By Rev. Elise Renee Neal
As the outgoing president of the Westminster Foundation, I want to say how grateful I am to the Presbytery of West Virginia for their support of campus ministry across the state. This is a vital ministry that helps transform so many young people’s lives. I can speak from experience as a former member of PROWL (now UKirk) and say it helped transform my life.
The Westminster Foundation supports two full-time paid campus ministry positions – one at Marshall University and one at WVU. We also assist with programming support on eight college campuses across the state. This would not be possible without support from our presbytery and support from local congregations.
As we look into the fall months and begin planning for stewardship, I hope you will talk with your session about including Westminster Foundation in your annual giving. This at first seem like a huge step of faith, but if every congregation gave $100 to help with our college campus ministry, the possibilities would be endless. And I can guarantee you that money would be well spent.
Looking back on my past six years in West Virginia, I can say God has truly blessed me. Of those six years, I served on the Westminster Foundation for five and witnessed campus ministry flourish in amazing new ways. It was my honor and privilege to serve this past year as the president of the foundation, and I hope you will support Steve Hopta as he takes on the role this year. I would also encourage you to contact either Shelly Barrick Parsons at WVU or Chris Bailey at Marshall (pictured on the far right with Marshall and Shepherd students at the 2018 Montreat College Conference) and ask them to come speak to your congregation about campus ministry. They can share the successes that help mold the faith transformation in our young adults.
You may also consider other ways to be involved. This would include praying for college students, making care packages or sending letters to them throughout the school year, and making sure our college campus pastors know your youth are on their campus.
As you know, ministry is a partnership, and it’s partners like you that make the possibilities of a brighter future for our young adults a little bit easier because they know their life is shaped by love and a strong commitment to discipleship. This is modeled to them by their campus pastors and through the community in which they belong. So, I hope you will join with me and support the Westminster Foundation as it continues to dream for the future and nurture young adults’ walk in faith.