Members of Life Together, the student body government of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, began the 2012-13 academic year with intentional discernment about its purpose and mission for the seminary community as a whole. Through intentional prayer, conversation, and group study, Life Together developed a new mission statement that it hopes will keep them moving in the right direction: “Life Together exists to acknowledge and participate in the Holy Spirit’s creation of Christian community. Life Together hopes to impact seminary life by fostering an awareness of the need for community rooted in the love of God and all creation. Our role is simply to promote and fund activities that encourage prayer, worship, small group development, challenging and candid conversations, shared meals, and laughter and play.”
The central importance is the group's recognition that Christian community is created by and a gift from God and has little to do with our own desire for it to form. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer's work, Life Together, from which the seminary's group derives its name, he states: “On innumerable occasions a whole Christian community has been shattered because it has lived on the basis of a wishful image… Christian community is not an ideal we have to realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we participate.” In light of this, the seminary's Life Together group spent the 2012-13 academic year promoting and funding activities that foster the growth of relationships in the midst of work and classes. We believe that through these relationships we are witnessing the development of a Christian community based not on functioning perfectly or on lofty ideals of behavior, but on our (sometimes messy) reality and on unconditional support, fun, and love.
To that end, Life Together provided the opportunity for shared meals and fellowship during holiday times when some students are unable to be with family; helped seminarians to travel to Brooklyn, New York, to participate in mold remediation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy; sponsored intentional interfaith conversations in the wider Columbus area; developed a program of health promotion; and are exploring ways of creating a common space on campus for students, faculty, and staff to meet, gather, relax, converse, or study.
By its very nature, this seminary community will constantly evolve to meet the needs of the dynamic and ever-changing student body. The seminary looks with great excitement toward the future and for what it is training students to be in the world: leaders who know the value of relationships and treasure the Spirit’s gift of community made known through the love of neighbor.