Our Mission committee recently received this update from Jamie Noyd. She serves with InterVarsity, where she works with the Faculty Ministry Team. In that role, she develops and directs digital and in-person pilgrimage resources. Ultimately her goal is that these resources will help faculty more deeply know God’s presence in their lives and that this would encourage them to create spaces of spiritual home and community that influence the wider campus. Jamie likens these communities to pilgrimage way stations or outposts that point to the hope that comes through walking with Jesus. In addition, she continues to facilitate several faculty groups at the University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University.
May this update be encouraging and inspirational to you!
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. - Luke 18:1
With all that we hear in the news today and encounter in our daily lives, it is easy to lose heart. To wonder how our prayers have any effect. Professors have shared with me how disheartening it is to be in classrooms in which many of the students seem to have checked out. Ministry staff express similar frustrations. And when we look at the state of faculty ministry across the United States, there is a lot to celebrate, but the seeming lack of resources makes the work seem daunting.
Yet, Jesus invites us to pray and not lose heart. As the Faculty Ministry Team met last week, we were reminded that the better way of doing anything in ministry, in life, is through love - that is, through not losing heart.
A physical example of praying and not losing heart was the pilgrimage I went on last month. Along with 10 other pilgrim guides, I walked the Camino de Sonoma. This nearly 80 mile, 6 stage pilgrimage in Sonoma County, California, weaves together several stories. The stories of the Spanish and Russian Orthodox missions planted in the 1820s; of the indigenous peoples who first inhabited this land; of the vast diversity of the land itself; of God’s presence in all these stories; of stories of each of the pilgrims.
Throughout the week our guide, Adam Peacock, reminded us to think of every step as a prayer. After five miles or so, it was easy to lose heart and wonder if I could finish the day. Yet, taking one step at a time with God and others I made it to the end. As I did this alone and in conversation with others, the Spirit showed up. First, I let go of expectations for this pilgrimage and was open to what happened. Then I was blessed to hear the stories of the other pilgrims and share my own. In this sharing and walking, and in the midst of hearing the stories of the land and being immersed in its beauty, slowly I started to see how I need to release some of the stories I’ve been following the past few years and trust God more fully. This all was prayer.
In addition to the personal learnings along the way, this six day trek allowed me to talk and plan with others about next year’s Via Divina: The Way of Harmony and Shalom; to shape next June’s Journey Italy; and to consider new ways to connect with faculty in Cincinnati. Following the walk, I even got to spend some time with colleagues working at UC Berkeley and Stanford. This too was prayer.
Back in Cincinnati I’m seeking to share live and share this practice more fully with faculty, grad students, and colleagues. How is God inviting you to pray and not lose heart during this season?
Thank you to everyone who is partnering with this ministry through prayer and financial giving. We couldn't do this work without you.