Special Activities for September 23-24

Get excited! We’re hosting a few activities… and they all involve food!

Tuesday, September 23, 11:30-12:30pm, Goodcents, Aggieville
We’ll be holding a call-out/brainstorming session for our Worship Outreach program, which at this point I’d like to call “deconstructing worship.” We’ll talk about what you think does and does not work in today’s worship experiences and what you think would engage more people, young and old. AND when you come, we will have a pleasant surprise waiting for you!

Wednesday, September 24, 6:00-7:00pm, Bluestem Bistro meeting room
Did you know that people go to seminary who aren’t planning to be ministers? We’ve invited Josh Linton, Director of Recruitment at Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa, OK, to town for a visit. Over dinner at Bluestem, Josh will talk to us and answer questions about how seminaries address the idea of “being called” and the many ways a seminary degree can compliment your own chosen path whether it’s in ordained ministry or not. Josh will also be our guest at this week’s Brewing on Belief at Aggie Station, 8:30-10pm.

Hope to see you at one or more of these activities! And bring your appetite!

David Wood


Now Accepting Applications For A New Internship Opportunity

Riley and Fairview Churches Children and Youth Ministry Internship

As a part of an initiative to encourage students to engage in a theological exploration of vocation, the Riley and Fairview Presbyterian Churches (PCUSA) are offering a $3000 scholarship in the area of children and youth ministry and programming.

Funds to be dispersed at $1,000 per semester (Fall, Spring, Summer). Commitment to the full year is not required. As availability necessitates, the internship may be offered to one or more individuals, serving one, two, or all three semesters.

A portion of this internship will be devoted to theological reflection on the intern’s sense of vocation on a regular basis, as part of the Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s “Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation Initiative.”
Supervision and ministerial guidance will be provided by Sue Garver, Melinda Sinn and Rev. Erich Schwartz from Riley/Fairview Churches, David Wood, Ecumenical Campus Ministry (ECM) at Kansas State University’s Director of Vocational Exploration and Outreach, and David Jones, ECM Campus Pastor.

Verification/documentation can be provided for community service or internship hours if needed.

Time Commitment
Approximately 100 hours/semester, including travel time. Intern(s) will provide their own transportation to and from Riley/Fairview churches.

• Provide leadership for the weekly After School program, Wednesday during the school year, including Bible study, spiritual development, and craft activities
• Provide leadership establishing a monthly junior high youth group program
• Provide leadership in the continued development of programming for preschool children
• Provide children’s sermons in Sunday worship on a semi-regular basis determined by the intern and supervisors
• Provide leadership for fundraising activities for youth programs.
• Serve as a counselor for the 2015 summer church day camp program (dates TBD: usually June)

Application Process
Applicants should send a resume and letter of interest to David Wood, ECM Director of Vocational Exploration and Outreach

Application deadline is 5:00pm Tuesday, September 2, 2014 with the successful candidate beginning the internship on Wednesday, September 10, 2014.

ECM Launches Worship Outreach Team

Worship can take many forms, from so-called “traditional” services with hymns, scripture, prayers, and a sermon, to contemplative experiences full of personalized rituals and time for reflection, to exuberant expressions of praise with music, dance, and drama. The options are only limited by the imagination. 

Beginning this fall, ECM will establish the Worship Outreach Team (WOT) to closely examine the art of worship as part of our work with the Lilly Endowment’s Campus Ministry Theological Exploration of Vocation initiative. 

What: A team to contemplate, create, and present worship experiences in a variety of styles and formats to congregations throughout Kansas.

When: Approximately 4-6 Sundays per semester with regular worship planning sessions between and an informational meeting at the beginning of the semester.

Why:There are many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • To gain experience creating and presenting worship  
  • To explore the devotional nature of worship creation
  • To meet other congregations and worshippers throughout the region
  • To experience a variety of worship styles and formats

Who: Anyone and everyone. The WOT will not only need individuals to present worship but also “behind the scenes” to help create and assemble the materials we will use within each service. The WOT needs persons with skills or interests in, but not limited to:

  • Writing/Editing
  • Music
  • Public Speaking
  • Drama/Storytelling
  • Dance
  • Visual Arts
  • Children/Youth

If that sounds like you, or want to know more, email David Wood


Don’t you just love coffee?  Yeah, me neither.  But I drink it. I drink it because there was one time, it might have happened more than once, but there was one time when I was tired and cold, I may have been camping, and there was a pot of coffee and I poured a cup and without sugar or cream or anything it just tasted so perfect, just like it smells.  So I thought, hey, this stuff is pretty good!  But most of the coffee I’ve ever had has been bitter and acidy, and I can’t drink it without sugar or cream or both just to make it palatable.    I tried Kool-Aid once without the sugar; big mistake.  It tasted awful, and since Kool-Aid is a cold drink, there was no aroma to mitigate the bitterness. So sugar is needed to rein in the bitterness of two of the most popular drinks in America and it is most likely the sugar that makes them popular.

Coffee is so popular and has been so specialized that you can pay more than $7 for a cup of coffee at the big urban coffee shops.  Or you can buy a cup of coffee at a restaurant in Stafford, Kansas for 50 cents.  And the variety, the little nuances of flavor that go with coffee!  Mocha-choca-latte Grande, and that’s just the expensive stuff. Coffee doesn’t even grow in our country.  And after petroleum oil, it is the most consumed product on the planet.  It’s even bigger than tea.

So a lot of people make a lot of money and take a lot of effort to consume this bitter, acidic, highly caffeinated, not-really-healthy-for- you, beverage.  And most people don’t really like it, they just remember the one or two or five times when they had some on the perfect day with the perfect blend and the perfect strength and it was wonderful.

How about God?  Don’t you just love God?  You do?  Many people experience God in the same way they do coffee.  They had that wonderful experience that one time and they hope that the next cup full will be like that one.  And it never really is.  So they put lots of stuff in hoping to make it all taste good, and they are disappointed because they don’t really know God at all.

Experiencing God is not at all like a cup of coffee, although there are moments in our lives when we experience a heightened awareness of God. But living lives filled with the Holy Spirit is not all mountain-top experiences, we live most of our lives in the valleys and plains and on the sea-shore, so our experience of God has to be an everyday experience; an experience that comes to us when we come to God in prayer.

Jesus tells us to pray without ceasing, to pray all the time, and how can we do that when we are busy doing the daily business of living our lives.  Living is messy, there’s lots of cleaning up to do when you’re living.  There are conversations going on, there’s TV to watch and there’s coffee to drink.  How can we spend all our time praying?

Praying without ceasing is an orientation to God that is pervasive and life changing. You come to understand that all of your life is centered on God.  And that instead of hoping for that one experience of the Holy, maybe on Sunday morning, or maybe only on that one Sunday morning in Spring, or maybe on an actual mountain top, you begin to see that all of life is Holy.  You begin to see that God is not just a part of your life, like a few moments nestling a cup in your hands and enjoying the aroma before getting on with the real business of the day but that  God is all of your life.  You can take a coffee-break when you need a little rest from your daily routine, but if your orientation to God is that you take a God-break every so often to recharge your religion meter, well, you’re missing out on what God is all about.

Our relationship with God is more important than petroleum oil, or coffee or tea, it’s the one thing that we can do all day, everyday, even when life is messy and noisy and busy.  God isn’t waiting for us at the end of the day like a comfortable chair and an entertaining show on television.  God is with us throughout the day talking to us, reminding us to be kind and merciful in our dealings with others; sharing our pain and our joy at each turning of our lives.  Pray, listen, talk, God is with you, and you are with God all day long.  And when you take time to have a cup of coffee, God is there too, and the peace that you feel isn’t about aroma or flavor, it’s the peace of God.    Shalom.


Guest-blogger Reverend Paul Porter is Pastor of First Christian Church in Stafford, Kansas. His EMC blogging debut has been long-awaited, and we’re overjoyed it’s here!

KSU’s Fair Trade Travels to Boston

      Two weekends ago a group of K-State students traveled to Boston, Massachusetts. These students were members of the KSU Fair Trade Advocates, whose mission is to educate and advocate the uses of Fair Trade products to the KSU and Manhattan communities. KSU Fair Trade Advocates has a long history of working closely with ECM. Fair Trade is a movement towards a consumer system that allows each purchase you make to guarantee a fair wage is being paid to the producer of that good. This system empowers farmers in developing countries to build their communities and become self-sustaining.

      In Boston we met up with 780 people from across the globe to be a part of the “Fair Trade Futures Conference.” The goal of this gathering was to bring people from all parts of the Fair Trade system (producers, wholesalers, retailers, consumers, and advocates) together to discuss what positive things are happening with Fair Trade, and what parts of the system need to change.

      The conference began with an inspiring welcoming speech by Kevin Danahar of Global Exchange, Green America, and Green Fest. He encouraged event participants to view Fair Trade as a “global values revolution” and to incorporate the values of fairness, justice, opportunity, and transparency to all aspect of global relationships.

      Later in the weekend a panel of producers from Global Mamas, TEMA, CEPICAFE, and Candela Peru Farmers Cooperative spoke to the conference attendees about their organizations, positive outcomes their members have seen from Fair Trade, and asked conference attendees to put the focus of Fair Trade back on the producers.

      Additional topics included whether or not Fair Trade’s current system was working well, and how to look toward the future of the organization.

      We were able to participate in smaller, more intimate and interactive workshops throughout the weekend. These workshops covered a variety of topics-including “Fair Trade and Faith”,“Fair Trade 101”,“Social Media”, and “Answering Tough Questions”, among several other topics.

      One of our favorite parts of the conference was the Fair Trade Marketplace- where over 50 vendors had Fair Trade products for sale, such as body care, jewelry, and clothing.

      The conference was two-days of intense learning and growth for the Fair Trade community and for the K-State students who were able to attend. We have brought back, ideas, plans, new relationships, and a fresh perspective on the movement. 

Stephanie Alderman-Oler, Senior Secondary Education

KSU Fair Trade Advocates-Marketplace Coordinator

ECM-Special Activities Coordinator