Almost every person gathered in the chapel filed up to the front. The bishop stood in front of Pastor Corrine as we symbolically laid our hands on her shoulders and head. As I looked around to all of the people gathered around her, I couldn’t help but think about the sheer size of this community. The Lutheran Campus Center is both a WSU club and a branch of Central Lutheran Church, whose members provided a delicious dinner and reception on the evening of October 20. Although the LCC usually has worship services on Sunday evenings, this one was special—this was the evening Corrine Denis officially became installed as our campus pastor.
I happened upon this unique ministry three years ago because I was promised free food and a thought-provoking service. This proved to be true, so I came back the next week. I attended fall retreat, which emphasized spirituality through meditation and art. When I became worship planner this year, I didn’t know which direction the LCC would go under the direction of a new pastor, but I have been thrilled with Corrine’s leadership thus far. Not only is she community oriented and focused on the students within this ministry, Corrine also appreciates the importance of kneading clay and having thoughtful conversations.
As the LCC Worship Planner, I was involved with Pastor Corrine’s installation on a very basic level. I helped select songs, organize worship, and provide music. Community members and other students collaborated to provide everything else such as food, including gourmet grilled cheese, and worship spaces, like the chapel at Central Lutheran Church and the LCC space shared by Mugby Junction. At the service, there were representatives from St. Mary’s University, Southeast Technical College, Winona State and it’s clubs, and both local and non-local religious organizations. People came to show their support for Pastor Corrine, and for the Lutheran Campus Center itself.
During her sermon, Pastor Corrine talked about the importance of prayer. And she didn’t just mean the get-down-on-your-knees-and-bow-your-head type of prayer. Pastor Corrine talked about serving one another, whether with a helping hand or steaming bowl of matzo ball soup, and how important it is to consciously consider other people. This year, as the Lutheran Campus Center busily welcomes a new pastor, continues planning for the upcoming fall retreat, selects fellowship activities, and volunteers within the community, we will strive to remember this important lesson and share it with incoming club members.