The dictionary defines calling as:
We have fun in our department being creative, brainstorming new ways of connecting people to one another, bringing the Seminary community different ways to interact. We love to program, to really think through what the needs and desires of the community are, and try to meet those needs through our events and programs.
We help foster connections.
We can provide the time and space to meet one another. We can help give you tools to strengthen your marriage, or your parenting skills, or your group interactions. We can help you find a small group to be a part of, or help bring you in to a giant meal with your neighbors. We can give you “adult” time by caring for your children in childcare so that you can talk to other grown-ups.
We want to provide as many opportunities as possible for you to meet new friends and connect with others in our community. We offer monthly potlucks, women’s communion, Us Time (a marriage enrichment time), and an ESL class for international spouses. We help put together small groups at the beginning of each semester for students, spouses, and couples. There is the opportunity for Spiritual Formation Mentoring. There is childcare provided for all of our events (except for potlucks) and during chapels on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We also have fun, random events like the Seeds Family Worship concert or the ATS Color Fun Run/Walk that give you the space to come out of your home and see one another. We help provide opportunities and places to interact with others.
But we cannot build community.
That is up to each one of you.
Community is built upon caring for one another, helping one another, loving one another. Community is built by sharing, by being open and vulnerable, by honest and loving communication. It is built by spending time with one another, intentional time growing friendships, cultivating deep conversations, sharing our stories. It is built by getting to know your neighbors on a deeper level that just a “hello” on the street on in the hallways. Community grows by putting trust in one another, by having a spirit of hospitality, by doing simple things with one another to connect on more than a surface level.
But it takes being bold, stepping out of your comfort zone, stepping out of your home, or study carrel, or the library. It takes boldness to step into and live into community.
It is up to every person to choose to live into community. It is a choice, and sometimes a hard one, to come and be present and to build community with one another. It can be difficult to come to things and just BE.
In our world of always doing, always going, there is something wonderful and glorious in taking the time, the moment, to just be present, to be engaged, without pretense or expectations. There will always be papers to write, places to go, and work to do. But when you can come, be with those who are in the same situation, who understand exactly what you are going through, those are the times that you can relish. That is the community we want to foster. That is the space and time that we want to give you, as a precious member of this community.
But we need you.
It takes more than a department on campus to build community. It takes more that one or two people with a heart for others. It takes you. And me. It takes us pouring into one another, being honest and real. It means risking.
Are you ready to risk? Are you ready to grow a community that cares for one another, that loves, that forgives?
Are you ready?