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Marian University Developing Ecumenical Program for Students

by Katie Bradley | Aug 31, 2015

St. Francis StatueA new grant from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) has allowed the Office of Campus Ministry to develop the Women and Men of Faith Program. This new program, which supports the existing Rebuild My Church initiative, aims at developing a vibrant campus faith life for students of all faiths through curricular integration, formation of Christian community, and formation of future ministers.

“This is an important opportunity to support a greater and more diverse portion of our students through new approaches and fuller curricular and co-curricular implementation aimed at ecumenical initiatives,” said Adam Setmeyer, director of campus ministry.

The new program involves three key initiatives: Covenant Ministers, Sacred Hour, and the Faith and Ideas Series. Covenant ministers—invited local ministers from different denominations—will be on campus for approximately five hours per week, providing support to students of all Christian traditions with pastoral care, spiritual guidance, and programmatic support. Every Wednesday, students are invited to participate in Sacred Hour, an ecumenical hour of prayer that will feature covenant ministers and a variety of worship styles.  The program will also feature a Faith and Ideas Series, an initiative aimed at providing unique and creative opportunities for Marian University students, faculty, staff, and alumni to promote intellectually informed and robust experiences regarding important issues of faith and culture.   

While Marian University has experience in preparing persons of other Christian backgrounds in undergraduate preparation for ministry in their church or denomination, this new program will allow the university to become more systematic and comprehensive in the way it supports the faith lives and vocational development of these students.

“As a non-denominational Protestant who had only really had conversations with other Protestants, Agnostic, or Atheist people before coming here, I was quickly challenged and fascinated by my Catholic brothers and sisters,” said Michael Botta, a junior majoring in communication and philosophy. “I've met such enormously loving, pious, and Christ-like people that my experience here has been indescribably wonderful. There's definitely a community here that embraces the search for truth and I've been surrounded by remarkable and caring people regardless of age, religion, or ideology.”

In Vision 2025—a white paper articulating the depth and reach of Marian University’s vision—President Elsener said, “Because we are a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition, we celebrate the rich Catholic intellectual and social teaching. We are beneficiaries of a vibrant Franciscan spirituality that we are called to share, engage, and live in the world. In the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, we refuse to retreat into a reclusive community set apart from believers of differing traditions or no faith tradition. On the contrary, we openly share our faith and proclaim the joy of the Gospel through a vibrant and inclusive commitment to: prayer and worship; academic and theological studies; service; campus ministry; community life; and witness.”      

For more information regarding the Women and Men of Faith Program, contact Adam Setmeyer, director of campus ministry, at asetmeyer@marian.edu or 317.955.6131.

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