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PDF File Campus Chaplaincy - Fall 2020

Ottawa Christian Reformed Campus Chaplaincy

Newsletter Fall 2020


“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; for you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.” Psalm 61: 1-3

I find myself reading Psalms of lament during this pandemic (as part of a student Instagram initiative, I’ve been encouraging the reflection on a Psalm each Thursday @feastfaith). For many of us who have grown up in an affluent society with very little hardship, the quarantine has been a challenge. We’re not used to having freedoms limited in any sort of way. We’re having our priorities challenged (which may not be a bad thing). We’re experiencing a loss of connections. It’s a very weary experience for many, including students. As I meet with a student via Zoom or through an appropriate socially distanced coffee, one of my questions has been “what are you lamenting right now?” Inevitably it is a question that evokes heartfelt responses.
In recent times the Christian church has not always been very good at lament. Much of the contemporary music and worship theology being marketed is often based in praise and adoration. And while singing a song that is rooted in God’s power and love may provide comfort for many, at times it can also whitewash the sorrow, pain or weariness that a person or community may be feeling. An important part of worship, individual and corporate, is to be honest before God, not only in confession of sin, but of the heart’s situation. Like any good parent, God doesn’t simply want to hear “I love you” and “I’m sorry,” God wants to hear about everything, including our honest laments.
The Psalms help validate this posture of worship as a majority of the Psalms include lament. Themes of loss, lonely, confused and weary are constant in the Psalms. When meeting with students and talking about spiritual habits, I continually encourage them to consider developing a practice of reading and praying through the Psalms regularly. I encourage a practice of reading not only the Psalms that reflect your feelings today, but with a methodical rhythm because maybe today as you pray a Psalm, your prayer is empathizing with the experience of another in your community or around the world. And most of the Psalms, as they express lament, don’t provide easy answers. But most of the Psalms put the problems of our lives, our community or of the world into the hands of the one who has the power to mediate and overcome - God. The voice of Lament is, in that sense, the deep expression of trust because it acknowledges that our lives are not in our control. May the voice of lament be part of your walk with Jesus. ~ Chaplain Sid Ypma

Feast & Faith in a Virtual World

Classes at uOttawa are all virtual this year. We knew that campus ministry would have its challenges in a virtual world. In September, the student leaders of the OCRCC made a plan to meet weekly at St. Joe’s church using appropriate social distancing measures. Approximately 20 students gathered in those early weeks either outdoors or between two spaces in the church for food and fellowship. Because of restrictions, we couldn’t receive meals from our faithful church supper makers so we asked our supper makers to provide their recipes. Around the time we were ready to start cooking these meals, we were mandated by the rules of our student union club status to refrain from in person gatherings. Feast & Faith would have to meet online (boo). But what about our delicious Tuesday meals? “Let’s do meals on wheels” said one of the student leaders. We set up a cooking plan and each week we’ve been producing a meal for between 20-25 students. Different households have been sending a representative to pick up their meal from St. Joes on Tuesday afternoon. When we gather at 5:30pm, we’ve been gathering around a “shared” meal before we engage with an online guest. Thank-you to our supper makers for your recipes and donations for groceries!

Meet the Student Interns - The student leadership team has had a unique year of learning. In April we began meeting virtually to discuss what student ministry might look like in the new year. We knew there would be challenges, but his team of students worked hard to make a plan for the year. They have been creative, enthusiastic and committed to coming up with ways that they can connect with students. Whether its an online scavenger hunt, online zoo trip or Bible study and prayer, they have been very committed to finding ways to build community around faith formation. Each intern has a “care” list of students that they check in on. They meet with Chaplain Sid bi-weekly for Christian worldview study and planning. Nothing has been typical about the year and yet they have embraced the challenge.

Molly Brant is a 3rd year Political Science and Languages (French, Arabic) student from Kingston, Ontario. Molly has been helping our with our Monday evening Campus Inklings group. Kim Javier is 3rd year nursing student from Mississauga, ON. Kim has been involved in morning women’s Bible study and has been helping to lead the Tuesday morning baking group.
Miriam (Mim) Farkas is a 3rd year linguistics student from Ottawa, Philippines, Germany… she’s been around. Mim organizes our student volunteers for the St. Joe’s Supper Table and helping to lead a small group. Sam Nadurak is a 4th year music student (cello) from Winnipeg, MB. Sam has been leading a men’s Bible study and trying to perfect an Australian accent for Zoom gatherings.

Without Your Support, Most Universities Would Not Have Spiritual Services

Universities often do not fund spiritual services and chaplains. But because Chaplains are independently funded, they are also able to work with integrity from their faith traditions. Donors like yourself, help gift the University with faith leaders who can independently partner with the University to consider the spiritual needs of the University community. The Christian Reformed Church has uniquely been a leader in providing Chaplains in Canadian university settings for many decades. We want to continue being Christian leaders in places of scholarship. We know that for some of you, this economic downturn has caused a challenge in meeting your month to month needs. We want you to know that we understand, and just as you have been praying for us throughout the years, we’re praying for you. But for those of you who are less challenged financially, please remember that your giving is vital to the ongoing Christian worldview presence on Campus in Ottawa. Click DONATE NOW on the OCRCC website to make your donation online today or send your donation to OCRCC – 1475 Merivale Rd., Ottawa, ON, K2E 5N9