A Letter from Pastor Sarah Goettsch - December 2020

 

Dear friends of Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Iowa, 

As students near the end of this first semester of the 2020-2021 academic year, I bring you news of joy, accomplishments, needs, and hope.

This is a time marked by contrasts and challenges. We pray for the promise of recent vaccine announcements. We struggle with personal challenges and are saddened for those who are suffering. We are distressed by division, strife, and lack of understanding. Yet we rely on God and each other to persevere through this time. We hold fast to God’s promise of hope, a promise of good plans for our future. And we give thanks for your partnership in ensuring that this ministry can help LCM students thrive and grow in service to others. 

The students are loving being in their new space in a wing annexed by Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. For a while, we were able to have some safe worship together in person (though no communion or singing), but with the surge in virus infections, we have returned to being together only online for the time being. 

Even in a pandemic, our students have been very active and continue to look for ways to make a difference in the larger community through supporting such causes as: 

  • An Iowa City-wide coat drive

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) for teachers
    in the Iowa City school district

  • COVID Kits for local nonprofits

Guest speakers continue to be a celebrated source of learning for students, and Zoom has allowed us to continue to connect in a safe and engaging way. Students were even able to receive virtual training from WRAC (Women’s Resource and Action Center) on how to create and maintain healthy relationships. Although we long to be together in person, we are thankful for the virtual option, and our student leaders are exploring some exciting programming options for 2021.

It is hard and sad to report that this stressful time has taken a toll on our students’ moods and mental health, with some serious emotional and physical manifestations. This is the result of being in quarantine, loneliness, homesickness, pandemic stress, graduation stress, financial uncertainties, and feelings of being overwhelmed, insignificant, or irrelevant. All that said, the students’ sense of gratitude for what LCM provides -- support, stability, identity, love -- is intensifying. 

This sense of gratitude and hope is what you can help LCM to build upon with your support. Your end-of-2020 financial gifts now can fund several vital activities now and through spring semester.
For example, your gifts can:

  • Help purchase individually packaged hot meals, which all students adore!

  • Fund virtual speakers, training, workshops, and other similar activities

  • Fund virtual events such as online retreats, game nights, movie nights, book studies, and Bible studies

  • Equip local student leaders (and me) to send care packages to LCM students in the coming months when they will be apart

  • Enable students to continue to support Iowa City organizations that work with the poor, homeless, marginalized, and disenfranchised. While student participation in projects is not possible in the same way now as in the past, we can still provide items on organizations’ wish list or offer financial support.

You may give a gift online or you mail a check to us at Lutheran Campus Ministry, 123 E Market Street, Iowa City, IA 52245.

Thanks once more for accompanying us through this extraordinary time, and for your steadfast support always. 

Peace and blessings to you!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Sarah Goettsch 

Pastor Sarah Goettsch


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