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29May 19

Graduation Reflection – Samuel Acuna

Samuel A. Acuña graduated from UW-Madison in May 2019 with a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering. You can also listen to his reflection here.  Back in the year 2012, I made the decision to go to graduate school. I was ready for a change in life, and so I figured I would move out to a fun city for one year, grab a master’s degree, and then head back to Seattle and work as an engineer. So in the summer of 2013, I showed up in Madison sight-unseen with as much stuff as I could fit into the two suitcases I was permitted on the airplane. I didn’t know anything about Madison, didn’t know anybody even near the Midwest, and had no clue what to expect in graduate school (PhD!). I had found some other graduate students on Craiglist and decided to live in their spare bedroom, and one of these…

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29May 19

Graduation Reflection – Clare Aeschbacher

Clare Aeschbacher graduated from UW-Madison in May 2019 with degrees in Environmental Sciences and Community & Environmental Sociology and a certificate in Sustainability. You can also listen to their reflection here. Early in my sophomore year of college, I decided that it was time for me to find a faith community on campus. I figured I’d try out a bunch of churches and groups and eventually settle on one I liked the most. However, this plan quickly changed after I visited Pres House for the first time. Though it was only the second of my church visits, I knew right away that I found the right community and I needed not look any further. Within the first few minutes of my visit, I was greeted by Billie Scambler, who I had met briefly the year before as we lived in the same dorm, though on different floors. The music team…

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28May 19

Graduation Reflections – Rebecca Bedell

Becca Bedell graduated with a MFA in Poetry at UW-Madison in May 2019. Upon graduation, she joined the staff as Coordinator of Residential Programs in the Pres House Apartments. You can also listen to her reflection here. Mishka and I arrived in Madison in August 2017 as bright-eyed new graduate students in poetry.  We spent the first eight weeks bonding as we church-hopped together, both of us looking for a warm, challenging, and outspokenly queer-affirming congregation.  When we visited Pres House as the fourth or fifth church in town, I knew right away that I had found my new spiritual home.  There was the cozy yet lively space and music, there was the delicious weekly communion, there was Steven Chapman excitedly discussing Taylor Swift over dinner, and it helped that the median age was around 20 rather than 65. Since then, I’ve poured myself into Pres House: I shared a…

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01Feb 19

Reflections from BWAP San Antonio

In January 2019 thirteen folks from Pres House traveled to San Antonio, Texas for a week-long Break With A Purpose. They met migrants seeking asylum and learned about immigration at the southern border. Seven participants shared reflections in worship on Sunday 1/27 and on this blog. You can read all their reflections via the links below or listen to them on our Listen to Sunday Sermon page under BWAP Team 2019. For more information about how to help or get involved in Madison click here.  The Victims of Migration by Clare Aeschbacher Who are the people who make the journey across the border? We met hundreds of them and this is what we learned. The Journey by Steven Martell What do migrants face on the journey to the United States? Overwhelming odds. La Casa by Emily Johnson What can be done to provide refuge for migrants when they arrive? One…

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01Feb 19

See Something, Do Something – Reflection from BWAP San Antonio

In January 2019 thirteen folks from Pres House traveled to San Antonio, Texas for a week-long Break With A Purpose. They met migrants seeking asylum and learned about immigration at the southern border. Seven participants shared reflections in worship on Sunday 1/27 and on this blog. You can link to all their reflections via this post. Samuel's reflection is here below. You can also listen to this same reflection here.  See Something. Do Something. By Samuel Acuna Hello everyone. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Samuel Acuña. I’m am a graduate student here at UW–Madison, and in a few months I will be (finally) finishing my PhD in Mechanical Engineering. I’ve been coming to Pres House for nearly six(!) years now, but this the first time I took the opportunity to do the Break With A Purpose trip. It was a powerful and transformational experience, and…

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01Feb 19

A World of Difference – Reflection from BWAP San Antonio

In January 2019 thirteen folks from Pres House traveled to San Antonio, Texas for a week-long Break With A Purpose. They met migrants seeking asylum and learned about immigration at the southern border. Seven participants shared reflections in worship on Sunday 1/27 and on this blog. You can link to all their reflections via this post. Becca's reflection is here below. You can also listen to this same reflection here.  A World of Difference By Becca Bedell On our first full day working with immigrant families, our team split up.  Some went to La Casa, the shelter home. The rest of us split between the Greyhound bus station and San Antonio Airport, where ICE detention center buses were unloading.  We were to meet with volunteers from the Interfaith Welcome Coalition, helping refugee families find their transportation. These were the relatively lucky ones, with family members or sponsors in the US who…

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01Feb 19

Seeking Refuge – Reflections from BWAP San Antonio

In January 2019 thirteen folks from Pres House traveled to San Antonio, Texas for a week-long Break With A Purpose. They met migrants seeking asylum and learned about immigration at the southern border. Seven participants shared reflections in worship on Sunday 1/27 and on this blog. You can link to all their reflections via this post. Two of their reflections are below. You can also listen to these same reflections here.  La Casa By Emily Johnson While making their journey to the United States, migrants forgo a number of things in the name of relocation. They forfeit familiar surroundings, direct contact with family and friends, reliable access to food and water, and—what may be their most obvious loss—their home.  Not only is the physical security of a home lost, but so too is the emotional comfort that is often found inside. Fortunately, this painful loss caught the attention of a man…

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01Feb 19

Leaving Home – Reflections from BWAP San Antonio

In January 2019 thirteen folks from Pres House traveled to San Antonio, Texas for a week-long Break With A Purpose. They met migrants seeking asylum and learned about immigration at the southern border. Seven participants shared reflections in worship on Sunday 1/27 and on this blog. You can link to all their reflections via this post. Two of their reflections are below. You can also listen to these same reflections here.  The Victims of Migration By Clare Aeschbacher Drug dealers, rapists, illegal aliens, criminals. These are just a few of the words the president uses to describe asylum seeking refugees in the United States. These are not the people we met in San Antonio. Instead, we met mothers, fathers, and children fleeing from the lethal violence they face on a day to day basis in their countries, trying to save their own lives and the lives of their family members. Most…

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