First Congregational Church of Flagstaff Launches New Campus Ministry Program at NAU
The First Congregational Church of Flagstaff is proud to host a teach-in and community dinner at 6 PM on Monday, March 9th, to celebrate the beginning of a new campus ministry effort at Northern Arizona University.
The newly-minted “NAU Justice and Witness Connection” began formally meeting this spring semester as an extension of the campus and community outreach efforts of First Congregational Church of Flagstaff.
The teach-in and community dinner are providing financial support to students interested in attending the SOA Watch and No More Death’s training convergence in Tucson, March 27-29.
Rev. Nathan Watts is the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Flagstaff and is excited to see months of prayer and planning take the shape of NAU Justice and Witness Connection with the opportunity to participate in this international mobilization. The students who currently are the makeup of the campus group come from a diverse array of backgrounds but share common visions of equality, diversity, and a “perspective based on humanity over profit.”
“The first place we started with our outreach was with active and engaged student leadership with groups like Amnesty International, No More Deaths, and NAU’s Civic Engagement program, groups that are already facilitating their own programming and doing their own organizing”, Watts says. “We wanted to plug into what the students are doing and amplify their work and support the growth they are going through as students and student leaders and activists and see how their ideas and energy influence us as a community of faith at FCCF as we grow through this process too.”
“We looked at the Justice and Witness Office model for the UCC in Washington DC as the advocacy mouthpiece for the denomination at the national level and we said ‘well why don’t we do that, just at the local level and in a university setting’. Through those relationships, we’ve developed a Vision and Mission statement and are looking to increase our organizing skills not only for this campus ministry but as leadership development for the student groups that compose the make of our ministry at this time.”
The church’s role in developing this program has been a dedication and prioritization of campus and community organizing as core to the FCCF ministry plan. This commitment has allowed Rev. Watts to meet with students in one-on-one settings as well as attend campus events. One of those students is Sara Kubisty, a senior at Northern Arizona University studying political science.Sara will join other NAU students attending the three-day convergence at the end of March. With a background in community organizing around climate justice, she is going to Tucson to further explore the environmental aspects of forced migration. “It’s a great opportunity to bring important skills back to the Flagstaff community to enhance our local organizing efforts. We also want to raise more awareness in Flagstaff about the root causes of forced migration” Kubisty shares.
Rev. Sara Day is currently the Moderator of FCCF and has this to share about FCCF’s campus ministry effort. “We’ve participated as a church in the development of this campus ministry through a lively community prayer life as we pray for our students weekly. We haven’t always known who the students are going to be or what exactly this program is going to look like but we’ve been praying for the students who are in motion towards us and feeling connected and drawn to us as a place for community, a place of support and a place of growth at this time. We want to celebrate this blooming reality both at the community level within our congregation and through the campus life of NAU.”
If you are interested in supporting this effort but are unable to attend the benefit event, you can give a tax-deductible donation through the following link: bit.ly/NAUJusticeAndWitnessConnection
Please designate your gift for “NAU JWC” in the comment box.
Contact Rev. Nathan Watts with comments or questions at Pastor.firstname.lastname@example.org