Declaring personal faith at the University of Chicago can raise eyebrows. But Jonathan Cheskin doesn't mind swimming against the tide as he completes his doctoral work.
Raised by a Jewish father and Methodist mother, he came to Chicago as an agnostic. Cheskin's interest in faith was awakened when he attended Augustana Lutheran Church of Hyde Park with a friend. He found the campus pastor and other students helpful and supportive. "I consider this a conversion experience," he says.
Also in Chicago, Crossings Ministry is an ELCA presence at Olive-Harvey, Kennedy-King, Malcolm X and Harold Washington colleges. Campus pastors Andrea Ng'weshemi and Cheryl Stewart Pero work with students, one of whom tells them, "You have the answers to questions I have always had. Besides, you have time for me. No one else has ever done so before."
And at University Lutheran Church, Evanston, Ill. — serving Northwestern University students — several alumnae have become church leaders and pastors, says Lloyd R. Kittlaus, the church's pastor. He thanks congregations for supporting campus ministry through benevolence.
These stories can be multiplied as 144 ordained and lay ELCA professionals throughout the country serve half time or more at 200 state and private colleges or universities. And they're making an impact.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers