University Lutheran ChurchLutheran Campus Ministry

at Arizona State University - 340 E. 15th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281-6612 (480) 967-3543 (map)
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Another School Year Past

Pastor Gary McCluskey
Pastor Gary N. McCluskey

Pastor's Notes
Gary N. McCluskey, Pastor

So, another school year is past. So, another summer is at hand. So, another fall will come. So.....

How do we approach the regular cycle of life and the regular patterns of ministry in a faith community?  Is our attitude one of "Here we go again?", or is it, "Deja vu all over again?". Perhaps we just simply slide into the routine without even thinking about it. Do we look forward to such, do we dread another year at hand, or do we actually find some excitement about it all?

Here in ULC/LCM we have routines. This has always been a place and ministry that follows the beat of the academic year. I remember reading in our files a commission to Church of the Good Shepherd (now known as University Lutheran Church) that they were given the mission to serve the community of Tempe (with Broadway as its southern Boundary in 1953) and the community of Arizona State College. We have been wed to the academic schedule ever since.

What I have noticed over the years in congregations I have been privileged to serve and others with whom I have been familiar is that two things are necessary for good community health in a church. One is people with experience in a community. The other is "new blood". Both need each other and the community needs both.  Without experienced members, there is little sense of history, tradition, and commitment. Without new members yearly cycles can become ruts; done simply for the sake of tradition itself or for the sake of simply doing something.

Here we have long-tenured members who have given much of their lives to this place, this ministry and to the people here. Here we have, each August a turn-over of about 25% or our student body as freshmen, transfer students, and grad students enter for the first time.  In my fifteen years here I have seen different communities as the gifts change from generation to generation if not from year to year. Currently we have students very gifted musically. We had a period when our student group had leaders committed to social ministry. There was a time when theatre was a gift with three music theatre majors, an ASU Pitchfork leader, and our own dinner theatres each Spring.  

What will the 2015-16 academic year bring to us?  As of yet, we have no clue. Alicia and I will head north to Campfirmation where Valley Lutheran congregations combine all their confirmation students into a week of camp. Last year there were about 150 Jr. High students there and about 20 Senior High and college student leaders. We go to put campus ministry on the radar of the Jr. High Students and to recruit those high school and college students who serve there as leaders. Last year (student Blake Petersen went along too) we got 100% of all those coming to ASU in our ministry. And all became active.  We will see what this year brings and if we can get a sense of how our ministry might be impacted by their gifts.

We do not know what the next cycle will bring. Actually we are even talking about changing things a bit for Wednesday schedule and/or worship. Stirring things up might be a good thing. We do know whoever comes, whatever gifts they have, and whatever comes, God's Holy Spirit will be just as active in this place and this ministry as it has been before. comes another summer, followed by another fall. Here comes God, active in God's Holy Spirit. 

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