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24Mar 20

Letter from UW-Madison Religious Leaders

Dear Badgers, It has been an extraordinary time of unsettling events in our community, nation, and world. We know that your lives have been upended and many of the things you were looking forward to have been cancelled. For graduating students, our hearts especially go out to you as this is certainly not how anyone anticipated marking the conclusion of your time on campus. We are writing to you as religious leaders on the UW-Madison campus--while we represent different faith communities, we all share a common value in loving our neighbors. For many of us, we are used to doing that in-person and face-to-face; it is how we express and embody that love ethic. However it has become very clear that we must drastically change our behavior in order to care for the most vulnerable in our society at this time. For that reason, we ask that you express your…

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16Mar 20

Wilderness Lessons for COVID-19

Pastor Erica shared these reflections on Sunday, March 15th, 2020 in an online worship gathering. The last time we gathered in-person seems like a lifetime ago with all the events that have transpired in the past week. We went from washing our hands for twenty seconds to many students packing up their lives in a hurry to leave campus, not knowing when the next time they would be back. If you are still reeling from all that has unfolded in just one week, you are certainly not alone. None of us have lived through a worldwide pandemic before so it is no surprise if we find ourselves dazed and wondering how we are supposed to be a student, sibling, friend, worker, parent, pastor in times like these. Mixed messages fill the media and our minds are trying to make sense of information that keeps changing by the hour. We are…

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12Mar 20

Peace During COVID-19 & Online Worship Gathering

March 12, 2020 Dear Pres House Community, Amidst the evolving news about COVID-19, we want to update you on how Pres House is responding in this uncertain time. We encourage you to check social media (Facebook, Instagram) and emails regularly as our response will continue to evolve with the situation. UW-Madison Protocols Pres House staff is in close communication with the UW-Madison administration and plans to follow the protocols they put in place. Additionally, the staff has been following the Center for Disease Control and Madison and Dane County’s Public Health Department for updates. In a time when fear and misinformation can also be a contagion, we encourage you to check reliable news sources for accurate information about what is going on. SELF-CARE IS COMMUNITY CARE It may be tempting to push through illness instead of staying home to rest. Let us remember that Sabbath is a commandment God gives…

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06Feb 20

Forgotten Stories: Reflections from BWAP 2020 Florida

On January 9th a group of folks from Pres House traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida to do rebuilding work from Hurricane Michael. This Break With a Purpose Trip was not what the team expected as we had planned to go to Puerto Rico. But the earthquake in Puerto Rico on January 7th caused us to change our plans. Here are reflections from some of the members of the 2020 BWAP team on what they learned and saw on the Florida panhandle. Many of these are forgotten stories. These reflections were shared during worship on February 2nd alongside the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37. You can also listen to the audio recording here: “Forgotten Stories Reflecting On BWAP 2020” ~ 02.02.2020 Luke 10:25-37 (Students Silas S., Theresa S., Shaniya A., Evan D.) Silas’s Story – 9:50 Theresa’s Story – 13:27 Shaniya’s Story – 17:03 Evan’s Story – 20:26

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27Jan 20

Queer Theology – Learning from LGBTQ+ Christians

The first draft of this article was prepared as a handout for Queer Theology 101, a Nov. 21, 2019 event co-sponsored by Pres House and The Crossing. Developed by Benjamin Coakley (leader of Queer Students of Faith at The Crossing; they / them) and Rebecca Bedell (leader of Queerly Beloved at Pres House; she / her). Adapted for the website by Rebecca Bedell. These are our own deeply held beliefs. Why Queer Theology? We believe it is crucial to affirm and learn from LGBTQ people of faith as we live an inclusive doctrine worthy of Jesus Christ. Let's start with a set of grounding principles. Each of these points could take up an entire workshop, but debating them is not our main focus. We acknowledge and agree: Being queer (LGBTQ+) is not a choice. We see queer people across all eras and cultures. Read the American Psychological Association's research summary…

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26Jan 20

“Radical Love” ~ Macayla Church

Macayla Church is a sophomore majoring in Psychology and Spanish, with a Certificate in Criminal Justice. She shared this story at Worship on October 6th, 2019, for the sermon series, "Questions Jesus Asked," with the focus on the question, "Does this offend you?" from John 6:41-71. You can also listen to her share it here. I grew up in a small town with about two thousand people in it, and I graduated in a class of 45. My parents told me that they believed in God, but we never went to church, and I never really knew what Christianity meant. It was up to me to decide what I believed in. When I was in 5th grade, I decided to start attending a small group at a local church that all my friends attended. It was the largest one in my area, even larger than the school. I have always…

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24Sep 19

Unexpected Changes ~ Ebenezer Ojo

Ebenezer Ojo is a junior majoring in Biochemistry. He shared this story during Sunday Worship on September 22nd, 2019. You can listen to it here. So a little bit about me. I was born in Nigeria and moved to Minnesota when I was about three years old. I grew up in a family with African parents who were very strict. So strict that I couldn’t even have sleepovers with the next door neighbor. So leaving home and coming to a place where I could be fully independent was refreshing but at the same time was a bit overwhelming as a freshmen coming to Madison. I was excited to be in a new community and to find new interests and people with the same commonalities as me. I came in with the idea that I would be able to do many different things and finding close friends would be easy and…

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17Sep 19

Looking for Spiritual Community ~ Shaniya Auxier

Shaniya Auxier is a second year student. She shared this story at Sunday Worship on September 15th, 2019. You can also listen to it here. Hey, y’all! I’m Shaniya, a second year studying Psychology with a certificate in Gender and Women’s studies, if you didn’t know, and I am delighted to share my coming to Pres House story with you. Unlike some others that I’ve met, I did not find Pres House right away. After Convocation, I came to Frunch, hopefully like many of you, and when I left, I didn’t step on Pres House property again until that October. The truth is, I wanted to be apart of a spiritual community; I wanted to find a church home on campus, but I was terrified. My family identifies as Christian, but doesn’t really practice or attend church, and when we did, all I had were negative experiences. So it was…

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