Seeing the Light: Campus Ministries and COVID-19
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Seeing the Light: Campus Ministries and COVID-19

By Mari Pizzini –

COVID-19 has caused a lot of change to be made on Morningside College’s campus, but Campus Ministries has found that the changes being made due to the virus haven’t been all bad. 

“Merely being polite doesn’t cut it anymore,” Andy Nelson, campus chaplain, said. “The changes we’ve had to make have caused us to think seriously about hospitality and caring for people.” 

Campus Ministries Intern, Taylor Van Vliet, said, “There’s a lot more consideration that goes into planning events, including social distancing and sharing materials.”

Consideration of people’s needs, even outside of the virus, has become a major part of event planning now. Nelson said that there haven’t been significant programmatic changes, but the guidelines require a different type of thinking.

“[The virus] prompted a type of thinking that may have always needed to be a part of Campus Ministries,” Nelson said. “Our ‘All are Welcome’ attitude sometimes didn’t address accessibility and accommodations. We started asking, ‘Are we able to serve people who can’t get to our events?’”

Van Vliet said, “A lot of our events are now virtual or have the option to be hybrid. We haven’t had any major problems with virtual attendance, and there’s even been some counts of higher attendance virtually.”

“We’ve been able to continue worship and other programs, and Soul Tending was a new event that was still able to start,” Van Vliet finished.

Nelson said, “I’m grateful to discover the ability to use technology to help other people. Ministry is not about being self-reliant but trusting others, and asking others for their expertise has created an area of growth for us.”

Campus Ministries is continuing to hold Soul Tending every Wednesday at 8pm, however, this week there will be a virtual homecoming worship service, Sharing the Light: Stories of Faith, Discovery, and Illumination from Morningside College, at 8:30pm via Zoom.

October 6, 2020