I Believe in Growing Your Faith as a Young Adult, by Katherine Wright

I grew up as the ideal church kid, I went to Sunday school almost every Sunday, I attended all the church camps and mission trips, participated in the youth hand bells, and I was a dependable nursery worker. I took advantage of every aspect of the church and eventually found a calling to be a minister. However, soon after I graduated from high school, I felt a change in my church life. I was no longer relating to the youth but I was also uncomfortable sitting in the “adult” Sunday school class alongside my parents. I felt lost in one of the most familiar spaces I knew – so much that people were surprised to see me around.

Soon after coming to TCU, I found that there were so many different ways to live out my faith. While I am guilty of going to my roots and joining the Disciples of Christ group on campus, there were so many options for college students to grow their faith. There were opportunities to feed the homeless, mentor, worship, serve, learn, love, grow, and find your place and passion.

I believe in young adults’ faithfulness. I believe that they are looking for new ways to grow their faith. I believe that the church can be a place for that faith to grow. I believe that it’s pretty obvious that millennials are the future of the church, so we should begin treating them that way. I believe that the church is the best place for them to grow in their faithfulness in God.

I believe that God is working among the variety of faith groups at TCU. My prayer is that faith may continue to grow among other outlets for more young adults to find a spiritual growth. I believe that in order for your faith to grow, we must begin to look at ourselves as adults with so much potential growth instead of simply missing our past as a youth.  I believe that my experience at TCU has led me to find a passion that will continue throughout my ministry.

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GA TIB Book Katherine WrightKatherine graduated from TCU with a B.A. in Religion with a minor in Communication Studies and a Women’s Studies Emphasis. Katherine is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at TCU and the Children’s Pastor at New Hope Fellowship (Disciples of Christ) in Fort Worth, TX. Katherine grew up on a family ranch in Melissa, TX where she was involved in her church and was a volunteer firefighter. In her rare free time, Katherine enjoys cheering on the TCU Horned Frogs.

I Believe in Love by Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg

I am awed by the expanse of the ocean, humbled beside the great redwood tree. I am healed by down pouring rain, alive when standing on the mountain top.  I am renewed when quieted by the depth of the piney woods, hope filled by the song of the birds. To learn to be still and content is itself a precious gift – a pearl, rare and beautiful.

This I believe, God is in and through all things. God is within the still quiet moments and in the strenuous trek to the mountain top. This I believe, we are made whole in relationship to one another. We cannot be fully human without the experience of love in relationship, friendship and companionship.

As a child, I grew to know God in a loving home nestled beneath the Rocky Mountains. There, in nurturing love, I learned that it is okay to question and grow, falter and fail, try and succeed. In this nurturing love, I learned there is no need to hold onto fear. Fear is the root of our pain. When we give up the power of fear, we also find the joy of hope.

This I believe, human beings are created for love and out of love. Wiser people than I have taught me, through the years, it is not nonsense to think and act out of love. Is love an elusive and impossible notion? I think not. I have come to believe, in every language and in every heart, love is the only real experience of wholeness we can offer or receive. It is the anecdote to our pain -the balm in Gilead.

As an adult, through college years and growing into middle age, I have come to understand that love cannot and will not allow us to stand aside when injustice claims the life or hope of another. True love is compelled to act. True love will stand when others cannot, speak with others are silenced, and carry the wounded all the way…through the valley of death to a place filled with new life. This I believe, a life “on fire” is a life full of giving. The generous heart never runs empty and is filled and refilled with inexplicable peace.

A child beneath the awestruck mountains, an adult traveling through distant lands, and an older woman peering through the woods of middle age, the child taught to explore is the same child quieted within who as an adult stands on the strength of nurturing love, an arbiter of justice and vessel of hope. So when asked, what to do I believe, I will undoubtedly answer, I believe in love.

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TNR_8695-2The Rev. Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg is Brite’s Vice President for Advancement. Dr. Rodenberg recently completed a two-year intentional interim presidency at the Disciples Seminary Foundation, Claremont, California, where she gave leadership to the completion of a successful capital campaign. From 2006-2009 she served the Foundation as Dean for Southern California. She has also served as a missionary in Swaziland of the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, as a congregational minister in Kentucky and California, and as a campus minister at the University of Kentucky. In addition, she has taught courses in Christian Ethics, Inter-Cultural Studies, World Religions, the Sociology of Religion, and History and Polity of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) as an adjunct member of the faculties of Claremont School of Theology and San Francisco Theological Seminary.

Dr. Rodenberg holds degrees from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkley, CA (Ph.D. Christian Ethics/Religion in Society), Lexington Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Texas Christian University (B.A.). She has also studied at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Switzerland, and United Theological College, Bangalore, South India.

She is married to John Rodenberg and they are the parents of Heather and Matthew.