March 7, 2021
Faith with Friends
Pastor Gary with other religious leaders at an Interfaith Alliance Event at the University of Hartford
Would you believe that in the picture above I am the veteran?

Pictured from left to right is the Director of Hillel & Jewish Student Life, the Assistant Director of Hillel & Jewish Student Life, the Catholic Campus Minister, and yours truly, the Chaplain and Director of Protestant Campus Ministries.

Of my religious colleagues, I have the longest tenure at the University.

That by no means suggests that I know the most or have the strongest program on campus because I don't! lol

But I have worked very hard to establish strong relationships with faculty, staff, and students, and represent the cause of Christ in any space that I am welcomed into.

Though some might find it strange, I have done my best to maintain and build strong relationships with the other faith leaders on campus as well.
The first reason I do this is that I genuinely love people and have a profound respect for faith leaders, even ones I disagree with theologically or those from a different worldview. Personally, I just know how much faith and courage it takes to believe somethings enough to feel called to share it with others for their personal development and spiritual growth, it resonates with me.

I know what it is like to have others look to you for guidance and the struggles that come along with it.

The second reason I do so is that they have a great wealth of knowledge about what is working and not working with students and staff on campus. Though we have our differences, much of what do is similar like trying to meet students, create community, and meet the physical and spiritual needs of the student body. There is nothing like having a group of people to trade ideas and learn from failures with.

Last I do this because their struggles may one day be my struggles. Of course, I believe that Christianity is unique and the ONLY way to God, but unfortunately the University doesn't see it that way, honestly, thinks that we are all equally irrelevant. Though it is a term of endearment, they have dubbed us the "God Squad."

When it comes to fighting to preserve religious freedoms on campus it is important that we maintain strong bonds because what becomes a problem for one group may end up becoming a problem for all of us. Like it or not, we are in this together.

My religious counterparts on campus are great people, with whom sometimes I disagree, who have really big hearts for people and give their lives in service to others. It is for that reason, it is always an honor to serve the basic needs of others with them.
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