ENC Spiritual Update
Dear DS friends,
Would you kindly forward this note to the pastors of your district and to anyone who would enjoy this update from Lynne on the current spiritual life at ENC? ... Under Lynne’s leadership, I am seeing a spiritual renewal and vitality. It’s not enough to save a college. We need the re-imagined college to be an extension of the work of the local church.
To: Nazarene Pastors
From: Chaplain Lynne Bollinger via Dan Boone via your DS
RE: Update on the spiritual life on the ENC campus
We are more than half way through the school year at ENC and God is actively working the lives of our students and our employees.
Our chapel services have centered around the theme Living as the Beloved Community as we journey through the gospel of John, the beloved disciple. We are learning what it means to ground our identity as a community in the words and actions of Jesus as he lived out of his own identity as the beloved son of God. Our identity is not grounded in what we do, in what we have, in what others say about us or in what has happened to us! Our identity is found in the word God uses to name us, beloved. I’ve attached a picture of the artwork we created in chapel on January 12th. Our collective fingerprints symbolize how we are identified but not categorized or labeled…it was a tangible expression of the mark of beauty found in the beloved community (taken from the story in John 12.) We live as the beloved community and bear the marks of a beloved community by first understanding ourselves as the beloved.
We began the school year hearing the testimony from our Student Body president, Kyera “Key” Bryant of her entire sanctification experience which took place at the Pittsburgh District teen camp this past summer while she was serving on a Summer Ministries team. In a public demonstration of this significant step in her faith journey, Key shared her experience with our Board of Trustees in October and was baptized at the Wollaston Church.
By the end of October, we began hearing reports from our discipleship community groups of students who were making confessions of faith. At one student-led worship event, we had visiting parents attend and they made a confession of faith that evening. Our students are shaping the spiritual culture of our community through weekly practices of worshipping together, reading scripture together, praying together and sharing communion together.
Our lead campus pastor Stretch Dean and his wife Jill lead our weekly Late Night discipleship and worship gathering on Wednesdays at 10pm. This group continues to grow, doubling in numbers. The healthy relationship between the Office of Spiritual Development and the Wollaston Church of the Nazarene is demonstrating to our students, how we live and work together with one mission. Pastor Stretch has also begun a new discipleship group for those still exploring Christianity or those new to the Christian faith called “Hungry Rookies.” We saw 17 students join this group last semester which meets every Sunday at 11:15am in Pastor Stretch’s living room.
Chapel speakers have, for the most part, come from within the community. We have been blessed to hear from our people: Dr. Jan Lanham, Rev. Marcella Charles, Rev. Jeremy Scott, Mr. Jeff Kirksey, Dr. Boone and more. Guest speakers have included Dr. Rick Power, Rev. Shane Lima, Rev. Deth Im and graduating senior Rose Percy. In one of the most powerful chapels this year, student Raijene Murchison shared her story of vulnerability, confession, redemption and hope. This service ended with students spontaneously moving to the altar seeking God’s presence and redemption in their own lives.
Not all of our spiritual growth has occurred in celebratory gatherings. As a community, we have walked through some dark days this school year with our dear friends Jan and Sheryl Weisen. Jan developed complications in early September with his cancer diagnosis and decreased immune system. Jan was admitted to ICU in early September. Around mid-October we began bracing ourselves as a community at the very likely possibility that we were going to lose Jan. The ENC community came around this dear couple who have poured their lives into ENC. Love was shared through meals, cards, hospital visits, walking their dog Ruby, and most importantly through prayer. What happened on day 87 was simply a miracle. Jan was discharged from Brigham and Women’s Hospital on December 1st and on February 4th, he stood in front of the people at Wollaston Church and shared his miracle story with us. We are completely in awe of the miracle that has happened among us this school year and the power of a praying community. We are looking forward to hearing Jan share his story with the ENC community on Friday, March 16th in chapel.
We are looking forward to some other exciting chapel speakers and opportunities for leadership development in the spring semester. We will be taking four ENC staff and four female students to the Wesleyan Holiness Women’s Clergy Conference. These are female student leaders who have identified a clear call to ministry. Guest chapel speakers this semester include Dr. Gustavo Crocker, Teen Challenge, Dr. Scott Daniels and Dr. Rick Power . Our short-term missions program, Fusion, will send over 50 students to several locations including Boston, Houston, the Philippines, Zambia, Kenya and participate in a joint mission trip with Trevecca students in the Southern Culture and Civil Rights tour as we connect with the activity of God in contexts that cause us to cross boundaries of difference. Just this past Friday, February 9th, we set created a space to pray for the entirety of our chapel service. I witnessed groups of students, gathering at the altar with friends, sitting in the pews in groups; talking to and praying with each other. Students were pouring their hearts out in prayer for individuals and for the entire ENC community. After the chapel was over, students continued to linger in the sanctuary and pray. The thing that distinguishes us as a community, as a campus and a workplace, is our commitment to God and to each other; to live as a community of prayer and hope. It is a spiritual practice that is shaping us.
These are just some of the stories of what God has been doing among us, there are more. The Holy Spirit is shaping us, healing us, and redeeming us. We love doing life in this faith community where we are living out our holiness; loving God and loving our neighbors through the transforming power of God’s Spirit. Thanks be to God.
Other reports from the chaplain’s team with comments from Chaplain Lynne:
A student comments, “I am living into my calling and that feels like home to me.” I think this is especially important to share with churches being pastored by women and for men in leadership positions. This is really a hats off to you Dan, for encouraging women called to ministry as a vocation at both TNU and ENC. When I was a student, I could not have imagined this role being filled by a woman. With the swell of support happening right now in the CON for women in ministry, ENC stands among those Nazarene institutions who take seriously our denominational theology of women in ministry by putting words into action.
Another student writes, “I will continue to observe, reflect, pray and listen as we move into another semester leading our campus in spiritual development. My personal daily spiritual practices each morning are grounding me as I walk into each day having spent time in Scripture, prayer, and reflection for the team I lead and the work we do together.”
Assistant Chaplain Emily Ludwig:
“I’m also very excited to have so many athletes. I don’t think this is necessarily the result of any of our programming, rather the willingness of Coach and Dr. Bell to partner with us.” For the past few years, our short-term missions program, FUSION, has been offered exclusively during Spring Break which meant that most, if not all, of our student athletes were excluded from this spiritually formative opportunity. Coach Mark Bell and Dr. Catherine Mueller-Bell approached our office with an opportunity to bring students with them to Zambia, Africa during May term. The Bell’s have a deep desire to invite students into an encounter with the missional activity of God in a context that crosses a significant boundary of difference. Our athletes are excited to finally have the opportunity to participate in the Fusion program. We are happy to report that this May we will bring a team of 15 students to Ndola, Zambia, including several students from our men’s soccer team. “It was really great to have so many of our Pastoral Care Team members leading groups and to hear how successful their groups were.” Our pastoral care team led three new discipleship opportunities during the Fall Semester with intentional demographic focus. Dr. Jan Lanham led a new discipleship book study for female students out of her home every Monday evening; Pastor Mat Thomas and Mr. Jay Govoni from the Office of Student Development co-led a Lectio Divina discipleship group for male students that was held in the dorms and lastly, our Lead Campus Pastor, Stretch Dean began an new small group in his home called Hungry Rookies – a small group for students still exploring Christianity or just beginning their faith journey. We are encouraged that up to 17 young adults attended this small group throughout the semester.
Worship Arts Coordinator Chris Cherry:
“Through constant prayer and discernment, we selected an amazing collective of students to lead us on Wednesdays and Fridays in our weekly chapel services. The group consists of 58 rotating, developing, and gifted individuals. The goal is to pour into these students and equip them with the tools to serve the local church. My hope is that our students can see the importance of ministry on a college campus and how they play a huge role in, potentially, leading some of their peers to Christ.” Our student worship leaders just scratch the surface when it comes to the multiple ways that our students are shaping the spiritual formation of the ENC community. Because we are an ethnically diverse campus, our chapel worship is diverse. Our weekly chapel services reflect the beauty of our diversity as we are led in worship by our multicultural student body, in different worship styles, practices, and languages. This weekly formative practice allow us to learn from and lean in to various contextual theologies that all proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord.
Office Coordinator Elizabeth Burke
“I have also been happy that I have been able to provide a listening ear when students are struggling with exams, relationships, family matters or other situations where they just needed to talk.” The team of individuals working in the Office of Spiritual Development reflect the mission of the school as a Wesleyan-holiness campus community, committed to the holistic care of young adults. Each week, a steady stream of students find their way in our offices just to relax between classes or hang out together in a safe place where people genuinely care about each other.
Student Chaplain Raijene Murchison
“This semester was very successful for Gospel Choir because of the help of that Student Leadership Team together with Church Relations playing a big part in making sure we had a successful tour.” Raijene Murchison is one of our student chaplains. One of her ministry responsibilities is to lead the ENC Gospel Choir. They have had a tremendous ministry among several churches on the ENC field. One pastor reports, “I have asked for more hours in the Spiritual Development Office because I would like to be more available to students that consistently drop by and need prayer or encouragement.” A student comments, “As a student leader, Raijene has embraced our chapel theme this year, to live as the beloved sons and daughters of God, and to live together as the beloved community. This year in chapel, we have journeyed through a study in the gospel of John, discovering the marks of the beloved community. Some of these discoveries have included living as a community of justice through friendship at the margins, living as a community of prayer, and living as a community of compassion, suffering with each other.”
Lead Campus Pastor Stretch Dean:
“We have enjoyed seeing New Birth & Spiritual Growth in both the lives of ENC Students & Staff as well as members of the Community in the Greater Boston Area!” During a student-led worship event earlier this year, two parents came to campus to observe a young adult church service. At the end of the worship service, these parents made a confession of faith!
“Our weekly Late Nite Worship has provided our Campus Church Family an opportunity to connect with our College-Aged Young Adults and invite them into a deeper connection to Christ and their “Home – Church – Away – From – Home.” At 10pm each Wednesday evening, our Lead Campus Pastor Stretch Dean and his wife Jill gather with students in a spiritually formative gathering for students which looks and sounds strangely familiar to the description of the early church in Acts 2:42. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
Pastor Stretch says, “Our newly – formed ‘Hungry Rookies’ Small Group has afforded many of our Young Adults a chance to learn about or be reminded of some the foundational truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the participants in this Group are brand new to the faith, while others have been walking with the Lord for some time, but have realized that they would like to have a deeper, richer understanding of the Story of Scripture. I can’t remember being involved in a more exciting ministry in a local church, than leading our weekly gathering of ‘Hungry Rookies’ and seeing their spiritual understanding and maturity grow…right before our very eyes!” This new discipleship opportunity was an intentional response to what I observed in the last year or so – a missed opportunity to reach students at ENC who come to us with little to no faith background. We needed a place where students could connect with our pastoral care team at what I call a “zero entry point.” Hungry Rookies has been one of the most faithfully-attended discipleship groups this school year by more than a dozen young adults.
Pastor Stretch - “I’ve been affiliated with Eastern Nazarene for the past 25 years, and I am thrilled to report that the Campus is enjoying a uniquely strong season of Spiritual Vitality, Growth and Vibrancy! I am thrilled that my own Daughters get to attend ENC during these uniquely strong days of spiritual Campus Life!” I share this sentiment with Pastor Stretch as we both work at ENC in the Office of Spiritual Development and our children attend ENC together. We cannot imagine another place where we would want our young adult children to be living and learning. Their faith journeys are growing deep roots as they live in a spiritually rich environment during these formative years of their lives.
Campus Pastor Marcella Charles:
“Chaplain Lynne, Elizabeth and Emily have been very supportive to me. The Chaplain is very approachable although she has a very full schedule.” We have a great team to bear the load of ministry work in the Office of Spiritual Development. We are so fortunate to have on our pastoral care team, Pastor Marcella Charles, a veteran pastor, leader, and mentor to many on the New England District. In her Spirit-filled way, she takes the posture of a learner in our office while contributing significantly to our team dynamic and empowering me to lead. She is my ministry mentor in many ways. In her Spirit-filled way, she is influencing how I lead.
Campus Pastor Mat Thomas:
“Serving on this team has been encouraging to me. Pastor Lynne is an exceptional leader who continually provides significant vision and support to each of us on the team. It is exciting to see how many individuals are invested in the students’ spiritual growth.” Pastor Mat Thomas is another example of the team of pastors contributing to the ministry of Spiritual Development. He co-leads a bible study in the dorms for our male students weekly and provides pastoral care to students. Again, he contributes to our team with years of pastoral experience and wisdom. The connection with local Nazarene pastors is strengthening our identity as a Christian college committed to living and growing in holiness.
Campus Pastor David Troxler:
“I have been able to direct several high school students to the ENC Admissions. One thing that has come about because of my connection to the college … is meeting others in the greater community.” Pastor David is assigned to specifically work with our adult AGS students, where he serves as both a campus pastor and a professor. He is a local pastor and his love for ENC is often expressed in his desire to see high school students spend four years in an environment where they are cared for holistically. David is an example of compassion, expanding the reach of our office to journey with students from different walks of life and experiencing different seasons of life. He is often found praying with international students for family members living in other countries or at hospital visits for extended family members of his students. As one of our more experienced (read: older) campus pastors ☺, he brings balance to a young adult heavy demographic. Our entire ENC community, AGS students included, is benefitting from the gifts of an intergenerational pastoral care team. Last week, David came to our all-team meeting requesting two more bibles to share with his students who have not grown up in the church. These are folks who could choose another degree program from one of the hundreds of schools available in the Boston area, but they find themselves taking classes in a loving, caring community at ENC.
Rev. Lynne Bollinger Chaplain of the College
Eastern Nazarene College Office of Spiritual Development
Email | firstname.lastname@example.org
Office | 617.745.3536 Cell | 913.709.1746
PS: As your president, it is not enough that we bring our college to a solvent, sustainable foundation. We are investing deeply in the primary work of forming students in likeness to Jesus. I thought you would enjoy this pastoral update from our servants on the ground. The work of Jesus is being done at ENC today. Thanks for your prayers, your confidence, your budget support, and most of all, for trusting us with your students. Dan Boone