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Seminarians Making a Difference Through Service with University Ministries

Seminary students serving with University Ministries

CHICAGO, IL (April 10, 2007) – In December 2004, the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, Ind. awarded North Park Theological Seminary a generous $2 million grant to strengthen the natural relationships between the Seminary and youth ministry, University Ministries (UMin), congregations, pastors and staff. The Making Connections Initiative (MCI) was born, as was an internship program that began with eight Seminarians placed in internships with the Department of University Ministries. Today, that number has increased to 15, each of whom, in the words of MCI Director Mary Miller, "are adding program depth in ways only those trained and called into ministry can."

This year's interns' assignments fell under one of the following categories:
Small group coaches – Caroline Davis (pictured here), Sarah Hammersborg, Mark Hjelmervik, Elisa Holmlund (pictured here), Brandon Shurr
Sankofa – Nicole Bullock (pictured here)
Urban Outreach – Emily Ross
Hands On - Andy Goebel
Athletics Chaplain – Benj Ecker
Intern to Campus Pastor – Nathaniel Sutton
After Hours – Chris Birkland, Kristine Devine
Global Partnerships (mission and service trips) – Brian McCutchen (pictured here)
Justice Ministries – Dave Healing

In addition to their regular duties, many of these interns served as trip advisors to the mission and service trips organized through UMin this year. Other seminarians were also able to participate in these trips thanks to an MCI scholarship.

Emily Ross is a second-year student in the Seminary who is pursuing a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry with an emphasis in urban ministry. A native of Sarasota, Fla., Emily is mentor to the Urban Outreach program coordinators, helping to create community among them that will hopefully trickle down through the entire program. She finds the process of getting to know these student leaders and helping them through "the tough times in life and ministry" to be the most rewarding aspect of her work.

Second-year student Caroline Davis is a small group coach with UMin who enjoys "watching the young ladies grow, mentally and spiritually." A native of Bronx, N.Y., Caroline is working toward her Master of Divinity and Nonprofit Management degree and plans to graduate in May 2009.

Another small group coach, Elisa Holmlund, who claims both Mercer Island, Wash. and Denver, Colo. as hometowns, is a third-year student planning to graduate next month. She enjoys "being in a position where I am able to interact with undergraduate students on a personal level," although like so many, wishes for "more time to invest." She's been mentoring a group of small group leaders at North Park for the last three years (pictured here).

Originally from Washington, D.C., Dave Healing is an M.Div. student balancing his internship in Justice Ministries with his role as husband to Ann and father to Joshua (age four) and Abigail (age two and a half). A second-year student, Dave works with students who are concerned with issues of injustice locally and globally. "I serve primarily as an encourager to them - coach them as they develop teams and events, and connect them to other UMin, campus, and local initiatives." Dave enjoys "the chance to work with college students who have a passion to put so much of what we are learning at North Park into practice through prayer, advocacy, and action."

Special thanks is due to the Lilly Endowment for the financial support that makes this unique and successful partnership possible. Click here for more information about this and other programs within the Making Connections Initiative.