Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Joing the jubilee: overview of Jubilee Fellows

Photo by Christina Van Eck

One of several ministry opportunities available to Calvin students each year is the Jubilee Fellows program. Each fall, twelve juniors of a wide variety of majors are accepted into the program, which is offered through the congregational ministry studies department. The program has three main components: a seminar class during the spring semester, a paid ministry internship in the summer and a 40-hour service project the following fall.

Christina VanEck is a senior writing major, youth ministry minor and Jubilee Fellow. This summer, she served at Madison Avenue Church in Paterson, New Jersey. One of the reasons VanEck decided to apply for the program was because it provided space for her to consider a call to ministry: “I hoped to gain greater clarity in terms of my place in the ministry of the church and beyond.”

To prepare for her summer internship, Van Eck attended a spring seminar class which helped her discover more about the church as an institution and as a body of believers. The class also provided mentorship through excellent faculty and professors. “Their advice, encouragement, knowledge and deep sense of faith gave me the confidence in myself to tackle the summer internship,” Van Eck recalls.

After completing the seminar, Van Eck departed for New Jersey to invest in youth ministry at Madison Avenue CRC. “I volunteered at the church’s childcare center, mentored several high school girls, directed different facets of the New City Kids summer camp (an inner-city youth program focused on leadership, academic excellence and the gospel), helped run the church’s VBS and helped lead a kayak camp for inner-city youth.” In addition, Van Eck collaborated with the church pastor, was active at church meetings, served at the food pantry and participated in prayer walks.

Some of the challenges Van Eck faced were the stark differences between her life experiences and those of the people she partnered with.

“It was eye-opening and heartbreaking to live and work in an environment where many of the kids had a parent in prison, abusive family members, limited access to healthy food and a deep awareness of the violence that exists in their city,” says Van Eck.

Despite these challenges, Van Eck grew in unexpected ways. “I learned the extreme importance of listening to and just being with people. Oftentimes, it was in those moments of simply being with an individual that I felt nearest to God’s aching and overflowing heart.”

The Jubilee Fellows program is an opportunity for students to consider their call to ministry in an engaging, hands-on way. Applications open to current juniors on September 15 and close on October 3.

“If you are even pondering the idea of ministry work, apply!” says Van Eck. “You might even find that, lo and behold, the Jubilee Fellows program will change your life.”

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