Every September, hundreds of thousands of students descend upon the university campuses in Waterloo, Ont.
Lutheran Campus Ministry - Waterloo (now known as Lutheran Campus Federation of Ontario - Waterloo) welcomes students to campus life by offering a variety of programs, events and Bible studies to keep them connected to their faith. We also seek understanding of other faith traditions within the diversified community of the university by working alongside other faith groups to raise awareness of social justice issues and student concerns.
Every year LCFO-Waterloo offers an annual fall barbecue at the Lutheran Student House where we serve more than 150 hamburgers, veggie and chicken burgers! As well, we have a table on campus on Orientation Day to advertise our events and promote the Maranatha Caribbean barbecue held in the seminary courtyard.
We offer weekly Cost Suppers (a full meal for $3 prepared by local Lutheran churches) on Tuesday nights at the seminary. These suppers are a huge success! Students enjoy the “feasts” and it’s a great way to connect local churches to the students who are away from home!
These past few years, we have been building a team of “peer ministers” who connect with the student body helping to build community and promote a sense of mission on campus. This involves being present as a friend and counsellor for individuals who come from a variety of religious backgrounds. We do this through our “Awareness Events” based on social justice issues the students have expressed concern about. We have held “Human Trafficking” forums and “Refugee Rights Day” events, as well as “HIV/AIDS” Awareness events to highlight the fact that the church is in mission for those who are vulnerable. Worship services at the seminary’s Keffer Chapel coincide with these events.
Students eagerly participate in events with a social justice perspective. Recently we began a “study tour” component to our program to promote “service learning” to complement students’ academic studies. This summer, for the second year, we will travel to Moose Factory, at the southern end of James Bay, to provide a summer Bible School for the Cree children of the North.
We provide a place, and a space, to share students’ burdens as they struggle with questions of faith, meaning of life, career decisions, and broken relationships, and to promote reconciliation and healing. It is a “Ministry of Fellowship” that provides moments of community within the sometimes impersonal and overwhelming maze called the “university”!
If you would like further information regarding any of the above, please contact Patricia Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Janaki Bandara at email@example.com.
By Pastor Patricia Jackson
St. James, North Easthope and St. James, Gadshill, Ont.