12 seniors will be serving churches throughout North America this summer as part of the Jubilee Fellows program

Photo courtesy Kyle Luck.
Photo courtesy Kyle Luck.

Within a few weeks, 12 rising seniors will be spreading out through North America, developing leadership skills and providing support to churches from New York to Winnipeg.

These students will be serving the churches as interns through Calvin’s Jubilee Fellow ministry program. The internship program is designed for students of any discipline who are considering formal ministry.

The program includes a three-credit course taken during the spring semester of a student’s junior year, a 10-week ministry internship during the summer at various locations across the country and an on-campus service project during the fall of senior year.

Erik Newhouse

What will be some of your main responsibilities this summer?

I will be investing largely in the youth of the Ideal Park community of Wyoming, Mich. This will look like a variety of things — weekly events, mission trips (a week-long biking service trip and a work project cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy in New York City) and more. I will also help develop the summer Vacation Bible School (VBS) as well as a new young adult ministry in the area.

What do you think will be some challenges and some rewards from the summer?

Serving with a genuine heart can always be a challenge. There will be moments that I will daydream of the mountains back home and wish I were there riding my bike through the desert — but that is not ultimately why I am here. Ideal Park CRC is in a process of renewal, and I get to see the Body of Christ in action —  not letting the brokenness of our own human selves stop us from restoring this world to its beautiful and glorious state. Why would I want to give that opportunity up?

How did you pick this location?

Most Jubilee Fellows grow up in the Midwest and therefore seek to venture out — I myself am from out West and thought, ‘Well hey, why not stay here!’ I have spent three years of college in Grand Rapids, but there is so much to Western Michigan culture that I have not encountered from within the Calvin experience.

What are your ideas or passions for ministry in Grand Rapids for your fall semester?

Currently, my off-campus house hosts a guys discipleship group that meets each week to challenge each other in our strengths, in our weaknesses, in our passions and in our faith. I hope to continue that next fall and hopefully contribute some of the things I learn over the summer. Also, since Ideal Park CRC is here in town, I aspire to maintain the relationships I develop in the ministry. Hopefully I can continue to participate with the youth and congregation!

Christina Pickett

What will be some of your main responsibilities this summer?

One of the biggest things I will be a part of this summer is a missions trip to Guatemala in July. We will serve alongside a team of Guatemalan doctors, a dentist and interpreters. Our role is to share the good news of Christ and pray with each person who attends the clinic. For children who attend, we will offer Bible teaching and fun activities. One afternoon we will visit an orphanage and spend time with the children there.

What do you think will be some challenges and some rewards from the summer?

It will be challenging going to a brand new place where I have zero connections. What makes it more difficult, I think, is that I am coming from a year of serving as an RA. Being an RA has been a wonderful opportunity of growth and blessings, but it is exhausting. I will have a little over a week to recharge before going to Georgia and completely immersing myself into that community. However, I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to work alongside a full staff and to be mentored by the head pastor.

Having grown up not going to church, I was never taught how to articulate my faith. It is an area that needs growth and needs to be challenged, and I know the Lord will place me in situations where I have the opportunity to share my faith. It will be my first experience intentionally sharing the Gospel — it is exciting, but also terrifying.

What were some factors in choosing your church?

I wanted a pastor who could mentor me and help me develop a solid theological foundation. Additionally, I wanted the opportunity to do intentional ministry within a broken context. Grace North provides that through the trip to Guatemala and through Impact week.

The pastor said two things that confirmed that Grace North is where the Lord was leading me. First, he told me that this would be a summer of development — I should not look at the summer and think about all the things I can do and people I can bless, but I should focus on allowing the Lord to transform me. This completely changed the way I viewed this upcoming summer. The second thing he said is, “We are all about loving each other with the love and grace of the Lord. We love people where they are at, recognizing that we are all broken and in need of love.”

Grace Kim

What will be some of your main responsibilities this summer?

As an intern, I’ll be working with the pastors — also with the pastors of Hispanic ministries — on some main events and projects at the church, including the worship. During June, I will be mainly planning and preparing for “Summer Family Nights,” which is an evening multigenerational VBS that includes the whole family, and I will also serve as a senior counselor for Camp Dunamis, a week-long camp for junior high students that focuses on racial diversity and reconciliation. Moreover, in July, I will work for a one-week camp called “Serve” for high school youth and their leaders that includes service projects, small groups, worship and a couple of fun outings.

What do you think will be some challenges and rewards from the summer?

The groups that I will be working with will vary greatly in age, ethnicity and cultural background, and while this is a stretch from my college life, it will also enrich me. I pray that all these experiences will help me to grow as a person whom God wants me to be for His work.

How did you become interested in ministry? And how did you then pick this location?

Growing up as a missionary kid in the Dominican Republic, I had spent most of my time involved in the ministry work of my parents and helping them. Through that, I realized how powerful and influential ministry is to each individual’s life and I experienced an incomparable joy in doing God’s work. Also, living immersed in different cultures from my inherited culture, I became greatly passionate about ministry for people in multicultural environment. The church that I will be working with focuses on cultural diversity and intergenerational worship, and those are one of the main reasons that I chose this church.

What are your ideas or passions for ministry in Grand Rapids for your fall semester?

Right now, I have two projects in mind, and they are both focused on the Calvin community. First, since I will be an RA in KE again next year, I am planning on developing a spiritual growth committee that leads Bible study, prayer meetings and worship nights for KE residents. Secondly, I hope to coordinate an international worship night where international students here at Calvin can share their unique way of worshiping the same God in different cultures around the world with the Calvin community and Grand Rapids.

Kyle Luck

What will be some of your main responsibilities this summer?

Some of my main responsibilities this summer will include teaching kids about gardening, participating in church services as a reader, leading morning/evening prayer, organizing lectures and preaching. In other words, I’ll be giving myself to the life of the church in a way that I never have before.

How did you become interested in ministry? And how did you then pick this location?

When I was in high school I started reading Mennonite theology, and ever since I’ve been compelled by the Christian peace tradition and theology. So, by the time I started applying for college, I knew I wanted to study religion at a Christian college. Once I got to Calvin, I picked up a philosophy major and got involved with the Congregational Ministry Studies (CMS) department.

My placement in Winnipeg was pretty last minute, actually. I was originally planning to work at St. Mary’s University Church in Oxford, but also wanted to get some more experience in a Mennonite community. Then one night, I read an article online about some “high church” Mennonites in Manitoba. As an Anglican church with many Mennonite congregants, St. Margaret’s seemed like a great fit for me. A few weeks later, I had a phone conversation with one of the parishioners, and the next day I booked my flight.

What are your ideas or passions for ministry in Grand Rapids for your fall semester?

I’m particularly passionate about the political life of the church, so I’d really like to work on a project with folks who are politically involved and concerned about society in this “time between times.” Ideally, I see myself organizing students on campus around issues that the church needs to address, and “serving” as a (sometimes) informed resource about how the church might respond. This would most likely entail (re)claiming letter-writing campaigns, petitions, forums and current events as church matter — as forms of worship, even — and attempting to engage with them in ways that are both theologically and socially responsible.

About the Author

Bekah Coggin

Bekah Coggin is the Chimes religion co-editor for the 2013-14 school year.

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