Friday, December 12, 2014

Campus Minister Evan Young facilitating interfaith reflection and dialogue with students after service project with Monday Creek Restoration Project in New Straitsville.

Dear Friends of UCM,

For as long as I've served here at UCM, I have also served other organizations--either as the part-time minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, or as an intern minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Marietta. And while I've loved my involvement with congregational ministry, while I treasure all I've experienced and learned in those settings, I also have to acknowledge that this bi-vocational path I've been on comes with a cost I'm simply no longer willing to pay.

 It's been a trying, demanding, challenging semester at Ohio University, a semester that's called me to rooms and to tables and to conversations I've needed to be in, and where others have needed me. Many of you know about Megan Marzec, Student Senate, the "blood bucket" video, and the ensuing conversation on campus about Israel, Palestine, and justice. (For those who don't, I wrote a blog post about it for the Interfaith Youth Core--read it at Many of you probably remember the People's Climate March in New York City, and you might know that I went there with a busload of students UCM helped to organize. Most of you know what's going on now about Mike Brown and Ferguson and Eric Garner and John Crawford and Tamir Rice and all the seemingly endless examples that are showing us how entrenched institutional racism continues to be, and some of you know how students on this campus are coming together to respond to that.

As a campus minister, especially one serving a progressive interfaith campus ministry like UCM, I'm called to show up and to speak out at times like these. And I have. At the same time I'm called to be there for our interns, to be there for the people who come to Thursday Supper and Saturday Lunch, to be there for students who come to us for help with their own personal challenges and crises as well as their social justice concerns. And I'm called to work with and be in relationship with university faculty, staff, and administrators as we work together to shape the future of this institution. It's a full-time job at minimum--and, when I'm doing it the way I'm called, much more than that.

But I'm only a half-time campus minister. With another part-time ministry, with its own full slate of committee meetings, staff reports, pastoral care concerns, and administrative tasks. With its own expectations about which conferences I should attend, what organizations I should join, and how I should lead. Those expectations are legitimate and important and deserve everything I can give them. And, actually, more than I can give.

So, in this Christmas season, I have a wish. And UCM has a wish. And we're bringing that wish to you, because you can help.

My wish is to be, for once, ONE THING. I want to be a campus minister, through and through, and I want to serve United Campus Ministry with everything I have to give. Over the nine years I've been here, it's become absolutely clear to me that this is what I'm for, this is where I'm meant to be, doing this. So when my intern ministry ends on June 1, 2015, my wish is to be UCM's full-time campus minister.

UCM's wish, in this challenging and demanding time, is to be even more the campus ministry Ohio University needs. To continue to be at the forefront of work for social justice, but to have an even louder voice, an even greater impact, to change even more students through our interfaith bridge-building and community service work. And this semester more than ever, it's become absolutely clear that a key piece of our being more is, well, having more--more time, more presence, more service--of our campus minister.

Which brings us to you. Because embracing this larger vision of UCM is a leap of faith we need you to take with us. I've been blessed to be able to do this work because you've believed in the mission and ministry of UCM. Now, when I'm about to be able to commit even more to this work, and when UCM is committed to being and becoming more the ministry that's needed here, we need more--more of you (meaning more donors), and more from you (meaning more financial support from each of you).

You have it in your power to grant these wishes. You received this letter because you believe in what UCM does. So think about how much you'd believe in UCM doing more—and give accordingly. And then, share this letter, and your own stories and wishes about UCM, with someone you know who doesn't know about us. Help them to connect with us and with our work, and give them the opportunity to join us on this leap of faith.  And remember—UCM is a registered 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. Your contributions are tax-deductible and will do more than simply finance operating, facilities, and programming expenses. They'll help make our wishes come true.

 With warm Season's Greetings from the whole UCM family, and with all best wishes for the New Year--

Rev. Evan Young, Campus Minister