Goshen College, Mennonite Mission Network collaborate on telling the stories of students serving

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Goshen College, Mennonite Mission Network collaborate on telling the stories of students serving

GOSHEN, Ind. (Goshen College News Bureau/Mennonite Mission Network) – Testing and hearing one’s calling. Overcoming stereotypes. Putting a name and face on a societal issue. Learning to minister by listening and being present for someone in need. Stepping outside one’s comfort zone. These themes are the subject of a new resource that tells the stories and experiences of a group of Goshen College students who served in summer service assignments through Service Inquiry Program (SIP).

Since 2001, when SIP was first implemented at Goshen College, it has sponsored 24 students – primarily sophomores and juniors. Mennonite Mission Network Senior Executive for Global Ministries James Krabill and former Goshen College Director of Career Services Stuart Showalter collaborated to edit and present the experiences of 15 of those students in a new volume from the Mennonite Mission Network-published Missio Dei series – a series of biblical and theological essays that invite reflection and dialogue about God’s mission in today’s world. The stories are followed by a study guide for small-group discussion and individual reflection – ideal for youth groups.

“Experiences such as the ones described in this collection are often life-changing for those willing to take the risk and step out into the unknown,” Krabill said. “We are hoping that these stories will stimulate readers of all ages to consider the rich benefits of lives spent in witness and service to others.”

Follow Elizabeth to the border of the United States and Mexico to listen to detained immigrants’ stories. Follow Rachel to inner-city Chicago, where she is immersed in Puerto Rican and Mexican-American culture. Follow Landon as he helps lead youth groups’ service trips in Denver. Follow Mary as she volunteers at a movie night for homeless people and is befriended by a nine-year-old named Kelvin.

SIP, a program unique to Goshen College, offers students various opportunities to participate in a service assignment for 11 weeks with a church-related agency and to earn a $2,000 scholarship, with funding provided in part by home congregations and the host service agencies. Ninety percent of the students who have participated have been affiliated with the Mennonite Church; their placements have usually taken place in large American cities, though several have served in rural settings and internationally.

What has been the impact of the Service Inquiry Program on post-college experiences? Data show a strong continuing connection to service. Of the 19 students who participated in SIP and who have now graduated, 68 percent are currently engaged in some form of service with a church- or community-based agency.

“The rest of the story – the long-term impact of these experiences on students’ vocational choices – will require years of patient waiting, because the story will continue to unfold as the Spirit keeps moving in the lives of these dedicated, compassionate students,” said Showalter.

Single-copy subscriptions to the Missio Dei series are free and can be accessed by going to: http://www.MennoniteMission.net/subscriptions. To order additional copies, call (800) 999-3534 or go to: http://BeyondOurseves.MennoniteMission.net.

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.

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Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.

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