This year a group of students went Christmas Caroling at Clemson Downs Retirement Center. Having the students come by brightened many of the resident's evenings, and several of them shared personal stories about the connections they have to the university. The students collected canned goods donations for the Clemson Community Care, to which many of the residents were glad to contribute. Everyone loved the carols, and the night resulted in several bags of donations for Clemson Community Care.
This semester, Callie Heyne and Anna Schleifer brought back Women’s Group. They have connected with ELCA Women to sponsor the group and get all of the members free t-shirts, pens, and possibly the best part, Starbucks! We met every Monday night from 8 to 9 pm throughout the semester and plan to do so next semester as well. Every meeting starts with everyone sharing their “highs and lows” of the week and ends by saying the Lord’s Prayer. The hour consists of a discussion of a variety of subjects, including feminism, important women in the Bible, and family values. It may sound intense but really it is just a small group of LCM women lounging in the LCM lounge or Starbucks, talking about life. We have even taken a field trip to The Potter’s Place as one of our meetings and made gingerbread houses for another. Next semester is already looking exciting for Women’s Group as we have scheduled meetings with Pastor Chris and a lunch with Pastor Ginny, SC’s assistant to the bishop. As a freshmen, I believe I have truly benefitted from this experience, it is a great way to make close friends.
The GALSM retreat was a blast and everyone who went got to help someone in need to improve their housing situation. Jenna, Matthew, Paula, and I traveled to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Akon South Carolina to work with Campus ministry groups from around the state on projects in the community. After a night of fellowship we split up into three groups, one painted a habitat house, another built a handicap ramp, and we worked on the roof. We spent the day with students from Citadel, and USC Akon to take off the shingles, lay tar paper, and re-roof the entire house. We learned how to roof and worked as a team to succeed in our goal of giving the elderly lady that lived in the home a new water tight roof. During the retreat we got to meet many students from Citadel, USC, USC Akon, Winthrop, and Spartanburg Methodist. We worked hard, learned new skills, and had fun doing it.
In November, we were able to have our first visit from a theologian since the start of the Eli Lily Grant. Throughout the weekend there were many opportunities to interact with the two theologians who came. Saturday night we had a less formal dinner at Mellow Mushroom, where any student could come and interact and begin to know the theologians on a more personal basis. Then, during Sunday school they spoke to the students about where each person feels called to share God’s message and the vocation each person feels they are headed towards.
The main “event” of the weekend was a catered lunch and discussion on Sunday after church. This was a wonderful opportunity for the congregation to interact with the students and all come together to learn about our mission to share God’s word in the world. Having the opportunity to speak with these theologians provided me with a deeper understanding of ways that everyone can share their gifts in the world around them.