April 2017 Reflection (end of year)

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Each month we hope to give an update on the 3rd Way Collective experience at Penn State! Follow this blog to learn more about how we’ve been creating spaces for peace, justice, and faith at Penn State.

 

 

Thank you for supporting another year of 3rd Way Collective – Penn State’s only campus ministry focused on Christ-centered peace, justice, and faith.

This year in our community we collaborated with dozens of campus and community groups to create new spaces and ways to engage issues of peace, justice, and faith – more than 90 events and activities, involving more than 2000 people. These connecting points ranged from small groups around the table to guest speakers and events. We hosted several folks from the Anabaptist tradition – starting with Ted & Co. TheaterWorks and the Walking Roots Band in the fall, and RAWtools unique peace-maker blacksmithing and Theatre of the Beat’s This Will Lead to Dancing play in the spring, as well as authors Todd Wynward, Drew Hart, and Mark Van Steenwyk making appearances this year as well.

In the midst of a contentious political season, we collaborated several on protests and marches, aiming to stand with those feeling marginalized and alienated. We continued to spread our peace and justice ethic through more than 25 articles and interviews in local and national media. We also released 35 episodes of our weekly Peace Signs podcast.

Our reputation in the community has lead to inclusion in more campus and community initiatives. In addition to the collaborative groups we’ve worked with in the past, we also were a part of the MLK Commemoration planning team, and have just been asked to join the Stand for State team working at preemptive programming to create a healthier campus community.

Aside from all of these accomplishments, I am most excited by the expanding network of students who find our organization and lean on it for a space that did not exist before we began our work. For this fall we already have commitments from four passionate student officers (three of which come from peace-church traditions – Quaker, Mennonite, and Brethren!) including three rising sophomores who hopefully will have several years of connection with this movement ahead of them.

It has not all been smooth sailing – our effort to create an intentional living community was much more challenging than we imagined, and we have decided pause this initiative to reflect on the struggles of this attempt, as well as what we’ve learned.

I was deeply moved to be affirmed for a fourth year, and am thrilled to watch our support base expand to other congregations and individuals in our community. Hopefully this will continue to trend in the right direction.

It is clear that 3rd Way Collective continues to provide our campus and community a unique presence. We have received deep affirmation for events that are becoming annual traditions such as the RAWtools visit and Palm Sunday Peace Walk. We have created a vast network of people who are interested in collaboratively working for peace and justice beyond their political, religious, economic, or ethnic identities.

Thank you for your continued support!

– Campus Pastor Ben Wideman

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