Petition 80339

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Faith Communities on Campus (80339-MH-R9999)

Whereas, just as parish churches are the center of spiritual life for their communities, so too are campus ministries a center of spiritual life for their campuses. Students often find their place and spirituality within these ministries, substituting time spent in fellowship with peers for time spent in a formal worship setting. Often times, these fellowships serve as an introduction to the church and as settings for affirmation of faith.
  
Whereas, many people find their faith, change their faith, and challenge their faith during their formative young adult years, it is important to have a presence to answer questions and attract seekers. We believe The United Methodist Church is a strong spiritual home with a table open to any who want to participate. Through campus ministries, students are given the chance to find their “home” in our church;
  
Whereas, as representatives from campuses across the country, we embrace common challenges found today and envision ways to work with annual conferences to strengthen our ministries;
  
Whereas, the common challenges of campus ministries include:
A rapid turnover of population
An inability to be self-sustaining through the traditional parish methods of tithing and lay leadership;
A disconnection in the transfer between high school and college fellowships
Ministers who face unique challenges outside that of parish churches:
  
Whereas, we see a higher percentage of young adults attending college, demanding a proportional increase in campus ministry support:
  
Whereas, many universities are the size of small cities, the same size as other population centers where we maintain a United Methodist presence:
Therefore, be it resolved, that we see a growing importance for campus ministries within the church. The 2008 General Conference affirms the work of our campus ministries. With the support of annual conferences across the nation, we envision a growing body of young adults with an increased presence and place in The United Methodist Church.
  
Be it further resolved, that we ask annual conferences to:
- acknowledge the unique challenges we face  
- support their campus ministry programs and campus ministers
- help high school graduates and young adults connect with campus ministries.

Rationale

Campus ministers are essential to connecting the church with college students, a group sometimes excluded from local congregations, and need support to continue this vital ministry from annual conferences and local congregations.