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29Jan 19

How to assist immigrants

A group of Pres House students traveled to San Antonio to learn about immigration near the southern border and offer some assistance to migrants. (You can listen to their stories here under BWAP Team 2019.) But you don't have to go all the way to Texas to help. There are more 28,000 non-citizens living in the Madison area (about 10% of the population) who can use our help right here. Below are some things you can do today to make a difference. Legal Assistance (even if you aren’t a lawyer): Help perform intake form for immigrants seeking legal assistance from the free Community Immigration Law Center ( Training at UW Law School on Wednesday, February 6 at 12pm. RSVP required to Words of Worth: Write letters of support and encouragement to women, children, and families detained at the border. Sunday evenings from 6-8pm on Feb 24, March 24, April 28.…

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24Jan 19

“Wise people build bridges; fools build walls”

Selina, a visiting post-doc scholar from China participated in the Pres House Break With a Purpose in January 2019 to San Antonio, Texas. She shares some reflections as an international scholar seeing the U.S., and debates over border security, through her eyes.  Coming from China, a country famous of building walls (the Great Wall, the internet wall , etc), I am basically against all kinds of walls. That’s the starting point when I come across the issue of immigration and the border wall between America and Mexico. In my opinion, it is a dangerous sign when people & governments are so obsessed with building walls, which shows your hostility to outsiders, to the world. And I believe there must be other ways to deal with the immigration issue without building physical walls. I think every person could be an immigrant in some kind of way, whether by identity or emotionally.…

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09Nov 18

Holy Bodies ~ Steven Chapman

Graduate student, Steven Chapman, shared this story on September 23rd, for the sermon series, "Wholly Living: 10 Ingredients." You can also listen to it here. A few weeks ago, Mark asked if I’d be willing to share my story about “wholly” living, and to be honest, I was surprised he asked me. Living a balanced life is something I consider myself pretty bad at. But this week I’ve had time to reflect on the elements of living a balanced life, and I’ve decided that “wholly” living not simply to check boxes off a list, but rather taking steps and intentionally making progress toward this larger goal. And this is where I’ve made the most progress for myself. Let me set the scene. My junior year of undergrad was among the most unbalanced time in my post-high school life so far. I had no idea of a school/life balance, so I…

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02Oct 18

Taking a Risk: Bake, Pray, Love

Emily Johnson shared this story during Sunday Worship on September 9, 2018. You can listen to it here.  When Erica asked me to speak about today’s topic, risk, I found it slightly ironic, given that I take so few of them in my daily life.  I consider myself of student of logic, a creature of habit, and frankly a bore. So it required some deep reflection to identify how risk had operated in my life, and specifically in my experience with the baking activity I lead at Pres House called Bake, Pray, Love. If you’re unfamiliar with this activity, Bake, Pray, Love is a form of service to our local community, in which bi-weekly baking nights are followed the next morning by baked good deliveries to homeless individuals on State Street.  This concept was the offspring of one of my deepest passions and my long-honed hobby of baking. Bake, Pray,…

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05Sep 18

Freshman Connection: One of My Best Decisions in College

Beatrice Tan is a junior and participated in the Freshman Connection group during her first year at UW Madison. She shared this story at Sunday Worship on September 2nd, 2018. “Hi!” “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “Why did you come to Madison?” As we roll into the semester, I am sure that a lot of us have been asked these questions multiple of times. As funny as it sounds, these are actually some of the questions that I have struggled with the most? Malaysia, Taiwan, Hawaii—which one of these am I supposed to answer? I don’t know. To introduce myself here, my name is Beatrice and I am a Junior double majoring in Actuarial Science and Risk Management and Insurance. I was born in Malaysia, raised up in the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, and moved back and forth since then. While it might seem obvious to some…

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16Jun 18

Hope is Born

TBT to “Hope is Born,” a sermon Pastor Erica gave on January 21st, 2018, which retold the story from the Book of Exodus about a ruthless king who created policies to tear children from their parents and the ordinary women who worked to save them; read or listen to it and may you be empowered to be agents of hope in the world. In these challenging times, do you believe that you can change the world? I think you can; let me tell you why through a two chapter story from the Bible, one that specifically plays out in the Book of Exodus yet is timeless, having replayed itself again and again across the ages. Chapter one: A new king rose to power in the nation of Egypt; this king, like many rulers, was intent on increasing his influence and quickly found that fear and blame were effective tools to…

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19Apr 18

In His Own Image – A Poem

Graduate student, Rebecca Jane Bedell, composed this poem for Worship on April 8th, 2018, as Rev. Mark Elsdon preached the sermon, "Is God a Man?" You can listen to her reading the poem at the end of sermon. Rebecca is a candidate in the MFA program at UW Madison. In His Own Image Michelangelo stands crammed against the chapel ceiling, his weight swaying the wooden scaffolding, neck craned back as he frescoes the hands, eyes, and beard of a man he could meet on the streets of the Vatican.  A regal man with traveled eyes. And why not?  By 1508, artists had overcome their awesome fear of depicting God the Father.  So it has been.  Holding a brush, a pen, a keyboard, our imaginations feel a tremble in their climbing muscles, fall back and tumble down the smooth riverbeds of what we know, back into the arms of those we came…

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20Feb 18

Hope Endures – A Reflection from BWAP Louisiana

Hope Endures - A Reflection from BWAP Louisiana by Clare Aeschbacher If you’ve been present in Worship or keeping up with the Pres House blog the past couple of weeks, you’ve already heard some of the stories from the winter Break With A Purpose trip to Denham Springs, Louisiana. First we heard Taya share about ‘hope is born’ and how we saw hope fill Mawmaw, the 80-year-old owner of the house we worked on, as she was able to walk on her new floors for the first time since the flood ruined them in August 2016. Next, Steven shared about hope being tested in Mary, our host at the Fuller Center where we stayed, as she gave away her last towel, but received many more to give away shortly thereafter and as Mawmaw watched the flood waters rise closer and closer to her home, eventually coming in through the floors…

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