Lumen sheds light on religious issues

By By Edgar Zuniga Jr.

By Edgar Zuniga Jr.

Politics. Diversity. Gay and lesbian pastors.

A handful of students gathered at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church last Thursday to discuss these controversial issues revolving around religious faith. The students meet several times a week as part of the student group Lumen: A Welcoming Student Ministry.

Lumen is a Lutheran and Episcopal ministry at the U composed of students who are involved in different service activities and religious discussions throughout the year.

Lumen is a Latin word meaning light, eye or understanding. Rev. Joel Nau, campus chaplain for Lumen, said the group describes itself as an “accepting worship community open to all people.”

There are more than a dozen actively involved members in the group, which is evenly split between members of the Lutheran and Episcopalian faiths. There have been active Lutheran and Episcopalian ministries on campus for many decades, but now they are merged into one as Lumen, Nau said.

The discussions between the members of both religious sects are respectful and not heated, Nau said.

Nau came to the U six years ago as the U’s Lutheran campus pastor and an associate pastor for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. With Nau’s arrival, the Lutheran and Episcopal campus ministry became Lumen Campus ministry.

“I think all the students in Lumen are great. We’re striving to make a difference and we hope we put our best foot forward,” Nau said. “We act in faith, not knowing where everything leads to but trusting that God will help us along.”

James Brinkmann, a member of the group and a freshman in music, said he loves Lumen because it is a place where people “who care about the community” and want to help others come together. Brinkmann also said Lumen has been an integral part of his college experience thus far.

The group devotes much of their time to service. Students in the group said they try to follow Jesus’ biblical example of helping and understanding others without passing judgment.

Students in Lumen volunteer with Hildegard Food Pantry, Crossroads Urban Center and the ONE Campaign, among other causes.

Students meet for casual religious services every Sunday at 6 p.m. at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church near the U, on 1070 S. Foothill Drive. The group also holds a dinner after the service.

Students also gather to discuss controversial topics Thursday nights at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 261 S. 900 East.

“We would love to have anyone interested (in checking) us out to please come worship on Sunday nights or come engage in our discussions Thursday nights,” Nau said.

For more information, visit Lumen’s website, www.lumenmin.org.

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Jarad Reddekopp

U students in the Lumen group meet to discuss topics such as religion and politics Thursday at the Episcopal Church on 300 S. and 900 E.