Lutheran Ministries in Higher Education
The Rev. Emily Trubey-Weller, board president
The Rev. Becca Seely, executive director
The 2019-2020 academic year has been an exciting one for LMHE. Through our citywide Vine NYC campus ministry network, LMHE served students from ten colleges and universities across New York City. Our ministry branches at Queens College, in downtown Manhattan and in Morningside Heights provided weekly and monthly worship, learning and service opportunities throughout the year. Some highlights include:
Faith & Freedom Pilgrimage to the American South: We were privileged to be able to take a group of 16 students and ministry leaders on a road trip across the American South for a week over January break, to learn about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. This was a powerful opportunity to explore the intersections between faith and freedom movements, both in history and as they are playing out today. We visited Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Jackson, the Mississippi Delta, and Memphis. Continuing our learning around Christianity and racial justice, we also took a group of students to visit the Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., in April.
Food Insecurity: Through PRiSM, our campus ministry branch in lower Manhattan, we have begun seeking ways to address the increasingly pressing issue of food insecurity among college students. At the beginning of the school year, we collaborated with SAFH at partner congregation Trinity Lower East Side to distribute groceries and food insecurity resources to new students at NYU and The New School. In the spring, we began collaborating with Trinity’s SAFH food pantry to pilot special “Student Food Pantry Hours,” which we hope will destigmatize the use of these services among a student population in need.
Congregational Partnerships: This year, LMHE began entering into intentional, mutual relationships with congregations that are committed to caring for and accompanying students and young adults. These partnerships include relationship-building, story-sharing in worship, and financial support. We are grateful to have begun partnering with St. John-St. Matthew-Emanuel in Brooklyn, Grace in Forest Hills, and Trinity in Astoria. We look forward to building more life-giving partnerships in the future, as we serve young adults as Church Together.
LMHE is unique in that it is a ministry particularly aimed at students and young adults, which is a demographic that is underserved by the Church in general and by many of our congregations. It is also unique in that it is ecumenical—although “Lutheran” is in our name, our ministries are partnership ministries with ELCA, LC-MS, Presbyterian Church (USA), and United Methodist congregations. Our ecumenical nature enables us to serve and celebrate not only folks who are part of those denominations, but others who are from other traditions or unaffiliated and feel welcome as part of a diverse group. We are also explicitly LGBTQIA+ welcoming and affirming, which is sadly a rarity among Christian ministries on college campuses in our area.
We Are Church Together
LMHE is a clear example of what it means to be Church Together. Our ministry is, in a very real sense, a ministry of the whole Church to its young adults. We only exist because of the support we receive from the Synod, local congregations, pastors, and laypeople, not just in the ELCA, but in multiple, full communion partner traditions. We work closely with these partners to share resources (time, money, space, staff, ideas, and more) in order to find ways to be the Church for students in the places they study, work, and live. We are living proof that together we not only can do more, but also be more fully who God has called us to be for the sake of the Gospel.
There are many ways to engage in the work of LMHE and help support our ministry with students, including financially, volunteering, helping us connect to your congregation, and more:
Volunteer: Do you have gifts, resources, energy and passion you'd like to share? We would love to connect with volunteers who would like to make meals for students, work with our Board of Directors, help us connect to a service opportunity, assist with events like our annual Trivia Night Fundraiser, help at one of our outreach events, meet with students interested in learning more about your line of work, speak to our students about your field of expertise or... something else! Email [email protected] if you would like to get involved in one of the ways named or if you have another great idea for how you can help!
Make a Financial Gift: This ministry simply isn't possible without the generous partnership of people like you who care about ministry with students. Consider making a one-time or monthly gift.
Congregational Partnership: LMHE is actively seeking partner congregations in three categories (Supporting, Sower, and Covenant) that care deeply about ensuring that students in New York City are invited into loving, Gospel-centered campus ministry communities. Partner congregations pray for students; refer students to The Vine; host visits from LMHE staff, board members, and students; and make a financial commitment to support campus ministry. We are seeking life-giving, mutual relationships with congregations who care about students and we would love to discuss this possibility with your congregation. Simply email Pr. Becca Seely at [email protected] to learn more.
Plan a Campus Ministry Sunday for your Congregation: Invite Pastor Becca to come preach and to bring one of our students to share the impact campus ministry has had in their life. Pray for students. Collect a special offering in support of LMHE. Write notes of support during coffee hour, for members of the congregation who are in college and graduate school. There are lots of possibilities! Email Pastor Becca at [email protected] to discuss and schedule a Campus Ministry Sunday.
Refer Students: Are there students in your congregation who attend college or graduate school in New York City? Let them know about LMHE's ministries and send us their contact information so Pr. Becca can get in touch. Email [email protected].
Stay in Touch: Sign up for our newsletter at thevinenyc.org/newsletter. Like The Vine on Facebook (facebook.com/thevinenewyork); follow us on Instagram (@vinenyc) and share our posts on your own and your congregation’s page.
Pray for Students: Please keep LMHE, its students and all who study in your prayers and lift them up in the prayer ministries of your congregation.
Thank you for working with us in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with students in NYC!