Chapel Hill Family,
This week I write to share some exciting news that has taken shape over the past few months. As of the first of the year, we are partnering with Synergy Wesley Foundation to connect with students at Brookhaven College. Synergy is a United Methodist ministry for college students based at the University of Texas at Dallas. The group describes themselves as “a diverse and inclusive community where all students are welcomed and celebrated for who they are.” They have recently extended their ministry beyond UTD seeking to establish campus groups on the campuses of the Dallas County College system of colleges.
This partnership resulted from conversations I had with Adam Richards, one of CHUMC’s terrific office managers, about our proximity to Brookhaven College and my knowledge of his involvement with Synergy Wesley Foundation at UTD. After our conversation, Adam was passionate about the idea of reaching nearby college students. We met with Brittany Burrows, Synergy’s Executive Director and Campus Minister whose mom, Susan Burrows-Bryant, once served as CHUMC’s children’s minister, to discuss what such a ministry would look like. Adam then wrote a New Faces, New Spaces grant application and submitted it to the North Texas Conference and the conference approved a microgrant to get the ministry started.
With the conference’s affirmation and support and the support of CHUMC’s Church Council, Adam began to spend time on Brookhaven’s campus. Adam and a student volunteer were on campus for orientation. Adam began to have regular lunch gatherings with students who expressed interest at orientation and met with a couple of campus organizations. They recently had their first official Synergy Wesley Foundation Brookhaven gathering and had six people attend, just two short of the goal Adam established for the Spring semester. The goal for 2020 is to have 20 students gathering with SWF Brookhaven.
So, what is CHUMC’s part in this sponsorship? Well, we are handling the grant money for their first few months. There may be times Adam needs to come to us to perhaps provide space or food for the students to meet or donations to support SWF Brookhaven’s continued ministry. We do already have one couple at CHUMC who has offered their home for when the SWF Brookhaven group is looking to meet off campus. Adam and I will be reaching out to other pastors and churches to build a cohort of churches that will also commit to supporting this fledgling ministry. There will also be opportunities for CHUMC to make connections and build relationships with the students and Adam has shared his goal is to point the students in the group to CHUMC when they are ready and seeking an intergenerational space to worship and participate. We will also reach out to Brookhaven SWF to join with us in the many ways we partner and serve with our community.
This is an exciting opportunity for CHUMC to build relationships with a generation that the church as a whole has struggled greatly to connect with in a meaningful, transformative fashion. Please be in prayer for Adam and SWF Brookhaven as this important work continues.
Grace & Peace,
Rev. J.D. Allen