If you have read this blog or read our prayer letters over the last few months or seen us in person, we have probably shared about some of the issues we are having with the administration, and particularly the Catholic campus ministry, at St. John’s University. St. John’s is a private catholic school and they have tight control on what groups can and can’t become organizations. There is currently no group that is a place for protestant students to practice their faith, so when we were approached by students to mentor and lead them and help provide that, we jumped on it.
However, we have consistently faced opposition from the campus ministry – them telling students behind our backs not to get involved with us, kicking us out of rooms, kicking us off campus during the student activity fair even though we had permission to be there, campus security calling our advisor and trying to take away the room she had reserved for our students, and even telling staff and our spring break students (who came from other campuses) that they would have to leave because they aren’t allowed there. It is quite a lengthy process to become an organization and at any point, they can block us and not allow it. In fact, we were told that only 4 groups were given organization status last year out of 80 that applied.
After much prayer, deliberation, talking to Cru’s legal department, we have decided the best thing moving forward was for our students to meet with the associate vice president for campus ministry (she hasn’t returned any of the staff’s or our advisor’s phone calls or emails about meeting with her) and present their case. They are going to share about how they have invited us on campus (campus ministry thinks we just showed up and started recruiting students), how they want us to mentor and advise them, and how they want a place to practice their faith just as other religious groups on campus like the Muslim group. They also want to be afforded the same privileges to reserve rooms and hold events as are other groups that aren’t official organizations, if we can’t become an organization.
Here is where we need you!! We desperately need prayer warriors who will intercede for us –
- pray for Jake (second from the left in the top row) and Mecara and Ann-Marie (in the front row in the red shirt and the colorful sweater respectively) as they share their hearts and their desire that their school, who prides themselves on diversity, will in fact allow them a place to practice their faith with other students and that they would have power, wisdom, and restraint in what they say;
- pray for the associate vice president on campus ministry, that her heart will be softened and she will have understanding about how Cru came to be at St. John’s (we were invited) and that the staff are only coaching the students to lead everything;
- pray for resolution and that it will provide clarity and next steps as to what we are allowed to do on campus and what we can do as a group on campus and that we won’t be singled out as the group to get rid of;
- pray that God will even go beyond this and allow this conversation to usher in a time where we partner WITH the campus ministry and work in good standing together to serve the campus; pray that this conversation doesn’t hinder all the good things happening on campus with AIA and Valor (ROTC students);
- pray that no matter what happens, we will continue to trust that God is good, that He loves St. John’s and their students even more than we do, that His timing and ways are perfect, and He is in control.
We were reminded a long time ago that when we consider the ministry partners, friends, and family we have, we have nothing short of a small army praying for us. Please join with us in praying that God will move mountains and pave a way through at St. Johns!