Because True North is present on three different campuses, I am sharing an overview of what happened on each campus this semester. Some events True North supports and hosts independently and some we work collaboratively with other campus ministries.
The Listening Post was held every week of the semester. While somewhat thin on volunteers,we have a committed and faithful group from four local congregations. (If you are interested in becoming a “Listener” just let me know!) Student participation is consistent week to week. We see new students each week, but we also have a group of “regulars” who stop by to share about their week. On any given week we may listen as students talk about their “new to them” car, child care concerns, how classes are going, racism, health concerns, and whatever else is on their heart and mind.
I continue to attend Stand Out meetings. StandOut is the LGBTQ+ club at GRCC. At one meeting a student came in a little late and said to me that he had been talking with students from a different campus ministry and told them about me and “gave them my name” (so I would know if they said something to me). Then he said, “I am grateful you come to our meetings”. At StandOut it can take time for students to feel like I am a safe person to talk to. This spring a student who has not spoken to me for two years will now say “hello” and talk to me. Building trust takes time and patience.
We held a weekly Bible study with two regular attenders. This semester we studied the Parables of Jesus using Amy Jill Levine’s book Short Stories By Jesus.
At the request of some nursing professors I continued to be present weekly in the Nursing Department. This semester I find that I have more conversations and prayers with faculty than students. I seldom speak with students while in the Nursing Department, however I have had students recognize me at other locations on campus and tell me they appreciate my presence on their floor. One nursing student would stop by the Listening Post to talk.
Students at GRCC are unlikely to attend programs. This reflects the lives of our students, they work, have families and attend school. Their schedules are packed.
However, we did offer two special programs in conjunction with another campus ministry. I hosted a “Science and Faith” discussion. One student came. He considers himself “deconverted” and told me he came to argue with Christians. We had a great, wide ranging conversation. He told me that he didn’t know there were “Christians like you” around.
We finished the academic year with our “Breakfast Boost”, coffee, bagels and muffins beginning at 7 am the Monday and Tuesday of finals week. This is a join event with another campus ministry at GRCC.
My work at GRCC tends to be more relational and one on one. My presence on campus at the Listening Post, in the Student Life Office, in the dining areas and at the meetings of other clubs gives me the opportunity to meet and connect with students.
People alway want to know about numbers, so here they are:
These are total student encounters.
Listening Post student (6-8 per week) 64 (7-14 per week) 122
Listening Post volunteer hours 46 39
GRCC Thanksgiving dinner 7 –
GRCC Breakfast Boost 192 190
Stand Out (8-15 per week) 97 (6-13 per week) 74
Hospital visits 4 0
Call,text,messenger 22 9
Other individual meetings 22 26