Last Tuesday, May 10, at the McNamara Alumni Center in the heart of the University of Minnesota’s east bank campus, around 130 people gathered to hear about an exciting new vision for the future of MacLaurinCSF’s ministry on campus.
Through testimonials from four of our students, one of our board members, and a faculty partner, along with a short talk by me, everyone in attendance was invited to consider the possibility of a Christian residential program right here on the campus of the University of Minnesota—a program that combines the incredible strengths of Christian liberal-arts colleges with the many benefits of a large public university like the U.
This website has been designed to give you a sense of the evening and of the excitement it generated for everyone who was present. We even preview a new name for the organization, one that will help launch us in this new direction.
Dr. Bryan Bademan
Dr. Bryan Bademan, Executive Director: “A Tradition of Faithful Presence”
In the first part of his talk, Bryan provides a very brief history of MacLaurinCSF, contextualizing it within the growing Christian-study-center movement across the country. Watch the first part of Bryan’s talk, “A Tradition of Faithful Presence.”
The central conviction giving life and purpose to everything we do is that the reign of Christ over all creation means that we can and should follow him in every aspect of life. What does this mean? It means we follow Christ not just on Sundays or in private life, but also in our roles as students, researchers, and teachers here at the University—and of course whatever fields we enter as we move beyond campus. In this way, MacLaurinCSF nurtures a faithful Christian presence at the University that takes seriously the good work of the University.
Read the New York Times article on Christian study centers mentioned by Bryan in his talk: “Hallelujah College.”
Next, three of our students gave testimonials about the ways that MacLaurinCSF has transformed them and their time here at the U of M:
- Watch a testimonial from Michaela Bunke, an undergraduate history major
- Watch a testimonial from Ryan Mather, an undergraduate math and economics major
- Watch a testimonial from Elizabeth Abraham, a doctoral student in agricultural education
Too often Christian organizations overlook these as simply tangential to what Christ has called us to, but MacLaurinCSF has done nothing but encourage me to see those interests as another part of the passion God has put in me for the purposes of his kingdom. Because of this I feel empowered to pursue things like undergraduate research in intellectual history or studying abroad, and to not only pursue them but to be ever-aware of how those passions have been given to me by God for the purposes of knowing him better, loving him and others better, and helping others to know him better.
A Sneak Preview of Our New Name and Logo
After the MacLaurin Institute and the Christian Student Fellowship merged in 2011, they created the name “MacLaurinCSF” to indicate that the two organizations had combined. The name was always intended to only be temporary, while the organization sought and launched a new name. Five years later, that moment has arrived. The following document gives you a preview of the new name and logo we’ll be launching this fall:
Dr. Bryan Bademan, Executive Director: “A Christian College at the U”
In the second portion of his talk, Bryan outlines our vision for the future of our ministry at the University of Minnesota: A Christian residential college at a secular university. Watch Bryan’s exciting talk!
If there’s a way forward for the body of Christ, and we believe that God always has a way forward, it’s through a return to living in community and to cultivating Christ-like habits that lead to flourishing. Over the last year I have come to think of this residential college vision and our larger Anselm House community largely in these terms, of character formation—formation, ultimately, into the character of Christ.
If you’ve prefer to read Bryan’s talk, here’s a transcript:
Student Testimonial: The Impact of a Residential College
Kathryn Mogk, a doctoral student in English, has been living in our pilot residential community this year, and it’s been a profoundly formative experience for her. Following Bryan’s explanation of our vision for the residential college, Kathryn explained how living in community with other MacLaurinCSF students has transformed her experience of university life, deeply and richly uniting her faith and her studies within the context of community life and friendship. Watch Kathryn’s testimonial.
It’s these kinds of lessons—in hospitality, generosity, vulnerability, and grace—that have been the most important things I’ve learned at the University of Minnesota. You see, Christian education isn’t just a matter of learning facts about God; it’s also a matter of learning how to live, how to love. You can never really learn how to do something from a book or a lecture. You have to watch people who are doing it, and then practice doing it yourself. And this can only happen in the context of a community. MacLaurin is building just this kind of community, and giving students the best possible conditions for education: the passionate enthusiasm, interest, and curiosity of people who love to learn, and the deep spiritual formation of learning how to love.
If you’d prefer to read Kathryn’s testimonial, here it is:
If you have thoughts, ideas, or questions about any of these materials, please be in touch—we’d love to talk. It’s an exciting time in the life of our ministry and we greatly value your partnership with us at this critical moment. Thank you so much for your prayers and support.