One of the events I look forward to most in the fall is the hayride at the Sanders’s farm. It is always fun to share food and fellowship with my friends and other members of the congregation. It’s nice to get away from Clemson and see the cows, chickens, and dogs at the farm. This year I enjoyed throwing the football around with my friends and the children that were there. What a great way to kick off autumn!
Hi, I’m Connor Lehmacher, a first year at Vanderbilt.
My orientation and the subsequent first weeks of classes were very rough. I was mostly stressed about social engagement. However now, I’m doing great. So, I’d like to reflect on how I made it though and give some advice on what could have been different. Throughout the first couple of weeks, relationships from home and student organizations were critical.
Friends and family: I suppose it’s cliche, but it mattered. Initially, I decided that I’d become fully independent without support. Then, I first called my mom and it was wonderful. That moment let me say, "I can do this." I think maintaining relationships matters critically in life and we should strive for it.
Clubs: I received the advice to attend every organization three times before deciding whether do stay or not. I think this works. Critically, my engagement in Nashville Canterbury Circle depended on several meetings. Because of all my stress, I couldn’t enjoy the first two meetings. It may have also been the organization. Whatever it was I’m glad that I stayed because the third meeting was wonderful and ever since I have enjoyed it plenty. Also, I felt much more justified quitting debate team after four meetings than if I had just left immediately.
New people: At Vanderbilt and maybe at all colleges, everyone is overly-extroverted the first days. I’m sure I answered where I’m from and which dorm was mine more than 30 times. And what does it matter? — Alas. But I asked these questions, too... I think to deal with this I could have known that this can be a coping mechanism when isolation if felt. Furthermore, one can be lonely in a crowd and one can be alone without being lonely. I had always equated the two and that meant that I pushed myself social to my detriment. Eating alone can be wonderful.
Connor Lehmacher is a member of the University Lutheran Church congregation and a native of Clemson, SC.
On October 26th ten students from LCM Clemson traveled to Charlotte, NC for the annual Lutheran Student Movement fall service retreat. The retreat was attended by students from Winthrop, Virginia Tech, UNC Chapel Hill, and App State. We started the evening with a Moravian Love Feast, a traditional Moravian worship service where we sang and shared hot cocoa. The next morning, we woke up early and went to our various Habitat for Humanity work sites. We had groups that painted, installed trusses, and volunteered at the habitat for humanity resale store. After a day of work, we returned to the church and listened to a speaker discuss her experience with YAGM. Afterword’s, we discussed the ELCA social statement on a Living wage. The next morning, we worshipped with the congregation during their reformation Sunday service.
The LCM men's and women's groups went to Camp Chatuga for a weekend retreat! We left on Friday and stopped for dinner on the way up. Once we arrived, we quickly developed a legendary game: Chatugaball. After playing that and hanging out and relaxing a bit, we gathered 'round a fire built by the marvelous, the one and only, the legend himself, Pastor Chris Heavner. We chatted and made s'mores and whatnot, and then men's group lead devotions. On Saturday, the men's and women's groups split up. The women's group hiked to a magnificent whooshing waterfall, whilst the men's group played more Chatugaball. We reconvened to watch the football. That night, we gathered around the fire again and the women's group lead a devotion. Sunday morning, we woke up and did an abbreviated church service, and drove home, rested and rejuvenated for the upcoming week.
On September the 8th the members of the church got to participate in gods work our hands. We had all sorts of different projects to be a part of including picking up trash at Abernathy Park, making surgery caps for the children’s hospital, and Hope globes for the children too. I was a part of the group that went to Abernathy park to pick up trash. It was very fulfilling to feel god working through our hands. We removed a lot more litter from the park than I expected. Since god gave us this beautiful Earth it is our duty to protect it in any way possible and our team did just that.
The Chattahoochee tubing trip was a lot of fun! We got to hang out with friends while floating down the river, then we had a good German dinner. It was a good opportunity to bond with people that we may not have known, while enjoying the beautiful sights that the river has to offer.
On the first Saturday after the start of classes, LCM had the back to school lake outing on Lake Hartwell. We had 16 people come and enjoy the water, tubing, friends, and food. Some people couldn't manage to stay on the tube the whole time (myself included), but we all had a great time. Back on the shore we were competing "walking on water" and just hanging out and talking. We capped off the afternoon with a great dinner, and we are looking forward to the next lake trip!
This past Sunday afternoon we gathered for a welcome back lunch at church, one of my favorite traditions of the year. For me it is a time to reconnect with old friends, meet new friends, and it provides a time of fellowship with members of the congregation. Of course, the occasion also brings a delicious meal and delicious dessert, which I will never complain about. I look forward to the start of the school year and continuing relationships with new friends I met at the welcome back lunch.
The LCM Men's Group is an opportunity for fun and fellowship. At the beginning of the semester, we try to do service-project-like activities. For example, earlier this semester we baked cookies with the LCM Women's Group for the Kairos Prison Ministry. Towards the end of the semester, we do more stress-relief-based things, like bowling or playing video games. We all have so much fun throughout the semester, and it's great that we have this opportunity to get to know each other better.
On April 13-14 the Clemson LCM leadership team met for a weekend planning retreat. The group gathered at the Rocky Bottom Camp for the Blind, a beautiful retreat center located 40 minutes north of Clemson. On Friday night, they gathered to share a devotion, followed by PC’s famous frito pie. Over the weekend, the leaders talked about upcoming events and plans for the fall semester. A big point of discussion was the upcoming semester and new student outreach. In addition to this, they talked over finding an invigorated focus on the ministry’s call to service. It was a wonderful time, and the team really enjoyed bonding.