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Left to right: At California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, students work with preschoolers to design a product to increase movement skills. Students at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., place decals on storm drains to remind people not to dump toxins in the water. They also organize building materi- als and wipe down cupboards for the Habitat for Humanity Restore, which offers unused building materials for resale or use by Habitat.


ment and Service, “invites students to explore to learn more, engage more and ultimately become more excited about learning.” For its part, Lenoir-Rhyne aims to “pursue the devel-


opment of the whole person … liberate mind and spirit, clarify personal faith … build a sense of community, and promote responsible leadership for service to the world.” As Williams said, “We believe our students should leave Lenoir-Rhyne understanding their role in utilizing their knowledge and skills to help those in their community and the world who are underserved.”


Going into the world Concordia’s mission is to “prepare students to become responsibly engaged with the world”—and students do exactly that. On the first day of orientation, for example, as part of a first-year seminar every new student participates in Hands for Change, dozens of service-learning projects that meet needs all across Fargo-Moorhead. Students often say how telling it is that the first thing they do as part of their Concordia education is to leave campus and go out into the world and serve. For 15 weeks students in Concordia’s service-learning


class “Liberation Theology & Social Justice” adopt new refugee and immigrant families through Lutheran Social Service or work all-night shifts with the Church Sheltering Project, which offers homeless families overnight shelter in


churches during Minnesota’s harsh winter months. “The most meaningful part of service learning is con-


necting with those you serve alongside and among,” said Concordia student Rosina Halverson-Studer. “You have connected with a person in a way that both honors their humanity and empowers them to seek justice for themselves and others in need. … I wouldn’t trade those moments of honest, raw human connection for anything. They have taught me so much about what it means to actively live out hope.” Remember 1 John 3:17-18? It instructs: “How does God’s


love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? … Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” Service- learning is how ELCA colleges and universities teach love in action. All across the nation, ELCA students go into their communities to love and serve the entire world as Christ did, with no exceptions. Concordia student Rachel Crippen puts it best: “Service


learning taught us to begin practicing a new perspective; to learn what it means to live and love outside of the common boundaries and norms we’re typi- cally taught to follow, and instead to serve with reck- less compassion.” 


Author bio: Bussie is director, Forum on Faith and Life, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.


November 2014 49


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