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Calvin Names 2007 Jubilee Fellows
February 27 , 2007

A group of 12 students has been named 2007 Jubilee Fellows at Calvin College, a program that is part of the college's Lilly Vocation Project.

The program is designed for promising students who are strongly inclined toward spiritual leadership and Christian ministry. Jubilee Fellows receive a $4,000 fellowship for their senior year of college (they commit to mentor or lead a Calvin ministry-related opportunity their senior year). They also are supported for summer ministry internship living expenses and reimbursed for travel expenses to and from their summer internship site.

The 2007 Fellows are an exceptional and unique group says program coordinator Kary Bosma of Kristen Buurma, Brenda Katerberg, Jana Kelder, Jackie Klamer, Katie Klok, Peter (Alex) Kontras, Matt Landheer, Scott Page, Kyle Sandison, Laura Sizemore, David Song and Julianne Wolfe (see bios below).

The fellows, who were chosen last fall, currently are taking a spring semester class that examines the lives of theologians and church leaders throughout history. Through the class, they also meet regularly for supper with current ministry leaders from all over the world.

For video of a prior Jubilee Fellows speaking about the class and the summer internship program, see the Jubilee Fellows program website

“Much of it is discussion among Jubilee Fellows about topics in ministry,” Bosma says of the class. “It opens their eyes to see ministry as they may not have before.”

The class is preparing the group for summer 2007, when they will be placed in ministry internships at churches and organizations throughout the U.S. and elsewhere. They will be spread from New York to California, from Washington to Nova Scotia, and the ministry internships will be as varied in focus as they are in location.

Says Bosma: "We plan to place students in congregational care, youth ministry, social outreach, and preaching and worship-related settings.”

Though this year’s crop of fellows is very diverse, Bosma believes they have several qualities in common.

“They’re all very thoughtful and passionate about serving God through whatever gifts they have," she says, "whether it’s teaching, people skills, languages that they’ve learned. They all seek to use what they’ve learned at Calvin in wherever God is leading them next.”

The summer internship experience will be good preparation for the Fellows, Bosma says, whatever form their ministry careers eventually take.

"A lot of it is very practical knowledge that they learn," she says. "They learn what it takes to make a Sunday worship service happen, and a lot of them gain an appreciation of the level of involvement that a church needs from its members. I think students learn that they’re called upon to do more than show up on a Sunday. We have many who organize vacation Bible school or a worship service and asking for volunteers. And they learn it takes many hands to make a program run well!”

The Jubilee experience is also a good testing ground, she believes.

“We have students who, through their experiences, confirm that they should continue on to seminary or to some other kind of full-time ministry in a church. And then there are students," she says, "who realize that, although they are not called into a full-time ministry position, they are called to be active members of the church family that they’re a part of.”

A recent hire to the Jubilee program, Bosma is happy to be part of watching vocation take shape: “I’m excited to help students on their journey to discover what God is calling them to do in his kingdom."

BIOS OF 2007 CALVIN COLLEGE JUBILEE FELLOWS

Buurma, a junior from Willard, Ohio studying elementary education, math and Spanish, says she first considered ministry after spending the summer following her freshman year serving in A Christian Ministry in the National Parks (ACMNP). Though her parents served three years as missionaries and her grandmother worked for Wycliffe, Buurma once felt disqualified from ministry because of her gender. “However I have been learning a lot about what scripture says about women in ministry and also that God has given me gifts that would be useful in ministry,” she says.

Though she originally considered being a teacher for the children of missionaries, Buurma now has other thoughts: “I have also felt God stirring my heart to the idea of studying more theology and doing ministry beyond just working with kids.”

“I have been interested in the ministry since I was very young,” says Brenda Katerberg, a junior from Kettering, Ohio, studying French, international development and linguistics. “I go to a Christian and Missionary Alliance church back home, and I loved to hear the stories of missionaries, particularly those in Africa. I have been involved with several overseas mission trips as well as volunteering in the states, and I love ministering to people, especially cross-culturally.” Katerberg, who spent January interim in Mali, West Africa, is viewing a possible ministry career in biblical translation or church planting.

She also wants to work closer to home: “This summer I would like to be involved with a church's outreach-diaconal ministry, specifically reaching out to the community and casting vision for the congregation to reach out and help meet others needs.” She is excited about the opportunity to serve as a Jubilee Fellow. “I hope that this program will help to guide me as I seek to follow God's calling on my life. I hope that through it I will learn more about what it means to be in ministry, particularly in North America.”

“I applied sort of as a way to see where God was leading me,” says Jana Kelder a junior from Joliet, Illinois. “I was actually debating between this program and a choir tour to China, and I wasn't sure into which direction God was nudging me, and I figured I'd never find out if I didn't apply.” she says. “So, I did, and here I am.”

A vocal performance major who minors in music in worship, Kelder has always had an interest in ministry: “My dad is a pastor, and my mom was heavily involved in children's ministry and small group ministry in our church, so church life was always a huge part of my life growing up. I've always loved working in the area of worship. Only this summer was I really convicted in a calling to professional ministry.” Kelder hopes to continue ministering through music: “I've been singing pretty much as long as I could talk-and what better way to use those gifts and passions than to lead others in worshipping God?”

For senior Jackie Klamer, a student of English, geography and environmental studies from Grand Rapids, the Jubilee Fellows Program is a way to explore a sense of vocation she has had since she was a child: “When I was nine years old, I told my aunt, who is a missionary, that being a missionary was what I thought God wanted me to do. And, surprisingly, this observation I made as a nine-year-old has been continually encouraged by God.”

Klamer’s view of mission work has undergone a transformation during her time at Calvin, which included a semester abroad in Honduras, studying social justice, sustainable community development, and human rights. “Especially as compared to my ideas of life as a nine-year-old, my view of the role of missionaries has grown deeper and wider with each new experience,” Klamer says. “First, it seems to me that every Christian is called to be a missionary, no matter where they are or how old or young they are. And, secondly, my idea of ‘mission-work’ now includes this role of pursuing shalom here in this world, sharing the love of God with people in this world through physical, social, and spiritual redemption, even though all these things will ultimately and completely be brought about when Christ returns.”

Katie Klok, a sophomore English major from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, formerly had mental barriers about ministry: “In fact, for the first 18 years of my life, when the thought of a ministry career would come to mind, I would mentally trample it,” she says. “I have grown up as the daughter of a pastor and I have seen what goes on in my dad's job. It has always seemed hard and draining. It has only been in this past year that I have said ‘yes’ to what I believe to be God's calling me into ministry.”

Klok is now drawn to a career in pastoral ministry, and she’s excited about developing her gifts as a Jubilee fellow: “I know I want to enter the ministry, and the Jubilee Fellow program seemed like a good way for me to experiment with what type of church I would be good in,” she says. “I was also attracted to the idea of sharing and growing with others who, like me, are seeking direction from God-in both life issues and direction for ministry. Even in our interviews to become Jubilee Fellows, I was excited to talk with these peers. They all have mature and profound observations about God, and I believe that our time together will enrich my own faith life.”

Alex Kontras, a junior from West Chester, Ohio, has felt called to ministry since his junior year in high school. A sociology major with minors in urban studies and religion, Kontras feels called to the city: “My strongest passions are ministry in urban settings and churches that are strongly tied to their communities-the parish model. I feel most strongly called to churches in urban settings whose congregation resides in the church’s neighborhood.”

Kontras, who has participated in two other internships, looks forward to his time as a fellow: “The internship over the summer and the service work in the fall will help me get my hands dirty, so to speak. I look forward to gaining experience in the field I hope to be a part of. Right now I know so little about how I am to work for the Kingdom of God. This program will help me to find my bearings and begin to work toward that calling.”

For Matt Landheer, a junior religion major from Caledonia, Michigan, being a Jubilee fellow is an opportunity to stretch: “I’ve always had a joy for ministry, and lately I’ve been looking for some way that I could serve our Lord that would push me a bit, take me out of my comfort zone. I’m very excited about being pushed to do something different and farther away-to step out of my bubble of family and friends and do something more.

“I’m very interested in working with people, helping and comforting them through life’s challenges and their faith walks,” Landheer says. “I’m hoping to discern what exactly will be the best way for me to do this, whether it be pastoral care or a different area of ministry. I would like to be better equipped to live my life and follow my vocation in ministry with a courageous and willing heart.”

Scott Page, a junior from Glen Ellyn, Illinois, studying religion, Greek and psychology, feels that his gifts are suited to pastoral ministry. “I am eager to see how my sense of call develops as I get a taste for pastoral work.” Page is particularly curious about the practicalities of being a pastor: “What is it exactly that pastors spend the bulk of their time doing?” he asks. “What is it that causes the bulk of pastors to burn out so quickly, and would I be susceptible to it? If so, how can I keep from being burned out on pastoral work if I become a pastor?”

Page is eager to develop both as a minister and a Christian. “I want to find out how to be better at being loving and supporting to everyone around me,” he says, “and I want to be further led in my direction of ministry.”

Kyle Sandison, a junior English major from Grand Rapids who minors in religion and youth ministry, has had an interest in ministry since high school. “I was involved with my church's youth group and also helped lead worship occasionally with the church worship team,” Sandison says. “I thought it would be great to work full time as a youth minister and worship leader, but never really considered it as a realistic possibility until my first few semesters at Calvin.”

Sandison, who has had previous experience as a Worship Apprentice at Calvin (another effort of the Lilly Vocation Project, which develops students as on-campus worship leaders) hopes to clarify his sense of calling as a Jubilee Fellow: “I believe that all Christians are called to be ministers of the gospel of one sort or another. I felt that the Jubilee Fellows program would be helpful for me to determine what sort of ministry that would be for me. I am excited to have the opportunity to live in a new place, meet new people, develop meaningful relationships with them, and learn more about God's church, he says.

Sandison’s ministry horizons are broad: “I have the most experience working with music and worship ministry, and I am interested in pursuing that aspect of ministry further. I have also recently become more and more interested in urban ministry. I am convinced that God loves community, and the city is a place where many unique communities can co-exist and thrive with each other. I am excited to see the ways in which churches are focusing their ministry on interacting with and developing relationships with the surrounding communities.”

Laura Sizemore, a junior from Sheboygan, Wisconsin studying elementary education, and science, has a passion for her chosen field: “I am sold out on teaching,” she says, “and can't wait to work in a school, but I am also very interested in working in a church, partnering with church ministries, and serving youth in missions. I guess I just have to wait to see where God takes these passions He's instilled in me, but the Jubilee Fellows program seemed like a great way to learn more about working in a church.”

A self-proclaimed “preacher’s kid,” Sizemore likes the adventure that comes from living a life of faith: “Such a huge part of following God is knowing that you don't know where He will lead you and what He will teach you,” she says. “I just want to learn God. I want to learn what He wants from me and how He wants me to be me better. And of course I'm excited to learn how to use my gifts and develop, mature, and grow through the challenge this internship creates. The learning is what I'm most excited about!”

David Song, a junior from Aliso Viejo, California studying religion and communications, hopes that the Jubilee Fellows Program will confirm his call to youth ministry: “Growing up around my grandfather and my father, both senior pastors, influenced me significantly of my wanting to be in ministry. From an early age, I dealt with the responsibilities of leading the people around me at a young Christian Reformed church that my father had planted, and I fell in love with ministry. I was taught and challenged to lead praise and bible studies from early high school years and experienced growing zeal for God and for the church’s faith and growth.”

Song, a pre-seminary student, is interested in working with youth in multi-Asian congregations. “I also have a desire for working in urban areas in America and in other countries, like the Philippines and North Korea. I see Jubilee Fellows as a great stepping stone in discovering God’s plan and will for my life and ministry.”

For Julianne Wolfe, a junior from Westerville, Ohio, studying elementary education, math and English, developed an interest in ministry via teaching: “I applied for the Jubilee Fellows program after learning how much I enjoyed my summer job supervising swim lessons and coaching a swim team,” Wolfe says. “I am a secondary education major and want to explore the ways that God can use my interest in adolescents and teenagers in a variety of ways within the church.”

Wolfe is interested in working creatively in a variety of church outreaches. “Ideally, I would like to work on coordinating activities for the church, whether it is through the children's ministry, volunteer fairs, or outreach activities in the community,” she says.

~written by Calvin staff writer Myrna Anderson

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