recent expectations and remained that way throughout the year. We ended the year with an average of 34, a 13.8% decrease from 2012-2013, and a 25% decrease from 2011-2012. It was the lowest average attendance in eight years. In addition, our total numbers for the year were below expectation for both the Sunday services (1,133) and the healing service (390) representing -13.8% and -31.1% decreases respectively over the previous year.

Total Annual Sunday Worship by Year with Cumulative Average

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For reasons we have not been able to identify, for the second year in a row we were not as successful in engaging the freshman class this year and the initial surge we usually get in August and September never materialized. Since that surge usually defines the levels of engagement for the year, starting off with lower numbers off the bat meant lower attendance throughout the year as the masses usually relied on to replace the previous year’s graduates never quite materialized in the same way.

Overall, our trend is leveling off after about eight years of increased growth. This was the first year to come in below our running 12-year average of 1,152 worshipers a year. More troubling, is the suggestion that last year’s numbers were not an anomaly, but the beginning of a trend.

Attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was solid, though numbers followed the broader attendance trend and we set no attendance records this year. Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2013-2014 AY: Ash Wednesday (13 at the Law school, 36 on main campus); Palm Sunday (30); Maundy Thursday (22); Good Friday (20); Easter Vigil (13); Easter Sunrise (24); and Easter Sunday worship (67). For the first time, we included our Holy Week services in the Lenten sermon series (see, below). Our numbers lagged this year, in spite 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). This is the first year in four years that our Easter attendance has not topped 80 in worship.

Considering that not every member of the community attends every week, raw worship attendance numbers are not always the most accurate reflector of the total size of the worshiping community. I would estimate that while our average worship attendance is 34, the likely size of our total worshiping community is around 50.

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: 3-4.

3.     Sermon Series

In the fall semester, I offered a sermon series entitled “What Christians Have to Learn…” exploring sources of insight that Christians can learn from. The topics included: …Rock and Roll, …Sports, …Other Christians, …Other Religions, … Atheists, and … Science Fiction and Fantasy. Attendance was stable (average 37.6/week) throughout this series.

In the spring semester, I offered a Lenten sermon series entitled Lent and Easter with Game of Thrones, using motifs and sayings from the popular HBO series and related books. The sermons were built around the Lectionary readings for Lent and Holy Week. Among the sermons were “Winter is Coming” (Ash Wednesday), “You Know Nothing, Jon Snow“, “We Do Not Sow“, “I Have a Tender Spot for Cripples and Bastards and Broken Things“, “What Is Dead May Never Die“, “Valar Morghulis; Valar Dohaeris—All Men Must Die; All Men Must Serve” (Passion/Palm Sunday), “Night Gathers—And Now My Watch Begins” (Maundy Thursday), “The Man Who Passes the Sentence Should Swing the Sword” (Good Friday), “For the Night Is Dark and Full of Terrors” (Easter Vigil), “There Is Only One Thing We Say to Death: Not Today” (Easter Sunday) . Average attendance: 36/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 2013-2014 the average attendance was 13, a 28% decrease from 2012-2013 and a 39% decrease from two years ago.

C.    Other/Special Services

  • In November 2013, students reprised the Veterans Day “Remembrance Day” Vigil, placing 600+ grave markers on the quad in remembrance of the U.S. servicemen and –women who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • We offered a baccalaureate service for the tenth year in a row. We were again able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication. Attendance was a record high: 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.

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 13, representing well over a third (38.2%) 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: 30.

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 twelve (12) dinners this academic year. Average attendance, 37. The fellowship dinners have also provided an important way of connecting with the local congregations.

2.     Tuesdays in the Tavern

An informal gathering weekly for lunch in the Tavern. Students drop by between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. During the spring semester, this program was moved to Wednesdays. Average attendance: 8.

3.     Free Food Fridays

Free pizza lunch offered by Metropolitan Memorial UMC from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the AU Lounge.. Average attendance: 7.

C.    Welcome Week

We began the 2013-2014 Academic Year with an active welcome week program consisting of a game night and ice cream social (co-sponsored with Chi Alpha) (20), participating in distributing cupcakes at a Kay event (400), “Wesleyan Wiffleball” on the quad (8), a movie night (42, 11), s’mores (150), and a walking tour of the monuments (6). Tied into this promotion were events during September such as a hike in the Rock Creek Park (11).

D.    Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 42, Zero Dark Thirty, Star Trek Into Darkness, Much Ado About Nothing, A Christmas Triple Feature, The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  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 often see attendees who would not otherwise participate in campus ministry related events. As with all our programming, attendance was down significantly this year, averaging 20. One hopeful sign was in the screening of The Butler, which 45 people attended and was co-sponsored by the Black Student Alliance. Co-sponsorships may prove to be a strategy to boost attendance at some of our events.

E.     Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 13-14 at the Shenandoah cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge. Twenty-three (23) students attended, although only a small number of freshmen attended. In the spring of 2014, 12 students attended a leadership and visioning retreat at Camp Manidokan.

F.     Outings

Thirteen (13) students participated in a fall outing to Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD.

G.    Murder Mystery Party

A long-time community tradition, the party is organized by students and was held at Metropolitan Memorial UMC. This year, saw two parties, one near Halloween and the other in the spring. Attendance: 20, 20.

H.    Other Fellowship Opportunities

  • Welcome Week programming, August 18-24, 2013
  • Fellowship Cookout following Worship, September 1, 2013 (25)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, September 8, 2013 (35)
  • UMW “High-heeled Cupcake” baking event, September 28, 2013 (8)
  • Fall Break Avengers Movie Marathon Lock-In, October 11, 2013 (15)
  • Fall Outing to Homestead Farms, October 19, 2013 (13)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Homecoming Service, October 20, 2013 (45)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, November 3, 2013 (30)
  • Outing to see “Catching Fire”, November 7, 2013 (5)
  • UMW “High Tea”, November 23, 2013, (10)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (34)
  • Fellowship Dinner provided by MMUMC, December 8, 2013 (50)
  • UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 7, 2013 (17)
  • “Hypothetical” Christmas Party, December 10, 2013 (27)
  • Fellowship dinner following worship provided by MMUMC, January 26, 2014 (30)
  • Superbowl Party following worship, February 2, 2014 (12)
  • Fellowship dinner following worship provided by MMUMC, February 23, 2014. (30)
  • Spring Leadership Retreat at Camp Manidokan, March 1, 2014 (13)
  • Fellowship Dinner following worship provided by MMUMC, March 23, 2014 (30)
  • Outing to Arlington Cemetery, April 12, 2014 (5)
  • Easter Dinner, prepared by students, April 20, 2014 (55*)
  • Baseball Outing to Nationals Park, April 25, 2014 (18)
  • Eat at Joe’s (at Mark’s) April 27, 2014 (19)
  • Senior Farewell Cookout, May 4, 2013 (40)
  • Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors to dinner at Maggiano’s, May 5, 2013, (15)

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.    Practical Christianity

Practical Christianity returned this year after a year-long hiatus as an occasional program, rather than a weekly one. This year, Practical Christianity programs included “Women in the Early Church” and “Christian Privilege” and an outing to the National Cathedral Average attendance: 8.

B.     Bible Studies

1.     Job

In the fall semester, I led a 9-week Bible study that explored the Biblical Book of Job:

2.     The Afterlife

In October 2013, I participated in a panel discussion through the College of Arts and Sciences on the understandings of the Creation narrative in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (65*) Organized by Dr. Martyn Oliver of the Philosophy and Religion department, this is becoming an annual event.

3.     Summer Bible Study

In the summer of 2014, 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 2014): 9.

4.     Psalms

David Hosey, our pastoral intern led a Bible study on the Psalms. Average attendance: 5.

C.    United Methodist Women/United Methodist Men

Our community is blessed with two student-led groups that seek to provide a safe space for reflection and fellowship.

Our United Methodist Women’s group meets weekly and has sponsored a variety of programming for all female-identifying students who wish to attend. The UMW meets weekly and averages 8-10 people a week.

The United Methodist Men’s group meets somewhat irregularly, but will have occasional gatherings for fellowship. Average attendance: 6.

D.    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.

  • Interfaith Discussion: Taboo, Judgment, and Expectation, October 27, 2014 (26)

E.     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, Rachel Ternes (’15) and an alum, Rebekah Smith (’13), attended the UMW quadrennial meeting as well as a session of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.

F.     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 2104, I reprised a support group for graduating seniors. We met on a regular basis beginning at the beginning of the semester through the end of the semester. Average attendance: 7.

G.    Discussions & Panels

  • “What Sucks About Christianity”: Students tabled in front of Mary Graydon with a large board on which people could write their frustrations and complaints about Christians and the Church. The event was successful, but not without controversy as some did not understand that a Christian group was sponsoring the event.
  • Discussion about the “What Sucks about Christianity” event, September 9, 2013 (10)
  • Discussion: LGBT Inclusiveness, September 10, 2013 (7)
  • Performance “Talk Back”: I participated in a panel discussion on science and religion following a campus presentation of the play Inherit the Wind. (50)

H.    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. I have also continued to serve as instructor of New Testament for Wesley Seminary’s Course of Study.

V.    FAITHFUL SERVICE

Social justice and service remain key entry points into the community as students 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 2013-2014 included LGBT inclusion, malaria prevention, prisoner reintegration into society, Christians of the Middle East, and Typhoon Haiyan relief among others.

B.     Social Justice Intern

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 2013-2014 were Andreas Wiede (’14) and Lindsay Wylie (’16).

C.    Social Justice Committee

Students met weekly to discuss issues of social justice and our community response thereto. Average attendance: 8.

D.    Service Projects and Events

  • November 2013, students placed our memorial vigil to the fallen soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the quad. (12)
  • Social Justice Discussion: “The Way Back: Challenges faced by prisoners reentering society”, October 3, 2013 (15)
  • Social Justice Discussion: “Tent of Nations: A Conversation with Palestinian Christian Daoud Nassar”, November 6, 2013 (15)
  • Social Justice Discussion: “Creation Care” with Rev. Richard Cizik, November 6, 2013 (15)
  • Over the weekend of November 15-17, students arranged and participated in a mission trip to New Jersey to clean up Hurricane Sandy damaged homes. (8)
  • Monthly Outings to Emmanuel UMC Food Bank, Greenbelt, MD (5)
  • In conjunction ongoing anti-malaria efforts, throughout the year, students sold free-trade chocolate as a fundraiser for malaria nets and were able to provide $300 (amounting to 30 nets) to Nets for Life.
  • Social Justice Film and Discussion: “With God on Our Side” on Christian Zionism, February 20, 2014 (40)
  • Speaker: Rev. Frank Schaefer spoke about his experiences and on his efforts for LGBT inclusion in the United Methodist Church
  • In April 2014, students formed a team and participated in the Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research. (8)
  • In April 2014, students prepared a home-cooked meal and transported it to the residents of Metropolitan Memorial UMC’s shelter “Metro House”. (5)
  • One April 10, 2014, the Social Justice Committee teamed up with Eco Sense and the Philippine American Coalition to screen a documentary and have a panel discussion to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan relief.

E.     Alternative Spring Break

In 2014, for our tenth time, we took a group of 4 to Cherokee, North Carolina for a week of service, reflection, and learning. As before, we were guests of the Cherokee United Methodist Church. This was a smallest showing and the trip would likely not have occurred had the three students signed up not been regular participants in the community. It was still a productive and spiritually renewing trip, and one of the participants, Rachel Ternes (’15) has committed to ensuring greater turnout in the coming year.

F.     Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

  • The UMSA participated in a number of events with other groups, including AU Hillel, AU Interfaith Council, AU Chi Alpha, the GLBTA Resource Center, EcoSense, the Arab Student Association, and a number of social justice groups on campus.

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.  Our mission statement is simply: “Love God. Serve Others. Welcome All.” This mission statement 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 .

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 9-15, 2013, 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 12, 2013. Approximately 300 people were served, receiving AU UMC cups with our web address.

2.     Demonstration of Wesley’s Preaching

Our chaplain dressed up as John Wesley and delivered the sermon “Catholic Spirit”. This year, I gave the sermon not from our tent, but from an ad-hoc speaker’s podium along the main quad. A discussion followed. (10)

3.     Game Day/T-Shirt Tie-Dye

On successive days, the UM community tented on the quad offering hospitality, games, crafts and other information about the community. (50). Students also made tie-dyed t-shirts on the quad using fabric markers to add their own designs. (100*)

C.    Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2013 and added about 19 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list. As with the previous year, this was a drastically lower number than usual, which is normally around 40. Once again, it seems reasonable to conclude that the lower number of students signed up correlates in some way to the lower numbers of freshmen involved at the beginning of the year.

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 the winter.

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.     Christmas Caroling

Students went from University building to building caroling and singing songs of the season. (12)

F.     Hospitality Ministry

  • Hospitality Coordinator: responsible for tabling on campus, greeting newcomers.
  • Formation of Hospitality Committee—a group of students who reflect on issues of hospitality and how our community can improve. Our hospitality coordinators helped to organize a gift bag distribution to new students during the beginning weeks of school and during finals. The committee met weekly. (3)Students provided free cups of hot chocolate to students on the quad (100)

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. (50+)
  • Provision of free chocolate during finals to stressed out students (see “Spiritual Therapy Through Chocolate” above).
  • On August 28, 2013 and February 5, 2014, Chaplaincy paid for everyone’s coffee for an hour at the Davenport Coffee Lounge on campus

H.    Promotion and Marketing

  • We have continued with the dynamic marketing campaign utilizing minimalist ads and humorous 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.

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 four 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. A discernment study, led by two of our pastoral interns, was also helpful in this endeavor.

We have begun to take steps toward the creation of a Center for Religion and Civic Life at AU. The first stage, which was implemented in the fall of 2011, involves vocational mentoring and social justice engagement. (See www.aumethodists.org/crcl for more information).

VIII. ADMINISTRATIVE

A.    Administrative Intern

With the permission of the Board and with the help of some funding from Foundry United Methodist Church, the Chaplaincy offered an administrative internship to a student during the Spring 2012 semester. The administrative intern performed administrative and office support activities for the campus ministry, including fielding telephone calls, word processing, basic bookkeeping, data entry, filing, and preparing mailings..

B.     Programming Intern

Rebekah Smith (’13) began work as a part-time paid intern for programming. In her work, she helps the leadership of the UMSA to be more effective at planning, implementing, and learning from planned programs.

IX.   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.    Revitalize Student Engagement

We have noticed a decided shift in commitment and involvement over the years. We hope this year to revitalize our student involvement and investment in the community, particularly in taking ownership and exercising leadership.

B.     Continue to Increase Service Opportunities

Our “hands on” service projects were very popular this year and we look to expand opportunities for such missional engagement.

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 as is the undergraduate certificate in Religion and Civic Life.

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 2014-2015 that will attract non-religious or nominally religious students to come to our fellowship.

This year was a difficult year with much lower than expected involvement. We hope to revitalize our community and to grow our presence, outreach and the number of opportunities available to explore faith on the AU campus.

Respectfully submitted,

schaefsig

Mark A. Schaefer
United Methodist Campus Minister
American University

2013 Annual Report

Annual Report to the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, July 2012-June 2013

I.      GOALS FOR THE 2012-2013 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our eleventh year as a full-time United Methodist campus ministry at American University.  In this year, we hoped to increase connectional engagement, 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.  We succeeded on some of these goals and did not meet expectations on others.

II.     WORSHIP

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 2012-2013 Academic Year, our Sunday attendance started somewhat below recent expectations and remained that way throughout the year.  We ended the year with an average of 40, an 11.2% decrease from 2011-2012 and the lowest average attendance in four years.  In addition, our total numbers for the year were below expectation for both the Sunday services (1,315) and the healing service (566) representing -11.2% and -11.6% decreases respectively over the previous year.

We struggled to figure out the source of the lower attendance this year.  For reasons we have not been able to identify, we were not as successful in engaging the freshman class this year and the initial surge we usually get in August and September never materialized. Since that surge usually defines the levels of engagement for the year, starting off with lower numbers off the bat meant lower attendance throughout the year as the masses usually relied on to replace the previous year’s graduates never quite materialized in the same way.  Overall, our trend is still up; with this year’s numbers still reflecting a 22.3% increase over the last four-year period and a 50.5% increase overall over the course of the full-time ministry.

Attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was solid, with record attendance in some cases (indicated throughout this report by an asterisk (*)).  Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2012-2013 AY:  Ash Wednesday (33); Palm Sunday (44); Maundy Thursday (27); Good Friday (44*); Easter Vigil (24); Easter Sunrise (27); and Easter Sunday worship (86*).  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).  This is the fourth year in a row that our Easter attendance has topped 80 in worship.

Considering that not every member of the community attends every week, raw worship attendance numbers are not always the most accurate reflector of the total size of the worshiping community. I would estimate that while our average worship attendance is 40, 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 “9 Lies You Hear in Church” based on the book 52 Lies Heard in Church Every Sunday: …And Why the Truth Is So Much Better by Steve McVey.  The topics included: Everything Is FineIf You Pray Hard Enough, God Will AnswerGod Never Gives You More than You Can Bear[1]Christians Should Always Be HappyOur Faith Gets Us to GodThe Bible Teaches Us How to Live; Sacred Is the Opposite of SecularIt’s All Part of God’s Plan; and Salvation is About Getting into Heaven. Attendance was reasonably high (average 41/week) throughout this series.

In the spring semester, I offered a Lenten sermon series In the Wilderness dealing with how we encounter God in the wilderness places of our lives. Among the topics were The Wilderness of Want, The Wilderness of Despair, The Wilderness of Tragedy, The Wilderness of Loneliness, The Wilderness of Betrayal (Palm/Passion Sunday), and Entering the Promised Land (Easter Sunday). There was a fair amount of interest in this series. (44/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 2012-2013 the average attendance was 18, a 19% decrease from 2011-2012 but still among the highest levels we have attained.  The healing service continues to represent real growth possibilities, as its appeal becomes more widely known.  We had much higher student involvement in terms of preaching at the healing service this year.

C.    Other/Special Services

  • On November 5, 2012, members of the community organized an ecumenical prayer service on the eve of the election to pray for unity, discernment, and peacemaking in a fractious political climate. Attendance: 25.
  • In November 2012, students reprised the Veterans Day “Remembrance Day” Vigil, placing 500+ grave markers on the quad in remembrance of the U.S. servicemen and –women who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • I participated in a vigil for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing held on April 16, 2013 and organized by the Office of the University Chaplain. (250)
  • We offered a baccalaureate service for the ninth year in a row.  We were again able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication. Attendance: 105.

III.   FELLOWSHIP & COMMUNITY

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 (37.5%) 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/Wednesdays 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, 41.  The fellowship dinners have also provided an important way of connecting with the local congregations.

2.     Tuesdays in the Tavern

An informal gathering weekly for lunch in the Tavern.  Students drop by between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  During the spring semester, this program was moved to Wednesdays.  Average attendance: 8.

3.     Free Food Fridays

Free pizza lunch offered by Metropolitan Memorial UMC from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the AU Lounge.  (In the fall semester, because of scheduling, this event was Monday Munchies at Metro).  Average attendance: 7.

C.    Welcome Week

We began the 2012-2013 Academic Year with an active welcome week program consisting of a game night and ice cream social (co-sponsored with Chi Alpha) (45), participating in distributing cupcakes at a Kay event (400), a “Protestant Pancake Night” co-sponsored with Chi Alpha (40), a movie night (The Hunger Games, 37), s’mores (120), and a walking tour of the monuments (10).  Tied into this promotion were events during September such as, an interfaith beach party (50), a hike in the Rock Creek Park (10).

D.    Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 The Hunger Games, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Artist, Brave, Elf, Looper, Argo, and Skyfall.   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: 29.

E.     Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 15-16 at the Shenandoah cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge.  Twenty-six (26) students attended, although only a small number of freshmen attended.  In the spring of 2013, 13 students attended a leadership and visioning retreat at West River Camp in conjunction with students from the University of Maryland.

F.     Outings

Nine (9) students participated in a fall outing to Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD.

Another nine (9) students participated in our United Methodist Men’s group outing to Capitol Hill to tour the Library of Congress and the Capitol.

G.    Murder Mystery Party

A long-time community tradition, the party is organized by students and was held at Metropolitan Memorial UMC.  This year, the party took place in the spring semester in April.  Attendance: 30.

H.    Mario Kart Tournament

As part of the University’s AU After Dark program, our community set up a MarioKart Tournament on Friday, March 22, 2013.  Held in the University Club, students were treated to popcorn machines, cotton candy, snacks, and refreshments while competing in a bracketed tournament to win a vintage Nintendo64 gaming system.  The event was very well attended and was appreciated by all who participated.  Attendance: 75.

I.      Other Fellowship Opportunities

  • Welcome Week programming, August 19-25, 2012
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, September 2, 2012 (35)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, September 23, 2012 (45)
  • Outing to Dinner at Steak-n-Egg following the Healing Service, October 11, 2012 (10)
  • Fall Break Lord of the Rings Movie Marathon Lock-In, October 12, 2012 (25)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Homecoming Service, October 21, 2012 (48)
  • Outing to see “Wreck it Ralph”, November 2, 2012 (10)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, November 11, 2013 (35)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (40)
  • Fellowship Dinner provided by MMUMC, December 9, 2012 (45)
  • Christmas Cookie Baking Party, December 7, 2012 (10)
  • UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 8, 2012 (17)
  • “Hypothetical” Christmas Party, December 11, 2012 (37)
  • Fellowship dinner following worship provided by MMUMC, January 27, 2013 (40)
  • Superbowl Party following worship, February 3, 2013 (18)
  • Fellowship dinner following worship provided by MMUMC, February 17, 2013. (35)
  • “Methodist Mardi Gras” Pancake Dinner at chaplain’s residence, February 12, 2013 (17)
  • Easter Dinner, prepared by students, March 31, 2013 (67*)
  • Fellowship Dinner following worship provided by MMUMC, April 14, 213 (40)
  • Eat at Joe’s, April 21, 2013 (26)
  • Fellowship and Ice-Cream Bar, April 28, 2013 (28)
  • Senior Farewell Cookout, May 5, 2013 (45)
  • Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors to dinner at Lebanese Taverna, May 6, 2013, (17)
  • Outing to see a Nationals Game, May 9, 2013 (10)

IV.   DEVOTION & STUDY

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.    Practical Christianity

Due to scheduling difficulties and the trouble in finding leadership for it, we were not able to reprise this program this year.  We expect to reestablish this program in the fall 2013 semester.

B.     Bible Studies

1.     Gospels

In the fall semester, pastoral intern Brian Cook led a weekly Bible study on the Gospels. Average attendance: 4.

2.     The Creation

In October 2012, I participated in a panel discussion through the College of Arts and Sciences on the understandings of the Creation narrative in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (25)  The other participants (Rabbi Leila Berner, Dr. Martyn Oliver) and I are looking to make this a semi-annual event.

3.     Summer Bible Study

In the summer of 2013, 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 2013): 8.

4.     Epistles of Paul

David Hosey, Caleb Frazier, and Brian Cook, our pastoral interns, led a Bible study the Epistles of Paul. Average attendance: 5.

C.    Vocational Discernment

Pastoral Interns David Hosey and Caleb Frazier lead a number of discernment discussions on a group and an individual basis, helping students to discern vocation in light of their faith.

D.    United Methodist Women/United Methodist Men

Our community is blessed with two student-led groups that seek to provide a safe space for reflection and fellowship.

Our United Methodist Women’s group meets weekly and has sponsored a variety of programming for all female-identifying students who wish to attend, including visits from the Student Health Center and an officer from Public Safety teaching about self-defense.  The UMW meets weekly and averages 8-10 people a week.

The United Methodist Men’s group meets somewhat irregularly, but will have occasional gatherings for brunch at the home of one of the members.  The UMM has also planned a number of outings including trips to the movies and a tour of the Library of Congress and the Capitol. Average attendance: 6.

E.     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.

F.     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.

G.    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 2013, I reprised a support group for graduating seniors.  We met on a regular basis beginning mid-semester through the end of the semester.  Average attendance: 8.

H.    Discussions & Panels

  • Discussion: What Makes AU Methodist, September 15, 2012 (5)
  • Stereotypes of the Native American (Part of Native American Heritage Month) (10)

I.      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.

I have continued to serve as instructor of New Testament for Wesley Seminary’s Course of Study.

V.    SERVICE AND JUSTICE

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 2012-2013 included LGBT inclusion, malaria prevention, and environmental stewardship among others.  For each topic 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 Intern

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 2011-2012 were Andreas Wiede (’15) and Lindsay Wylie (’16).

C.    Social Justice Committee

Students met weekly to discuss issues of social justice and our community response thereto. Average attendance: 8.

D.    Service Projects and Events

  • November 2012, students placed our memorial vigil to the fallen soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the quad. (12)
  • In November 2012, students put together a presentation on anti-malaria efforts in Africa with an invited speaker from “Nets for Life”. (10)
  • In conjunction with the above, in November 2012, students sold free-trade chocolate as a fundraiser for malaria nets and were able to provide $400 (amounting to 40 nets) to Nets for Life.
  • On November 27, 2012, students put together a presentation on “Social Justice in Harry Potter and the Arab Spring”, reflecting on themes present in fiction and in the events of the Arab Spring. (16)
  • Over the weekend of February 16-17, students arranged and participated in a mission trip to New Jersey to clean up Hurricane Sandy damaged homes. (8)
  • In April 2013, students participated in invasive species removal at Dumbarton Oaks park as part of our Other Six Days program. (7)
  • In April 2013, students formed a team and participated in the Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research. (8)
  • In April 2013, students participated in the reading of names of victims of the Holocaust organized by the Jewish Student Association. (10)

E.     Alternative Spring Break

In 2013, for our ninth 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.

F.     Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

  • The UMSA participated in a number of events with other groups, including AU Hillel, AU Interfaith Council, AU Chi Alpha, the GLBTA Resource Center, and a number of social justice groups on campus.

VI.   EVANGELISM & OUTREACH

The campus ministry community is committed to making its presence on the university campus known and making its mission clear to all.  Our mission statement is simply: “Love God. Serve Others. Welcome All.” This mission statement 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 .

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 10-17, 2012, 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 14, 2012.  Approximately 300 people were served, receiving AU UMC cups with our web address.

2.     Demonstration of Wesley’s Preaching

Our chaplain dressed up as John Wesley and delivered the sermon “Catholic Spirit”.  A discussion followed.  (8)

3.     Game Day/T-Shirt Tie-Dye

On successive days, the UM community tented on the quad offering hospitality, games, crafts and other information about the community. (50).  Students also made tie-dyed t-shirts on the quad using fabric markers to add their own designs. (100*)

C.    Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2012 and added about 15 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list.  This is a drastically lower number than usual, which is normally around 40.  The lower numbers may be the result of happenstance (scheduling of conflicting events during the Orientation sessions), but it seems reasonable to conclude that the lower number of students signed up correlates in some way to the lower numbers of freshmen involved at the beginning of the year.

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 the winter.

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.     Christmas Caroling

Students went from University building to building caroling and singing songs of the season. (12)

F.     Hospitality Ministry

  • Hospitality Coordinator: responsible for tabling on campus, greeting newcomers.
  • Formation of Hospitality Committee—a group of students who reflect on issues of hospitality and how our community can improve. Our hospitality coordinators helped to organize a gift bag distribution to new students during the beginning weeks of school and during finals.
  • 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.  (50+)
  • Provision of free chocolate during finals to stressed out students (see “Spiritual Therapy Through Chocolate” above).
  • On February 14, 2013, Chaplaincy paid for everyone’s coffee for an hour at the Davenport Coffee Lounge on campus
  • We have continued with the dynamic marketing campaign utilizing minimalist ads and humorous 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.
    • 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.

G.    Study Breaks

H.    Promotion and Marketing

I.      Participation in Interfaith Events

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 four 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.  A discernment study, led by two of our pastoral interns, was also helpful in this endeavor.

We have begun to take steps toward the creation of a Center for Religion and Civic Life at AU.  The first stage, which was implemented in the fall of 2011, involves vocational mentoring and social justice engagement. (See www.aumethodists.org/crcl for more information). Those engagement programs continued in the fall 2012 with a special Welcome Week program in Religion and Social Justice under the direction of intern Ethan Goss. This program will continue in the fall 2013 semester.

VIII. ADMINISTRATIVE

A.    Administrative Intern

With the permission of the Board and with the help of some funding from Foundry United Methodist Church, the Chaplaincy offered an administrative internship to a student during the Spring 2012 semester. The administrative intern performed administrative and office support activities for the campus ministry, including fielding telephone calls, word processing, basic bookkeeping, data entry, filing, and preparing mailings. In the fall 2012 semester, Ms. Angela Budzinski continued to work as the administrative intern freeing me up to focus on other aspects of the ministry and to better exercise self-care.  With Angela studying abroad in spring 2013, those duties were taken up by Carly Jones.

IX.   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 2012-2013, 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

Our “hands on” service projects were very popular this year and we look to expand opportunities for such missional engagement.

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 as is the undergraduate certificate in Religion and Civic Life.  In 2013-2014, we hope to continue the vocational mentoring and engagement pieces and begin the development of the funding infrastructure for a 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 2013-2014 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 have lacked follow through in this aspect of our community life and we hope to be able to make some progress on implementing this goal.

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,

schaefsig

Mark A. Schaefer
United Methodist Campus Minister
American University



[1] The sermon for this topic is our website’s most visited page.

2012 Annual Report

Annual Report to the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, July 2011-June 2012

I.      GOALS FOR THE 2011-2012 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our tenth year as a full-time United Methodist campus ministry at American University.  In this year, we hoped to increase connectional engagement, 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 2011-2012 Academic Year, our Sunday attendance started off very strong and remained so throughout the year.  We ended the year with an average of 45, a 7.1% increase from 2010-2011 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 (1,486) and the healing service (640) representing 7.1% and 1.4% 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 2011-2012 AY:  Ash Wednesday (46); Palm Sunday (41); Maundy Thursday (40*); Good Friday (42*); Easter Vigil (26); Easter Sunrise (37*); and Easter Sunday worship (80).  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).  This is the third year in a row that our Easter attendance has topped 80 in worship.

It has been noted that in contemporary America, 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 45, 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 “Questions of Faith” based on the spring semester’s Q&A sermon, in which we explored questions that crop up over and over again in that annual Q&A sermon.  The questions included: Why Does God Allow Evil?  Can I Think Critically and Have Faith?[1] Do Non-Christians Go to Hell?  How Sinful Is Sex?  Does Forgiveness Require Me to Be a Victim? and  Am I Lost If I Have Doubt?  Attendance was very high (average 50/week) throughout this series and it generated a lot of interest on campus.

In the spring semester, I offered a Lenten sermon series This We Believe dealing with some of the basic affirmations that we as a community of faith make. Among the affirmations were Jesus is the Son of God, Discipleship is Costly, God is Love, God Loves All People, The World is a Very Broken Place (Palm Sunday), and Christ is Risen!  (Easter Sunday). There was a fair amount of interest in this series. (44/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 2011-2012 the average attendance was 21, a 5% increase from 2010-2011 and is the highest such average on record.  The healing service represents real growth possibilities as its appeal becomes more widely known.

C.    Other/Special Services

  • Sunday worship on the 10th anniversary of September 11th drew 70 worshipers, a record outside of Easter or an episcopal visit.
  • On October 13, 2011, we repurposed our Thursday Healing Service to be a DREAM Sabbath and invited immigrant students to share their stories of hopes for education. (38)
  • In November 2011, students reprised the Veterans Day “Remembrance Day” Vigil, placing 500 grave markers on the quad in remembrance of the U.S. servicemen and –women who have died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
  • In February and March 2012, we participated in a pulpit exchange with Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship (Assemblies of God) with Chi Alpha’s chaplain, the Rev. Mike Godzwa, preaching in United Methodist services in February and me preaching in Chi Alpha’s worship in March.
  • Twice in the spring semester, I preached using alternative preaching methods, one as a first person monologue, the other a dialogue sermon in the style of a Bob Newhart routine.
  • We offered a baccalaureate service for the eighth year in a row.  We were again able to have our event listed in the university’s official commencement publication. Attendance: 100.

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 13, representing nearly a third (28.8%) 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 twelve (12) dinners this academic year. Average attendance, 40.  The fellowship dinners have also provided an important way of connecting with the local congregations.

C.    Welcome Week

We began the 2011-2012 Academic Year with an active welcome week program consisting of a game night and ice cream social (co-sponsored with Chi Alpha) (60*), participating in distributing cupcakes at a Kay event (400), a “Protestant Pancake Night” co-sponsored with Chi Alpha (40), a movie night (The Adjustment Bureau, 25), and s’mores (150).  Tied into this promotion were events during September such as, a beach party (60), a hike in the Rock Creek Park (10).

D.    Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 The Adjustment Bureau, Black Swan, True Grit, Keeping the Faith, Muppet Christmas Carol, Super 8, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and The Shawshank Redemption.   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: 25.

E.     Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 16-17 at the Shenandoah cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge.  We tied a record with a turnout of twenty seven (27*) students attended, with a number of freshmen participating.  In the spring of 2012, 13 students attended a planning and visioning retreat at West River Camp.

F.     Fall Outings

Eleven (11) students participated in a fall outing to Homestead Farm in Poolesville, MD.

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 30.  The fall party was such a success it was reprised in the spring semester in April.  Attendance: 21.

H.    Tenth Anniversary Gala

The 2011-2012 academic year marked the tenth year of our ministry as a full-time campus ministry on the American University campus. To celebrate this milestone, students planned a Tenth Anniversary Gala held in the Great Hall of Metropolitan Memorial UMC on April 21, 2012.  A number of alumni were in attendance, as well as District Superintendent Evan Young.  Attendance: 71.

I.      Other Fellowship Opportunities

  • Welcome Week programming, August 21-27, 2011
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, September 4, 2011 (45)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, September 25, 2011 (50)
  • Outing to Dinner at Steak-n-Egg following the Healing Service, October 13, 2011 (6)
  • Fall Break Indiana Jones Movie Marathon Lock-In, October 14, 2011 (17)
  • Outing to Maryland Renaissance Festival, October 15, 2011 (12)
  • Fellowship Dinner following Homecoming Service, October 23, 2011 (45)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (40)
  • Fellowship Chili Dinner provided by MMUMC, December 4, 2011 (45)
  • UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 10, 2010 (15)
  • “Hypothetical” Christmas Party, December 13, 2011 (43*)
  • Fellowship dinner following worship, January 22, 2012 (45)
  • Fellowship pizza dinner following worship, February 12, 2012. (40)
  • Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner, February 21, 2012 (109*)
  • Easter Dinner, prepared by students, April 8, 2012 (60*)
  • Fellowship Dinner following worship, April 22, 2012 (40)
  • Eat at Joe’s, April 29, 2012 (27)
  • Senior Farewell Cookout, May 6, 2012 (40)
  • Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors to dinner at Lebanese Taverna, May 9, 2012, (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. Melanie Ollett was received into membership in The United Methodist Church on Sunday, October 23, 2012 by profession of faith.

B.     Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week.  The CD group was organized by one of our students.  The group averaged 7 participants a week.

C.    Practical Christianity

Jennifer Kinne (’12) and Carly Jones (’13) have continued to demonstrate great leadership in taking charge of this program and have developed excellent study outlines and had a number of very successful weekly discussions. Discussions either tracked along with topics addressed in sermons or current events (death penalty, Occupy Wall Street, etc.).  Average attendance: 6.

D.    Bible Studies

1.     Isaiah

In the fall semester, I led a verse by verse exploration of the Book of Isaiah with an exploration of the prophetic witness. Average attendance: 6.

2.     Methodism 101

In the spring semester, I offered a weekly course introducing the history, theology, beliefs, and practices of United Methodism.  This course was designed for those seeking to join the UMC or who wished simply to learn more about it. Average attendance: 6.

3.     Abraham’s Sacrifice of His Son

In November 2011, I participated in a panel discussion through the College of Arts and Sciences on the understandings of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac/Ishmael in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (37)

4.     Summer Bible Study

In the summer of 2012, 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 2012): 8.

5.     Psalms

David Hosey, one of our pastoral interns, led a Bible study on Psalms and Spiritual Practices. Average attendance: 5.

E.     Vocational Discernment

Associate Chaplain for Civic Life, Katy Wheat, lead a number of vocational discernment discussions on a group and an individual basis, helping students to discern vocation in light of their faith.

F.     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.

G.    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, Melanie Ollett (’12), was appointed to serve as lay delegate at-large to the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference. One of our alumni, Kate von Richthofen (’05) also served as an at-large delegate to Conference through the campus ministry board.

H.    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 2012, 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.

I.      Discussions & Panels

  • Discussion: Theology of Inclusiveness, September 13, 2011 (5)
  • Interfaith Eco Panel, March 6, 2012 (25)
  • Film & Discussion: Viewing of the documentary “Tapped,” March 21, 2012 (35)
  • Hospitality and Worship Workshop, January 22, 2012 (17)
  • I participated in a discussion sponsored by Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship on human trafficking. January 31, 2011 (25)

J.      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.  I have continued to serve as instructor of New Testament for Wesley Seminary’s Course of Study.

 

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 2011-2012 included LGBT inclusion, homelessness, animal rights, and environmental stewardship.  For each topic 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 Intern

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 2011-2012 were Ethan Goss (’13), Caroline Marsh (’14), and Andreas Wiede (’15).

C.    Social Justice Committee

Students met weekly to discuss issues of social justice and our community response thereto. Average attendance: 8.

D.    Service Projects and Events

  • In November 2011, students participated in a gleaning project with the youth from Metropolitan Memorial UMC. (4)
  • In October 2011, students participated in the Conference’s “Change the World” days of service cleaning up the Potomac watershed by clearing trash from neighboring Glover Archbold Park (10)
  • November 2011, students placed our memorial vigil to the fallen soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the quad. (12)
  • In April 2012, students participated in a park cleanup as part of our Other Six Days program. (7)
  • 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)

E.     Alternative Spring Break

In 2012, for our eighth time, we took a group of 10 to Cherokee, North Carolina for a week of service, reflection, and learning.  As before, we were guests of the Cherokee United Methodist Church.

F.     Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

  • The UMSA participated in a number of events with other groups, including AU Hillel, AU Interfaith Council, AU Chi Alpha, the GLBTA Resource Center, and a number of social justice groups on campus.

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 previous 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.

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 12-19, 2011, 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 15, 2011.  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.  (10)

3.     Game Day/T-Shirt Tie-Dye

On successive days, the UM community tented on the quad offering hospitality, games, crafts and other information about the community. (50).  Students also made tie-dyed t-shirts on the quad using fabric markers to add their own designs. (80)

C.    Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2011 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.     Christmas Caroling

Students went from University building to building caroling and singing songs of the season. (12)

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. Our hospitality coordinators Sarah Ryan (’14) and Monica Nehls (’15), helped to organize a gift bag distribution to new students during the beginning weeks of school and during finals.

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.  (50+)
  • 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 humorous 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 four 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 was implemented in the fall of 2011, involves vocational mentoring and social justice engagement.  Katy Wheat, a third year seminarian from Wesley Theological Seminary served as Associate Chaplain for Civic Life and was instrumental in directing the mentoring and engagement programs. (See www.aumethodists.org/crcl for more information).

VIII.         ADMINISTRATIVE

A.    Administrative Intern

With the permission of the Board and with the help of some funding from Foundry United Methodist Church, the Chaplaincy offered an administrative internship to a student during the Spring 2012 semester. The administrative intern performed administrative and office support activities for the campus ministry, including fielding telephone calls, word processing, basic bookkeeping, data entry, filing, and preparing mailings. In February 2012, Ms. Angela Budzinski began work as the administrative intern freeing me up to focus on other aspects of the ministry and to better exercise self-care.

IX.   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 2012-2013, 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.  Student leadership remains committed to increasing the number of service opportunities available to the congregation.

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 2012-2013, we hope to continue the vocational mentoring and engagement pieces and add to it an undergraduate certificate in Religion and Civic Life.

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 2012-2013 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] This sermon was preached by Bishop John Schol.

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.

 

2010 Annual Report

to the Committee on Higher Education and Campus Ministry
July 2009-June 2010

I. GOALS FOR THE 2009-2010 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our eighth year as a full-time United Methodist campus ministry at American University. In this year, we hoped to continue to foster ministries of spiritual discipline and development, through the continued development in the number of small groups and student led Bible studies. Another priority was to develop our relationships with our local church partners. We also hoped to continue growth in attendance in worship and involvement in leadership. We were in large measure successful in these endeavors.

II. FAITHFUL CELEBRATION

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 2009-2010 Academic Year, our Sunday attendance started off very strong and remained so throughout the year. We ended the year with an average of 41, a 14% increase from 2008-2009 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 (1,337) and the healing service (449) representing 12% and 24% increases respectively over the previous year.

Attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was very high, in some cases the highest ever (indicated by an asterisk (*)). Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events for the 2009-2010 AY: Ash Wednesday (49*); Palm Sunday (43); Maundy Thursday (32*); Good Friday (29); Easter Vigil (26); Easter Sunrise (18); and Easter Sunday worship (83*). Our good numbers this year were the result of a major outreach that we initiated using flyering, table displays in Mary Graydon, and signs on the quad listing all our Holy Week services.

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.

3. Sermon Series

I offered a sermon series in the fall entitled “Bible Stories for Grown-ups” that explored the deeper meaning behind familiar stories from Sunday School or Veggie Tales. Among the stories covered were Adam & Eve, Noah’s Ark, Joseph, Esther, Jonah, and Daniel. In the spring semester, I offered a sermon series entitled “Proclaiming a Fast” exploring those things which we tend to overdo: work, connectivity, consumerism.

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 2009-2010 the average attendance was 14, a 16% increase from 2008-2009 and is the highest such average on record.

C. Other Services

Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated with the Catholic chaplain’s office, however as with the year before, the service at the law school conflicted with the Catholic noon mass and so I conducted the WCL service by myself. In addition, for the sixth year in a row, we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist-Protestant students unable to make the earlier services. Attendance: 49*.

In Fall 2009, our Thursday healing service was again modified to be a more interfaith commemoration of the September 11th attacks. Attendance: 24.

Students reprised the Veterans Day “Remembrance Day” Vigil, placing 4,500 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 2010, members of the community participated in an interfaith vigil for the victims of the Haiti earthquake, sharing prayers or reflections. The event was organized by the University Chaplain. (100)

We offered a baccalaureate service for the sixth 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: 129*.

III. FAITHFUL RELATIONSHIPS

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 (37.5%) 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.

Fellowship remains strong following Sunday services and community dinner has likewise seen a resurgence following the weekly United Methodist Student Association meetings on Thursday evenings.

1. Fellowship Dinners

Following on the practice established in 2006-2007, we continued occasional fellowship dinners following worship. Some were cooked by the students, others were pizza dinners, and others were cooked by local congregations.

We have continued with fellowship dinners following worship. Some have come in the form of a cookout on the steps, chili prepared by students, or dinners provided by a local church (Metropolitan Memorial UMC, Dumbarton UMC). The number of these dinners has increased in each semester. 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 2009-2010 Academic Year with an active welcome week program consisting of a game night and ice cream social (co-sponsored with Chi Alpha) (23), nighttime tour of the Monuments (7), participated in distributing cupcakes at a Kay event (300), and a movie night ( Slumdog Millionaire , 29), and s’mores (100). Tied into this promotion were events during September such as, a beach party (100), a hike in the Rock Creek Park (13).

D. Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 Slumdog Millionaire, Gran Torino, The Lemon Tree, Taken, Star Trek, Frost/Nixon, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and The Sandlot. 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: 21.

E. Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 18-29, 2009 at the Shenandoah cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge. Nineteen (19) students attended, with a number of freshmen participating. In the spring of 2010, 10 students attended a planning and visioning retreat at West River Camp.

F. Fall Outings

Fifteen (15) students participated in a fall outing to Homestead Farms in Poolesville, MD. In addition, a smaller group made an outing to the Maryland Renaissance Festival (4).

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 24.

The fall party was such a success it was reprised in the spring semester for Valentine’s Day. Attendance: 18.

H. Quad Sitting Ministry

A ministry of hospitality and fellowship: the chaplaincy provided blankets for sitting on the quad, extension cords for laptops, and free snacks and sodas. Students would use the opportunity to study in the fresh air. A dozen or more students took advantage of the opportunity.

I. Other Fellowship Opportunities

  • Welcome Week programming, August 16-23, 2009
  • Fellowship Dinner following Worship provided by MMUMC, August 30, 2009 (45)
  • Outing to Renaissance Festival, October 17, 2009 (4)
  • Dinner and Movie Outing to “Where the Wild Things Are”, October 23, 2009 (6)
  • Fellowship Dinner provided by MMUMC, October 25, 2009 (40)
  • Fellowship Dinner provided by Dumbarton UMC, November 8, 2009 (40)
  • Thanksgiving Dinner, provided by our Lutheran Chaplain (44)
  • UMSA Christmas Dinner at UM Chaplain’s house, December 5, 2009 (15)
  • “Hypothetical” Christmas Party, December 10, 2010 (26)
  • Methodist Mardi Gras: Shrove Tuesday party with pancakes, etc. (11)
  • Fellowship Dinner provided by MMUMC, February 21, 2010 (25)
  • Fellowship Dinner on “Bring a Friend to Church” Sunday, February 28, 2010 (30)
  • Fellowship Dinner provided by MMUMC, March 21, 2010 (30)
  • Easter Dinner, prepared by students in honor of baptism of Kathleen Kimball and Ethan Goss, April 4, 2009 (53*)
  • Barbecue and Movie Night, April 16, 2010 (25)
  • Annual Eat at Joe’s Cookout, April 25, 2010 (39)
  • Senior Farewell Cookout and UMSA Talent Show, May 2, 2010 (40)
  • Senior dinner: I took the graduating seniors to dinner at Lebanese Taverna, May 5, 2010, (11)

IV. FAITH DEVELOPMENT

A. Baptism and Christian Initiation

Mr. Ethan Goss and Ms. Kathleen Kimball were both baptized and received into membership in The United Methodist Church on Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010 by profession of faith.

B. Covenant Discipleship

We had two regular covenant discipleship meetings every week. The CD groups were organized by one of our seminary interns.

C. Practical Christianity

One of our sophomores, Jennifer Kinne continued to demonstrate great leadership in taking charge of this program and has developed excellent study outlines and had a number of very successful discussions, which she did throughout the year, often following the themes of the Sunday worship. Average attendance: 5.

D. Bible Studies

1. Theology with Fries and a Soda

Every week, I modified my weekly Bible study in the Tavern called “Scripture with Fries and a Soda” in the fall of 2009 and became a weekly discussion group on theology, called “Theology with Fries and a Soda” in which writings of great theologians were posted on the website for students to read and then discussed over lunch in the Tavern.

2. Membership Classes

I provided a course for students wishing to enter into Christian faith and join the church. In the Spring of 2010, two students participated in the class and were baptized on Easter Sunday.

3. 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.

4. Summer Bible Study

In the summer of 2010, 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 2010): 9.

E. Women’s Bible Study

Beginning in the Spring 2007 semester, a number of young women decided to form a Women’s Group to study scripture, support one another, and reflect upon the meaning of being a young woman of faith. This group continued throughout the 2009-2010 Academic Year as a Women’s Bible Study led by one of our pastoral interns. Average attendance: 5-6.

F. Justice Walking Group

In the 2009-2010 academic year, students attempted to organize a J-Walking group (Justice Walking) which is an intentional living small group focusing on justice in one’s personal life, inner repose and reflection, as a counterpart to social justice. While there was some interest in it, not enough students were able to make the commitment and the idea was deferred. The student leader involved indicated she would try again the following year.

G. Interfaith Dialogue

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

H. Conference Participants

One of our students attended Student Forum in May 2010. Students also participated other connectional ministry. A number of our students continued leadership in various United Methodist student groups, including UMSM, RMN, and MoSAIC.

I. Counseling

As United Methodist chaplain, I have offered counseling services to the university and has 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 2010, I reprised a support group for graduating seniors. It met every Saturday off campus at coffee shops and other restaurants in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Average attendance: 4-5.

J. Discussions & Panels

  • Film and Discussion: Screening of Pray with Africa , and discussion with filmmaker and speakers on stories of hope and change in Africa (14)
  • I participated in an interfaith discussion on the afterlife sponsored by the Kay Interfaith Council. (13)
  • Discussion: “Human Rights in Israel/Palestine”, Discussion with panelists about human rights issues in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (20)
  • Interfaith Discussion: Suffering, organized by Kay Interfaith Council (21)
  • Discussion: Veterans’ Rights. Students from AU Student Veterans participated in a discussion on veterans issues as part of our The Other Six Days program. (28)
  • Discussion: “Liberation Theology”. A panel discussion and Bible study exploring different aspects of liberation theology through our The Other Six Days program. (10)
  • Interfaith Discussion: Sex and Religion. Organized by the Kay Interfaith Council. (18)
  • Interfaith Discussion: Religion and the Holocaust. As part of our participation in Holocaust Remembrance Week, I facilitated a discussion the role religion played in the Holocaust and how religion was affected by the Holocaust. (24)
  • Discussion: Disabilities and the Student Experience. Panelists discussed the impact on students of unseen disabilities. (40)

K. 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 spring of 2010, I was asked to be a last minute replacement for the instructor of a course entitled “Religion and Social Justice” an upper level course of about 25 students.

Beginning in the fall of 2010, I will also be teaching a course in New Testament, being offered for the first time in nearly a decade.

V. FAITHFUL SERVICE

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 2009-2010 included science and religion, climate change, Israel-Palestine, veterans rights, liberation theology, disability rights. 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 Intern

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 2000-2010 were Kurt Karandy (’11), Kristen Walling (’10), and Lauren Allen (’12).

C. Social Justice Committee

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

D. Service Projects

  • In September 2009, the Committee on Social Justice presented a film and discussion on Africa entitled “Pray with Africa” in conjunction with the filmmakers and representatives from the General Board of Global Ministry. (14)
  • November 2009, students placed our memorial vigil to the fallen soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on the quad.
  • November 2009, Students assembled Christmas gift boxes for needy children to donate through Operation Christmas Child . (8)
  • In March 2010, students sold fair trade chocolate to raise money for the United Methodist Committee on Relief for its work in Haiti and Chile.
  • In April 2010, students participated in the reading of names of victims of the Holocaust organized by the Jewish Student Association.

E. Alternative Spring Break

In the 2003-2004 academic year, our ministry added an Alternative Spring Break program. Based upon a similar program at Howard University, we planned a week of service and learning in Cherokee, North Carolina. In 2010, we took a somewhat smaller than usual group of 9 to Cherokee again for a week of service, reflection, and learning.

F. Participation with other Groups (Points of Contact)

  • The UMSA participated in a number of events with other groups, including EcoSense, Queers and Allies, the GLBTA Resource Center, and a number of social justice groups on campus.

VI. FAITH SHARING

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.

Students can also use the website to update their directory information 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 15-20, 2009, 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 15, 2009. Approximately 300 people are served at these events, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address. For the fifth year in a row, it took place during Methodist Heritage Week.

2. Demonstration of Wesley’s Preaching

Once again, I dressed up as John Wesley and delivered the sermon “The One Thing Needful”. A discussion followed. (7)

C. Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2009 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, 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.

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 schedule 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.

G. Study Breaks

  • Partnering with the Hillel Foundation and the University Chaplain’s office, I 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. Attendance: 140.l
  • 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 has been 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, quartersheet mailings to campus mailboxes.
  • The campus ministry maintains a presence on Facebook and other online media.

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

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 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.

VIII. GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A. Continue to Create a Culture of Spiritual Development

In 2010-2011, we hope to continue to try to develop ministries of spiritual discipline and development. We would like to continue to build greater resources for spiritual development.

B. Increase Service Opportunities

Our community’s commitment to social justice has been strong, but there is a perceived need to have more direct “hands-on” service opportunities in what Wesley would have termed a ministry of “mercy”. We hope through engagement of incoming students and the fostering of a service coordinator to expand those opportunities.

C. Create a Culture of Engagement in Faith

One of the long-range goals of the community is to assist American University in exploring the intersections of faith and public life. We hope to help along a process of exploration of the ways that people of faith can turn their faith into action, and that people concerned with social justice can mine the depths of the theological and religious traditions. This is an important element of vocational discernment and of effective social change for the transformation of lives.

The long-range vision is for the creation of Center for Religion and Civil Life to be a joint venture of the UMC and AU. We plan to begin this process with the first stage: the provision of an associate chaplain to help with vocational discernment and social justice engagement. In 2010-2011, in partnership with Metropolitan Memorial UMC, we hope to initiate this program.

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

Following up on the examples provided by the fall sermon series of 2008 and 2009, 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, including sermon series called “10 Things I Hate About Church” and “Journeying Through Lent with U2”.

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

2005 Annual Report

to the Committee on Higher Education and Campus Ministry
Academic Year 2004-2005 (Revised February 2006)

I. GOALS FOR THE 2004-2005 ACADEMIC YEAR

This was our third year being a full-time United Methodist campus ministry on the American University campus.   Our primary goal during this first year was to raise the profile of the United Methodist presence on the campus and to create a dynamic and stable community of faith available to AU students.   In our second year (2003-2004), we hoped to define that raised profile as a community committed to a radical inclusiveness and with a solid identity.   In our third year (2004-2005) we hope to further define our community as one dedicated to living an active faith and committed to social justice.   As described below, I believe that these goals have been achieved or are in the process of being achieved.

II.  WORSHIP

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.

1.  Attendance and Stability

We made great strides in 2002-2003 in terms of attendance.   Unfortunately, we were not able to follow up on that in 2003-2004.   A number of efforts were made to change this trend, but it remained largely the same throughout the year.   Our average attendance in 2002-2003 was 26.   In 2003-2004 our average attendance was 23.

In the 2004-2005 academic year, we made a much more aggressive attempt to reach freshmen during Welcome Week.   We had an event scheduled for every day of the week.   We have noticed much greater freshman involvement in our activities and in our worship life.   As a result, our average attendance during this academic year jumped to 30.

In addition to the increased average attendance, attendance at Lenten and Holy Week events was much higher than in previous years.   Previous years had seen the addition of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday services–the 2004-2005 AY saw the addition of a midnight Easter Vigil that was well attended.   Attendance for Lenten and Holy Week events:   Ash Wednesday (40); Palm Sunday (50); Maundy Thursday (28); Good Friday (29); Easter Vigil (22); Easter Sunrise (13); and Easter Sunday worship (48).

2.  Worship Committee

One of the greatest improvements has been the addition of a worship committee.   The worship committee is entirely student led in consultation with me.   The committee bases its work on the sermon outlines that I have prepared and the themes for the day.   In consultation with the musicians, it determines the hymns, it picks the prayers and other worship elements.   It has been a remarkable instrument for getting student involvement in the worship life of the community.

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.   Our average weekly attendance for the 2003-2004 academic year was 8 people.   In 2004-2005 the average attendance was 9.

C.  Other Services

We coordinated a Remembrance Day service on Veteran’s Day 2004 at which we read the names of US servicemen and women who have died in Iraq, along with the names of other foreign service personnel and Iraqi civilians.

Ash Wednesday services are usually coordinated by the Catholic chaplain’s office and consist of a noon and evening mass and ecumenical services at the law school and the Kay Chapel.   This year, for was the second year that we provided a late night (11 pm) Ash Wednesday service for the benefit of United Methodist/Protestant students unable to make the earlier services.   Attendance: 28.

The United Methodist community offered a Baccalaureate Service, May 7, 2005, the Saturday before graduation.   It was the first such Baccalaureate Service in years (the previous ones had been offered by the University itself).   Thirty graduates and their families attended.

III.  SOCIAL JUSTICE

A.  The Other Six Days

The most significant development in our social justice ministry was the creation in the 2004-2005 year of an ongoing ministry called “The Other Six Days.”   The aim of this program is to connect particular Sunday worship with opportunities for education and service.   In September, for example, students had an opportunity to visit Sojourner’s magazine to learn about anti-hunger efforts.   Also in that month, students gathered to make sandwiches and distribute them along with fruit and a bottle of water to the homeless of Washington.   These two events were tied to a Sunday worship service devoted to hunger issues at which the sermon was entitled “Loaves and Fishes” and addressed the Christian response to hunger. October addressed homelessness and November is addressing AIDS.   In the spring semester, we addressed racism, domestic violence, and environmentalism.

B.  Alternative Spring Break

In the 2003-2004 academic year, our ministry added an Alternative Spring Break program, and reprised the program in 2005.   We had 16 students participate in the program, staying at Cherokee UMC and working during the day at Cherokee Challenge, a leadership program for Cherokee youth. We also participated in a Potato Drop from the Society of St. Andrew at Cherokee UMC. We were able to meet members of the community–including the Principal Chief of the Tribe, participate in a sweat lodge ritual, and to explore the town.   It was a very successful program and will be continued in 2006.

C.  Social Justice Intern

In the spring 2004 semester, we welcomed Ms. Laura Peck as our social justice intern.   A senior at Hanover College in Indiana, she worked with us via the Washington Center. In August, she began studies at Wesley Seminary (this development itself being a consequence of her work with us). She was succeeded by Lindsey Kerr, a student in the campus ministry. This represents the creation of a ‘peer ministry’ of sorts within the campus ministry.

D.  Other events

IV.  EDUCATIONAL & DISCIPLESHIP OPPORTUNITIES

A.  Baptism and Christian Initiation

We were happy to welcome Colin Mattoon into membership in The United Methodist Church.   Colin joined in November 2004.

B.  Covenant Discipleship

We had a regular covenant discipleship meeting every week.   The current CD group is being organized by our current Wesley Seminary pastoral intern, Angela Harris.

C.  Wednesday Afternoon Bible Studies

Every Wednesday afternoon in the Davenport Coffee Lounge, students and the chaplain meet to discuss the lectionary text for the week in a devotional setting.

D.  Friday Chaplain’s Study

Friday afternoons at 1 pm, the Chaplain continues his in-depth text study.   In the fall of 2004 the group is studying the book of Genesis.   The interfaith text study is on hiatus until a new time can be worked out.

E.  Interfaith Dialogue

The UMSA and The UM Chaplaincy are 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.

F.  Conference Participants

One of our students attended Student Forum in Arkansas in May 2004, as well as a student from George Washington University who is part of our extended family.   In addition, we had a number of students who attended the NEJ conference in Fall 2004.

V.  COUNSELING

The United Methodist chaplain has offered counseling services to the university and has counseled a number of students from within and without the community.   In contrast with a number of other ministries on campus, 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, but who believe they are likely to be better received there than in their own.

VI.  SOCIAL EVENTS & FELLOWSHIP

A.  Welcome Week

We began the 2004-2005 year with an active welcome week program consisting of a walking tour of the monuments, a movie night, a wiffleball game, a beach party, and s’mores.   Tied into this promotion were events during September such as a hike at Great Falls, MD and the baseball outing (see below).   While freshman participation varied at the events, we learned that the number of events had created a “buzz” about the activities of the United Methodist community on campus.

B.  Student Night at Camden Yards

On September 10, 2004, we took students to Camden Yards on $5 student night to watch the Yankees-Orioles game.   2004 was the third year we have done this program.   It was tied in with our Welcome Week promotion, which, combined with the market appeal of the New York Yankees, brought 45 students.   In the end, we rented a bus from Leonard’s Transportation services.   The event was a great success and we even saw some baseball fans at worship the following Sunday.

C.  Monthly Methodist Movie Night

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 School of Rock, Mystic River, Casablanca, Saved!, .   Viewing of the film is always followed by a 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.

D.  Fall and Spring Retreats

Our fall retreat was held on the weekend of September 17-18, 2004 at the cabin of University Chaplain Joe Eldridge in the Shenandoah.   Attendance was up during 2004-2005 with a large number of freshmen participating.

E.  Fall Outings

For the past two years, we have had a fall outing to Cox Farms in Centerville, Virginia.   The outing involves hay rides, petting zoos, and large slides and other fun things to do.

F.  Pancake Study Break

On the first night of the two-day pre-exam study period for both fall and spring semesters, the United Methodist Community, along with other ministries on campus, participated in a pancake study break coordinated by the University Chaplain.   We helped to cook pancakes for nearly 300 hungry students from 11 pm to 2 am.

VII.  OUTREACH & MARKETING

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://archives.aumethodists.org/worship/sermons/. Students can also use the website to update their directory information and participate in community polls.

For the past year and a half, we have had arrangements through Network for Good to receive online donations, which visitors to our website can make online through the services of that non-profit organization at no cost to us.

B.  Feed the Quad

We sponsored our annual free picnic and cookout for the AU Campus on September 21, 2004.   Around 350 people were served at this event, receiving AU UMC cups with worship times and our web address.

C.  Orientation

We had a regular presence at summer orientation 2004 and added an average of 45 names and e-mail addresses to our mailing list.   We have 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 imprinted lanyards and ‘Flaming Cupcakes’ (hostess cakes with a candle stuck in them).   “Flaming Cupcake” is the nickname of the Kay Spiritual Life Center, a round building with a flame on the roof.   The UMSA also tabled in the campus center and offered hot chocolate on the quad during February.

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.

VIII.  ECUMENICAL AND INTERFAITH RELATIONS

As part of the United Methodist campus ministry’s stewardship of the main Protestant worship service on campus, we help to promote and facilitate events and programs for the other Protestant ministries on campus.   We have helped to promote the Baptist Student Fellowship’s Non-Violence Workshop, Episcopal communion services, Episcopal discussions, and a Baptist presentation of a Non-violence documentary.

IX.  GOALS AND PLANS FOR THE COMING YEAR

A.  Create a Community of Hospitality

B.  Partnerships with other Campus Groups

Our “The Other Six Days” program provides us not only with the opportunity to explore diverse issues, but also to find natural allies on those issues among existing groups on campus.   (For example, partnering with the Women’s Initiative when focusing on domestic violence next spring). We hope to partner with these groups as we seek to relate these issues to Christian faith.

C.  Develop Christian Leaders

It is my hope that we will continue the trend we have begun in fostering Christian leaders.   As we have seen students take responsibility for worship and social justice, it is my hope that we will see students take leadership of compassion, devotion, and hospitality ministries.

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