Your support helps PCM help others! This enthusiastic crew of students moved 24.5 tons of gravel in landscaping for four houses for Habitat for Humanity. In total, sixteen students worked for three hours, moving an average of ½ a ton per person per hour!
The PCM Connection Arizona Presbyterian Campus Ministry is a welcoming, relevant, and biblically grounded community where students and young adults in Tucson can: Be… themselves, beloved children of God Belong… to a community following Jesus Christ. Become… who the Holy Spirit is calling them to be
CAMPUS CHRISTIAN CENTER 715 N. PARK AVENUE TUCSON, AZ 85719
THE PCM CONNECTION ARIZONA PRESBYTERIAN CAMPUS MINISTRY JUNE 2009
Students tell their stories at our Donor Appreciation Dinner in April.
Non-profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid PAID Permit No. 14 Tucson, Arizona
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The PCM Connection
night, week after week. I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of this ministry and I know that my time here has deepened my faith in ways that I did not think were possible. PCM is a community of college students trying to figure out how to live out their faith in a modern world. Pastor Ben does not pretend to have all of the answers and he lets us discuss and pray about the big issues that are on our hearts. We never agree and rarely reach a consensus on the details, but the bigger picture is that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ trying to follow his word. I know that God brought the right people to walk with me on my journey of faith. Surrounded by my peers, I have truly taken ownership of my faith. Going to church is something that I do because I can see God at work in my life, not because my parents force me to go. As Ben would put it, “We are a new creation in God’s love.” PCM has allowed me to go places and see things I never could have anticipated. In 2008, twenty of us packed our bags and headed off to Belfast, Northern Ireland for a spring break we will never forget. We went to visit and volunteer with Jessi, an alumna from PCM serving as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) at Whitehouse Presbyterian Church. Worshipping with a congregation that had seen their church burned to the ground and rebuilt again is something I wish everyone could experience. This trip planted a seed in my heart. I am preparing to serve next year as a YAV in Nashville, TN. Although perhaps not as exotic as Northern Ireland, I am looking forward to working with the Second Presbyterian Church of Nashville as they reach out to people in need. After studies in hydrology, Lisa plans to serve in Nashville this fall as a YAV. Matthew Harwood
I was a part of the PCM band for four years. I couldn't think of how to separate the way in which my musicality grew from the way in which my understanding of Christianity grew. So why fight it? I think at PCM I realized that the bigger questions regarding faith (Does god exist?) are much less important that the time and interaction we Christians have among each
other. When I hear Ben count out the first bar, or when I look at Rachel to see if I'm lost, those interactions are more real and present than any thundering Zeus above. I learned at PCM to play music with others, to communicate with a group of people through song. The songs are never technically challenging, but they challenged me to really listen to a group of singers and players. I learned not to try so hard to stand out musically, because virtuosity is not the soul of Christian music. Community is, just as it is at the heart of the religion. There are few more satisfactory feelings than finishing a song
having connected to those who played it and sung it with me. Beyond music, I had many interesting conversations with Ben on basically every topic--religion, politics, faith, marriage...etc. Coming up with the answers to life's great mysteries was not so much the point as exploring my own thoughts on all these topics. And so PCM helped form and inform my opinions. One's life as a Christian has to extend beyond the church walls, obviously. That is another gift that PCM offers, a push out of the Campus Christian Center and into the world. I really appreciate all the time I spent at PCM and the resources that allow it to run effectively. It is a place I take with me wherever I go from here. After studies in nutrition and classics, Matt plans to enter medical school in the fall of 2010. Michael Moore I've been at PCM a very, very, very long time, somewhere close to six or seven years now, and I must say that PCM has been quite an experience. I've had the opportunity to explore my faith in ways that most never do, travel all over the place, and share the love of Christ with all kinds of people. I have to say, PCM has done nothing but grow and inspire many new leaders in today’s and tomorrow's Presbyterian faith community. While being at PCM I've not only had the opportunity to understand others faith, their lives, their goals and how their faith fits with them, but PCM has truly given me an opportunity to find out what's important to myself. We've explored where we as a body of faith need help and ways to help fill in the gaps and make the already great things we've got going even better. It's given myself, and many in our group, the privilege to connect with other faith communities and participate, in an extremely meaningful way, in the larger Presbyterian community. Mike will continue his graduate studies electrical engineering while pursuing entrepreneurial efforts in web development.
PCM says goodbye to its seniors as the sun sets.
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The PCM Connection
Reflections from an Outstanding Class Every year at PCM, we climb up on the roof of the Campus Christian Center for a sunset worship to say goodbye to our graduating seniors. This year, we asked them to share how PCM has been a part of their lives while at the UofA. While these snippets from reflections clearly display the influence of PCM on their faith, they do not reveal how important these students were to the life of PCM. Several were Peer Leaders and one was a Student Intern. Several played in the worship band, and all were faithful participants. The full reflections can be found on our blog at www.pcmarizona.org
Jeremy Samoy Over the past four years PCM has really been a place for me to recharge and refocus. It was always so refreshing to be able to go to PCM for two hours every Tuesday and be part of a faith community where all the other stresses of college can be put on hold, and you can just give your worries over to God. The people at PCM were always so welcoming and genuinely cared about you. Our trip to Belfast was such an awesome experience, and that whole week was so incredible and really helped me develop my faith. I am just really thankful that PCM was a place where we could be open about our faith and have conversations to help our faith grow. Jeremy will be student teaching in the fall and continue his love of football by coaching at his high school alma mater. Kenna Koch Connecting with PCM has changed my life. It was at PCM that I made some of my closest friendships and experienced personal growth. PCM helped me reconnect with my faith through our Tuesday night worship, church visits and community service. The times I spent volunteering at the House of Neighborly Service, working with our adopted refuge family, helping at the Community Food Bank and serving in mission in Belfast, Ireland all gave me the chance to experience different people, cultures, ways of life and struggles that people face day to day. To me PCM is more than just a place to go for a meal and to worship, it is a place to connect with friends and God to share
and express yourself, to help others and to give back to your community. I will miss being an undergrad at PCM, but the memories and experiences of PCM will always be in my heart. Kenna plans to pursue a career in psychology after serving as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) this year. Kevin Bredehoft:
The fact that I am Lutheran and attend a Presbyterian college group has proven to be a curious concept to some. I think it’s a testament to the fact that PCM focuses more on the aspects of Christianity – outside of church politics – that truly matter: providing a space where all people can feel welcome to share in fellowship and learn about how to apply the teachings
of Christ in our world. In a college setting in today's world getting this message across is critical, because too often students associate Christian groups with the speakers on the campus mall that proclaim to them that they are going to burn in hell. Under Ben's leadership and the faith community associated with PCM, people quickly come to find out PCM is far removed from the message of those repugnant speakers. PCM for me was a place to explore my faith, and helped to invigorate a hunger to continue my faith journey beyond college. Kevin plans to work as an engineer and support the contemporary worship ministries at his home church. Lisa Wade (right) For the past three years, PCM has been a combination of the “on-themountaintop-I-canalmost-touch-God” adventures and the steady routine of dinner and worship every Tuesday
The PCM Connection
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Students, join us for our annual trip to La Jolla over Labor Day weekend. It is a great time to get to know students in the ministry before the school year gets underway. The cost is only $50! Stop by the Campus Christian Center or email us at: email@example.com to register.
YAM JAM Reflection Suzie Bloom, Peer Leader
The 2009 Young Adult Ministry “Jam” (YAM JAM) was a very interesting experience. I expected it to be a conference for students in Presbyterian youth groups, but to my surprise was a conference for anyone in the Presbyterian Church interested in making faith accessible to a young demographic. This was an interesting experience for me because I have bounced around through different churches and don’t really have a “home church”, making me rather oblivious to many of the problems Presbyterian congregations are facing with the current changes in society. The most prevalent issue facing these congregations is the lack of young people altogether. However, this did not come as a surprise to me because my generation is so bombarded with the idea of individuality, so faith in ones success, rather than a higher power, is the key to finding happiness. It seems that most people from my generation do not know any different unless raised
with a strong, Christian foundation. What I did find surprising was the vicious cycle that the churches fall into that one of the keynote speakers talked about. It seemed strange to me that children, once confirmed, tend to trail off into their own paths even though they were brought up in the church. However, it left me with a lot of insight into the core problems of the church. It is my opinion that teenagers and young adults don’t disassociate themselves with the churches they were brought up in to be rebellious or selfish, they do it because they want a faith they can make their own. This doesn’t mean they are looking for someplace “hip” or “cool”, but rather a place where they feel safe to question their faith, battle their doubts, and grow as Christians. I think the core answer goes deeper than effective marketing strategies. Although society has, in my opinion, degraded and desensitized people a bit, I still think that at the heart of everyone lies a deep longing to understand and be close to God.
Suzie (second from left) and other Peer Leaders enjoying Austin, Texas.
The PCM Connection Thanks to you, PCM continues to grow! As the ministry of PCM has grown over the past four years, so, too have the costs. The PCM Board is working hard to ensure the viability of this crucial ministry, even as the availability of funds from Presbytery de Cristo decreases. As we diversify our funding sources, we are increasingly relying on individual donors, and God has blessed us with amazing supporters of this ministry. The number of individual donors more than doubled last year!
Your contribution can make a difference! As the graphs below indicate, the portion of PCMâ€™s income from individual donors has increased dramatically over the past, several years. Your donation will help us continue to grow and provide a level of self-reliance in the face of diminishing denominational funds. Become a supporter of PCM today!
Page 2 of 6 Many Thanks to all our donors! Contributions between Dec 1 and March 1: Giving $1000 or more Fioritto, Sean and Beth Presbytery de Cristo Valley Presbyterian Church, Green Valley Giving $100 or more Faith Presbyterian, Sun City, AZ Holbrook, Billie Karra, Ramesh and Julie Kiser, Greg and Bonnie Rae Larson-Wolbrink, Ben and Gretchen LeCluyse, Joe and Buzzy Lotz, Phil and Marge MacDonald, Shelby Marble, Justin and Vanessa Chacon Moser, Imogene Myers, Don and Ruth Raffety, David and Jayne St. Markâ€™s Presbyterian, Tucson Samoy, Joey and Sue Swingle, Jeff and Michelle Thompson, Doug and Laura Tortolita Presbyterian, Tucson Wade, Jim and Audrey Giving up to $99 Austin, John and Josie Bentley, Carole Brooks, Mary Coffin, Allen and Phyllis Covenant Presbyterian, Bisbee, AZ Cook, Rebecca Daub, Jr, Vic and Janet Eckels, James and Jean Gallaher, Kimberly Kampa, Dick and Bonnie Moser, Lynn and Kathy Oelschlager, Lois Stroh, Barbara Westra, Fran The PCM Connection is a quarterly newsletter of Arizona Presbyterian Campus Ministry, a ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA). If you have any input or responses regarding this newsletter send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org This edition was edited by, Ann Lawrence, PCM Student Intern.
The PCM Connection Easter Sunrise Ben Larson-Wolbrink, Campus Minister
Inside this Issue: Page 2 - Donors make a difference Page 3 - La Jolla 2009 - Yam Jam, by Suzie Bloom Page 4-5 - Seniors Look Back
Something changed that morning when the sun broke through the clouds. Easter has a way of changing things. When we first floated the idea of an ecumenical Easter sunrise service, we really had no idea if it would work. According to conventional wisdom, college students are highly unlikely to do anything at 6am on a Sunday morning, let alone go to church. But we gave it a try… and they came. It wasn’t a large group, a few over thirty from four denominations that climbed the stairs to the top floor of a local parking garage. But, we gathered to sing songs and pray and celebrate communion. We gathered to witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We gathered to watch the glorious rising of the sun. Basking it that resurrection glow, it seems as if PCM has entered into a season of new things. We welcomed a new team of Peer Leaders this spring, and they have a deep desire to find new ways to reach out to other students. In May, four of our Peer Leaders and Rachel, our Young Adult Volunteer, headed to Austin, Texas for the PCUSA’s Yam Jam (young adult ministries) conference. There were
challenging conversations about the lack of young people in our denomination, and the reasons they don’t feel a connection with our congregations. But, there was also a bold commitment to working toward the church of the future, one that holds onto the best of our tradition, while recognizing it will look very different from the church as we know it today. In the spirit of new initiatives, PCM has started weekly summer gatherings at PCM, at our normal time – 6pm – on Tuesday evenings. Not only is it a chance for students in Tucson to stay connected during the slow, summer months, it’s an opportunity for incoming students to connect with PCM and have some friendly faces before they enter school in the fall. If you know of any students who will be in Tucson over the summer, please let them know that they are welcome, too. These are just a few of the new things that God is doing with PCM. Stay tuned for more good news ahead!
Ben (center) joins the band in the Easter pre-dawn
Save the date PCM Gaslight Theater Fundraiser, October 25 Tickets coming soon!