Monday, March 11, 2013

A Prayer for the Service-Learning Center

We thank you, Lord

For decades of faithfulness and support from both college and community partners.  For the vision of Sharon Draft and Jan Veenstra in 1964, and for many others since then.  For creativity in teaching and learning, and for meaningful academic learning matched with effective and respectful grassroots-led positive social change.  For the opportunity to work together as we yearn for a more just world.  And for the chance to learn alongside one another in a place of compassion.

We Pray

For the Service-Learning Center:

We pray for a creative imagination – one that sees our community, city, and world, clothed in hope.  We pray that we may be humble students of the neighborhoods we live in, learning from the joy, sorrow, and love of the people who live in them.  Give us the courage to practice faithful presence and contemplative servanthood

We pray that your Spirit will enable us to use our gifts for the flourishing of our fellow students, our faculty and community partners, and especially the poor, both in Grand Rapids and around the globe.

We pray for student leaders – past, present and future – in the Service-Learning Center.  We pray for our covenant pledges and our hopes.  We pray that your Spirit will nourish us and bring us closer to you and to each other.

We pray that all students might be inspired to act out their faith and pursue opportunities to serve.  We pray that they might also learn what is required in passions relative to already present hobbies and interests beyond, and in so doing, be shaped into people committed to kingdom-building work and lives of service and action beyond self.

For Academically-Based Service-Learning:

May the Social Sciences and Contextual Disciplines Coordinator facilitate service-learning in order to open minds to reflect and question, open hands to serve and open hearts to love.  May there be compassion and mercy; discomfort, challenges and growth.  May there be strength, hope and courage; humility, justice, and learning.

May the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Coordinator create space for thoughtful and attentive science, computer science, math, and nursing majors to express their care for the community and passion for their subject through academically-based service-learning. May professors and courses involved in this service-learning engage in grace-filled service and intentional reflection for full learning. May the witness of these students and professors cause others’ hearts to be softened to the needs of their neighbors.

May the Education Coordinator share the vision of pursuing shalom in reconciling God’s Kingdom through Calvin education students who serve in local schools as teacher assistants. May the students discover their calling as educators who shine the light of Christ in love through the deeply rooted sorrow of the community. May the passion of the Education Coordinator and Calvin students spread through the community like wildfire through the Holy Spirit.

May the Language, Literature, and the Arts Coordinator truly facilitate student learning in their courses.  May there be investment, integrity, and intentionality so that students experience a reciprocal relationship with those they are serving. 

For Student-Based Service-Learning:

May the Residence Hall Community Partnership program engage students and community partners in building reciprocal relationships where service and learning takes place.  May the CPC coordinator facilitate discipleship with the CPCs and empower them to facilitate service-learning and thoughtful reflection with their peers.

May the Spring Break Trip Coordinator provide students with a wide range of opportunities to challenge themselves through forming relationships with and engaging in communities outside of Calvin College. In doing so, may students develop an excited attitude of servanthood, a new perception of community, and a greater awareness of the large world around them. May the trips also allow students to practice humility, leadership, and teamwork with a Christ-mimicking mindset.

May the College Access Coordinator discover the beauty and courage within Grand Rapids high school students. May they choose to resist racism, the one story, and preconceived ideas. May they inspire dreams and desires of pursing a college education. May they be filled with joy when life appears hopeless. May they love even when it’s undeserved. 

May the Special Projects and Student Organizations Coordinator help inspire students to act out their faith and pursue opportunities to serve and learn beyond what is required in passions related to already present hobbies and interests.  May doing so shape them into people committed to kingdom building work and living lives of service and action beyond self. 

And for our ties to the community:

May the Communications Coordinator facilitate the opportunities and resources needed to be actively and humbly engaged in the Grand Rapids community.  May students have the courage and willingness to participate and share stories of reciprocity, struggles, learning, and hope. 
May the Partnership Development Coordinator connect students to communities in order to pursue justice and equality, and to become more familiar with the kingdom of God through local congregations. May they learn how to live in community and build strong, loving relationships in Jesus’ name.

May the Transportation Coordinator not only aid students in travel, but in a discovery and deep understanding of the blessing that service-learning on themselves as well as those they serve. May you provide safety on the road for our drivers and students as they go to placements throughout our city.

And may the Research Coordinator not only learn, but teach others about the importance of knowledge through their work.  May they open the eyes of students to the city of Grand Rapids as a place with a rich history and a beautifully diverse community.

We ask you, Lord

To bless our investment in the lives of student leaders that they might go out from here to serve the building of your kingdom here on earth.

To bless the systems and processes we create; may they be invisible in facilitating service and learning and never impede anyone’s participation.

To bless our community partners; may they be a blessing to their communities and teach our students to care for people and places on the margins.

To bless our voice in the college and beyond; may we point to your kingdom and hold your people accountable to our calling to serve.

To bless our planning.  Give us wisdom to know how best to serve our campus and community into the future.