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 / We Reach Out / Bridge-Building

       (This document contains the following six bridges)

1. Campus Bridge
2. Parish Nurse Bridge
3. Music Bridge
4. Senior/Retiree Bridge
5. Facility Use Bridge
6. DCE Bridge



This document is a brief outline and general overview of Grace Lutheran’s current attempt to intentionally engage the campus community at Southern Oregon University (SOU) located in Ashland, Oregon. The university is literally across the street (five steps) from our sacramental faith community and church facility. Up until eight years ago, there had not been an intentional effort at specific “bridge building” to (and with) the university community. We decided to simply walk across the street and begin building a campus ministry bridge.
Grace Lutheran is committed to providing a safe place for students to explore their life of faith, experience others who know the love of God in Christ Jesus, and deepen their own faith. We seek to extend the unconditional love of God so that students can learn and experience who Jesus truly is. We are committed to a Word and Sacrament, Lutheran expression of the Christian faith. From day one we made sure that our “campus” ministry was an integral work of our “congregation’s” ministry. We want students to feel a part of the broader church community. Part of the strength of our campus ministry is that we do not separate the campus connection from the other parts of our congregation. 
We started with the understanding that God had called us to do this work. We prayed about this “bridge building” and looked to our gracious Lord to guide these efforts. We were not afraid of failure or risk. We knew our “bridging” effort would require the establishing of relationships and an intentional engagement with the university.
Some of our efforts have proven beneficial, others not so much so. Our efforts are specific for our setting. We make no assumptions that what we have done (and are doing) on the SOU campus will work in any other setting. We enjoy what we do and delight in our university community. We thank God for the opportunity.
We understand that our effort is a fledgling effort and requires great flexibility from year to year. That is the nature of campus ministry. We continue to make discoveries regarding what can be consistent from year to year.
Rev. Timothy C. Cartwright

(Grace Lutheran Church)
(Lutheran Student Association)
(More detail of these areas in the following pages of this document)
  1. Support of university musicians (pg. 3)
  2. Support of university athletics (pg. 3)
  3. Support of university “civic & civil” efforts (pg. 3)
  4. Development of official university presence (pg. 3)
  5. Ongoing faith and spiritual efforts (pg. 4)
  6. Budget and compensation considerations (pg. 4)
  1. Initial Purpose statement (pg. 5)
  2. Campus Ministry Resolution (pg. 6)
  3. An example of an effective student study (pg. 7)
Annual music award for female alto voice for our church choir
($2,250 for Annual Scholarship)
Jazz musician funding
($500 for Jazz musician support)
Brass Musicians -4 quartets per year-in support of worship service
($1,500 for brass musicians)
Student musicians support worship as we support them in their university endeavors
Our facility and top of the line Yahama Grand Piano is used as a recital venue for students
Annual university football team and coaching staff BBQ
Congregational members/LSA prepare the BBQ for 100 participants
Willing volunteer women of congregation make great table hosts
($800) dollars investment
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) award
(Students willing to serve others on spring break vs. engaging in purely self serving activities)
Annual student musical concert
Students and congregation organize and sponsor student fundraising concert
We generate $3,000 through this concert and congregation budgets $1,500 for this fundraiser
Relay for Life Race participation
Habitat for Humanity
Support Honors program and Residential Life support
Engage events which support “civic” involvement of students
Partner with students in support of local hunger issues
Adhered to university standards and guidelines relating to official club status
Official club status enables advertising and presence on campus
University facility space use results from our official club status
(Speakers & events pertinent to campus life)
Work at developing administrative connections/relationships
Volunteer when appropriate
University provides $1,000 to all official clubs as a result of their being an official organization
Participate in the University Foundation events
Worship (Sunday/Other)
Provide Bible Study opportunities
“Discussing God” conversations
Exposing students to Lutheran Faith Priorities in small group events
Appropriate use of social media
Annual Student Faith Retreat ($500.00)
Meal/Event Ministry…Group and one-on-one lunches with students…($500)
Intentional relationship building with congregational members and students
Annual Worship/Lunch/Shakespeare spring event
Part time student campus position
P/T student staff assists in overall accomplishment of campus ministry objectives
Occasional payment to a student leader per event or specific ministry effort
($2,000 per year to be used as needed for above two items)
(Annual budget for complete Campus Ministry for all the six above areas is approx. $10,000)
What Grace Lutheran has laid out in this document is simply a glimpse of what we are attempting to do. The intentional building of a campus “bridge” is often three steps forward and then one or two steps backward. When we began this work we assumed that it would take a decade to build this bridge. We walked across the street. We did not judge. We sought ways to be unconditional and supportive in our efforts. We remained patient. We were not afraid of risk or failure. What we do on the campus is but one aspect of all that we do at Grace Lutheran. We are more than a campus ministry. 
“All things to all people...All possible means...All for the sake of the Gospel.”
(I Corinthians 9:22-23)
“A young person is like the juice of fruits, it must ferment.”
 (Martin Luther, Dec. 1532-WLS #5085)

Lutheran Student Association (LSA) intends to provide Christians (Lutheran and other interested Christians) the opportunity to engage in faith based activities on the campus. We intend to respectfully welcome the person who is investigating matters of the Christian faith. LSA intends to work toward interfacing with other Christian organizations on the campus. LSA intends to positively interact with other campus clubs and organizations whenever possible. LSA intends to provide service and educational opportunities for the benefit of club members, and when appropriate, with the campus population in general.
Campus Ministry
(Resolution prepared by Grace Lutheran and submitted to Northwest District Convention 2012)
WHEREAS    Scripture tells us… that “God loves the world”... including all university campus settings (John 3:16); and further invites us to be all things to all people, including academic institutions, and to use all means possible for the sake of the Gospel (I Corinthians 9:22-23); and further encourages us to engage people respectfully, without anxiety or fear, especially where perhaps unknown gods are embraced (Acts 17:23)                                    and
WHEREAS    Martin Luther said, “A young person is like the juice of fruits; it must ferment (and develop).” (Dec. 1532-WLS #5085)                               and
WHEREAS    Synodical and District funding for campus ministry and campus ministry staff has been severely cut back in recent decades and years,       and
WEHREAS    Significant historic campus churches and facilities across the United States have been (or will be sold) in an effort to reprioritize available centralized mission dollars,                                                                                and
WHEREAS    Local congregations in near proximity to university, college, and academic institutions, have been encouraged by District and Synod to embrace these academic and university settings as opportunities for intentional mission and ministry,                                                                                      be it
RESOLVED   That the Northwest District, and our national Synodical Office for North American Missions, be encouraged to facilitate any collaborative “think tank” efforts regarding campus ministry all the while considering the need to engage students, professors, and staff with a thoughtful, respectful, and patient ministry paradigm,                                                   and be it further
RESOLVED   That campus ministry, as worked out at the local congregational level, be encouraged to include a general focus of approaching the university setting not as an adversary to be conquered but a neighbor to befriend; a community to support with respect to their civil and civic behaviors; a locale to establish positive relationships of trust; a setting to enjoy the skills and abilities of young people; and to view the institution as a hopeful environment in which we can share the unconditional truth of God’s love as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ by our having first earned a place on the university campus through our unconditional love of the institution.
SIGNED_______________________________________ (President of congregation)

(They’ll know we are Christians…How?...What difference does/did it make?)
  • ENVIRONMENT:  Christians are called upon by God to be caretakers of the earth….(Genesis 1:1-Created by God...Genesis 1:28-Divine proxy dominion...Genesis 1:29-Creation is a gift)
  • RELATIONSHIPS: Christians see others as God-creations...(Genesis 2:7 & 2:22-God-formed...Genesis 1:27-Male and female are “image-miracle” of God)
  • CIVIC INVOLVEMENT: Christians are informed, vote, and pray for leaders. They engage in culture...(Genesis 41:41-Jospeh in charge Egypt...Romans 13:1-Thoughtful civic participation & Appropriate care of civil government.)
  • RACIAL EQUALITY: Christians see all people as image of God...(Genesis 1-All people created by, and in image of, God ...Acts 2:1-13-All nations received Gospel)
  • JUSTICE & FAIRNESS: Christians hold to the truth of justice...(Micah 6:8...Act justly...Judges 4:5-Deborah leads & judges God’s people with fairness)
  • HONESTY AND INTEGRITY: Christians exercise their new nature by living new...(II Kings 12:15-Acting with complete honesty...Lev.19:26-Business practices of integrity)
  • CARE OF THE DISENFRANCHISED: Christians care for the weak...(Psalm 82:3-Defend the cause of the weak...Luke 10:25-37-Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan)
  • CHARITY & VOLUNTEERING: Christians give because they have received...(1 John 4-We love because we have been loved...Titus-Scripture encouraging the doing of good)
  • CARE OF THE BODY: Christians care for the body because to do so equips them to live well...(Exodus 20:8-11Rest and worship are key to life...I Corinthians 3:16-Temple of Holy Spirit)
  • FORGIVENESS: Christians know failure does not have the last word. We focus on the person and work of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:11-21-we have been reconciled to God by Jesus...We are reconciled to one another…We are called to a ministry of reconciliation.)
There is a reasonable rationale for those who embrace the timeless truths of the Christian faith to maintain a healthy, balanced, and purposeful world view. (Prepared by Rev. Timothy C. Cartwright)



(Parish Nurse, a ministry bridge to the congregation and community)
Where there once was not a Parish Nurse presence at Grace Lutheran there is now an effective, active, relevant, and essential ministry in the midst of our congregation and community. Lois Banke, RN, EdD has brought experience, insight, and a great “hands on” spiritual presence to our congregation. The many aspects of her work reach to the nooks and crannies of the congregation’s many ministry efforts.
When Dr. Lois Banke began planning her vocational transitions as she retired from her career as the Director of Education for Asante Health System at Rogue Valley Medical Center, Southern Oregon’s award winning regional hospital, she looked toward her faith community at Grace Lutheran Church as a place to continue to exercise her God given skills and abilities. Her collaboration with Grace’s pastor resulted in a partnership that has proven to be significant, purposeful, and beneficial.
The Parish Nurse presence at Grace has been effective in building bridges to the community at large and at the same time intentionally engaging the congregation with clear and specific health care information, wisdom and support.
Answer the question, “To whom do you belong?” while answering the health care questions concerning, “What should I do?”
Dr. Banke and Pastor Cartwright have combined “Stole and Stethoscope” in many settings at Grace Lutheran. They are committed to answer the question, “To whom do you belong?” while addressing the health care questions concerning, “What should I do?” The Parish Nurse ministry at Grace operates under the solid knowledge that we belong to Christ, a truth which is firmly established in the waters of Holy Baptism and affirmed in the gift of Holy Communion found at the communion rail.
Combined with her Parish Nurse activities, Lois serves the congregation as a Stephen Minister as well as serving on the congregation’s Lay Ministry Board. Dr. Banke’s expertise was extremely helpful as the congregation re-established its Stephen Ministry program. Grace found it necessary to remind itself of the covenants and parameters which guide Stephen Ministry on a national level.
Lois brings her skills and Parish Nurse insights to these two essential and primary pastoral care boards (Stephen and Lay Ministry). Grace’s congregation has found it imperative to have qualified women caring for the various needs of the congregation, very similar to the Stephen Ministry paradigm. The Parish Nurse ministry has a seat at the table of the congregation’s Lay Ministry board, providing guidance to the board. The board in turn provides the Parish Nurse a place of encouragement and accountability.
Her roles as Parish Nurse, Lay Minister, and Stephen Minister, assist the pastor and congregation as new members are received into the congregation. All new members are made aware of her presence. 
Dr. Banke began her work as an officially trained Parish Nurse in August of 2006. Pastor Cartwright arrived at Grace in 2005. They have collaborated in their “Stole and Stethoscope” effort for nearly seven years. Grace Lutheran is attempting to be a “mission congregation in the midst of a legacy (aging) church.” In the last eight years Grace’s congregation has cared for nearly 60 funerals. In spite of these losses Grace has grown as a congregation having adding nearly one hundred new members. Lois’ Parish Nurse efforts and activities have been invaluable. Death and dying issues have run parallel with outreach and new member needs. Lois has interfaced seamlessly with regional hospice entities. Her presence at Grace has assisted this congregation of 200 members in its attempt to transition from a legacy congregation to a mission congregation.
Lois provides monthly blood pressure checks. This is especially helpful for the pastor who is sure to get his pressure checked following Sunday services. In addition to blood pressure screening she provides annual opportunities for the congregation to be trained in CPR and AED skills. Dr. Banke uses her wide network of professional connections to locate qualified individuals to bring training sessions to the church and community.
Lois works with students from the local university in support of the congregation’s newly established outreach efforts on the campus of Southern Oregon University.
Dr. Banke communicates with the congregation through a monthly article in the congregation’s newsletter. She also prepares a monthly bulletin board with various topics and health matters. These articles range from heart health, flu vaccination, brain health, mental health, exercise, nutrition, etc. Her efforts as Parish Nurse provide health care information to God’s people who seek to care for both body and soul.
Lois has provided support to Grace’s Monthly Men’s Breakfast Bible Study. She ventured into the midst of twenty men and sat down to break bread with them. After the Bible study Lois made a presentation to the group on men’s health issues. She was outnumbered 20-1, fearless and not intimidated.
Dr. Banke, Parish Nurse, is available for consultation. She is a great ear for the members of the congregation who have questions regarding prescription medication and an assortment of health care questions. Lois is quick to listen and ready to refer the individuals back to their primary care practitioners, as well as making visits “with” congregational members to their personal health care providers. She is also able to refer individuals back to the pastor when spiritual care matters are identified.
Lois is active in the community. She serves at the local hospital as a volunteer chaplain. She also volunteers in the community assisting the local efforts to address proper end of life education.
This Parish Nurse ministry in our midst “Stole and Stethoscope” equips this congregation as we listen to the hearts of our members and build bridges to the community.



Grace Lutheran, like many congregations, is blessed with a number of talented and gifted musicians. We have made an intentional effort to define this aspect of our work in Southern Oregon. We have intentionally engaged our local community and university (and built bridges) through “music.” Because Ashland is an “arts” community we determined that a segment of our music ministry could reflect this primary aspect of our local environment.
  • Our congregation has a variety of worship services. All are well prepared, Lutheran, thoughtful, and Christ-entered. We prepare a historic/traditional service on the first Sunday of the month. Each Sunday of the month has a different form of service. Our congregation uses organ, piano, upright bass, light percussion, guitar, and flutes almost every Sunday to accompany all services forms. We embrace and enjoy the Lutheran Service Book (LSB).
  • Worship Team and vocalists are used each Sunday to enhance, assist, and guide the service and congregation. The worship team provides special music when the full choir is not available.
  • Grace’s choir provides special service music nine months of the year. They offer their songs every Sunday and meet on Wednesday evenings. They are an identified “small group” of the congregation.
  • Provide a free rehearsal venue for a local violin, student group of 25, top level “Carnage Hall” accomplished musicians of all ages. In lieu of payment for space use we suggest that they on occasion play for a service (play vs. pay). We provide our space for their annual fundraising recital concert.
  • Local neighborhood piano teacher has needed on occasion a venue for her student recitals. Once again we suggest a “play vs. pay” arrangement.
  • We organize and implement free “community” concerts. When we host these concerts we are able to speak clearly of our understanding that God is the source of all song and music. We do this respectfully and artfully.
  • We provide a recital venue for university students. Grace has a top of the line Yamaha grand piano and a completely remodeled facility. This piano and our facility are used to assist students and their skill development in any way possible. It is free and the suggestion to “play vs. pay” is made. Quite regularly student will assist our music ministry.
  • This congregation hosts a university student annual benefit concert supporting the university Alternative Spring Break program which sends students to various locations to engage in “civil/civic” projects. Grace Lutheran organizes, hosts, and implements this concert. All of the nearly dozen “acts” are students. Our congregational musicians are interspersed with the students. All funds are given to the university program which finances these student trips.
  • Annual award for “female/alto” university student. The student recipient of this (nearly) endowed award is required to sing with our choir both during rehearsal and Sunday services. The award winner is given a $250.00 monthly stipend to be applied to her college music award. She in turn, learns a complete Christian, music program.
  • Brass Musicians & Jazz Musicians. Grace budgets dollars (and receives special donations) to support student “brass” musicians. The congregation has a goal of providing nearly a dozen of its annual services with the addition of brass instruments. Reformation and Easter are typical services. However, we add ten more service opportunities for student musicians.
  • Our church Accompanist and Choir Director are high level “graduate students” from the local university.



Grace Lutheran Church is located in a community that is known for its burgeoning “retirement” population, not unlike many locales. Our climate and beautiful geography, the university and the year round, world renowned Shakespeare venue, plus access to acclaimed hospitals and medical care make Ashland and the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon a prime place for retirees to settle. As this congregation set its sight on the future, we began to ask specific questions as to how we might focus on this particular ministry target. Here are some of the objectives we have pursued.
  1. We immediately improved the various pastoral care boards of the congregation. These included our Stephen Ministry and our Lay Ministry Board. Most congregations have a Board of Elders, whereas this congregation has a Board of Lay Ministry. We also have specifically embraced the ministry and efforts of a Parish Nurse. We require all Lay Ministers to make in home visitations. If the choose not to perform this function they are asked to resign. Each Lay Minister is assigned a “Shepherding” group comprised of a set number of congregational households (15-20). Stephen Ministers and the Parish Nurse are good at visitation.
  1. As Grace approached this area of ministry the congregation developed the notion of “off-site” Bible Studies. This is not a new idea, yet it was new for Grace. Grace offers off-site, retirement community Bible Studies during the winter months.
  1. During the summer Grace has developed and Adult Vacation Bible School which runs concurrently with the newly developing children’s VBS. Generally approximately 50 adults and seniors engage this program.
  1. Grace provides an occasional “flash mob” meal at a local restaurant. Individuals are simply emailed or phoned regarding lunch. We warn the restaurant about this event. We have never been denied by a proprietor.
  1. We encourage and solicit the active participation of Seniors in our worship setting. We have moved the lectern and placed it in a sanctuary setting which does not require the use of steps.
  1. Grace offers regular grief support as well as sessions on death and dying matters. We do so from the perspective of the Gospel of our Lord.
We have built bridges to our community through this intentional ministry target. We honor all Seniors and do not see them as a liability. We see them as an asset to our church and surrounding community.



Grace Lutheran has intentionally engaged the local Ashland community by approving the use of its facility space for local needs. A recently completed effort to revamp its facility, inside and out, has proven invaluable as Grace looks to its future and builds bridges to the local community. Grace first makes “ministry” room for its own new programming and ministry objectives. The congregation then says “yes” to certain strategic requests for use of its space.
  1. Grace provides support for a local Narcotics Anonymous (N/A) group which meets weekly in its basement Fireside Room. The group meets on a Tuesday evening from 8-9pm. On the rare occasion when space conflicts arise the N/A group gladly adjusts their schedule. Grace extends an anonymous invitation to the group to join in their community, congregation & campus early Thanksgiving meal and worship.
  1. Grace is located in a very “arts” driven community. The congregation provides its space to a local “Carnage Hall” award winning violin group called Siskiyou Violins comprised of 20-25 student musicians. The group wanted to pay for it’s twice a month use of the facility. The congregation decided to invite the violinists to “play” verses “pay.” On occasion top level violinists will work with its musicians. The young people and their families then participate during a Sunday morning service. The congregation also provides its space for the group’s annual fundraising concert and recital.
  1. Grace works with Southern Oregon University’s “Learning in Retirement” program, located across the street from the church. The church provides parking space for the university program. On occasion when there may be a need for a large lecture space. When the presenter is appropriate and the schedule allows the congregation works seamlessly with the directors of the Learning in Retirement program.
  1. Grace has a top of the line Yamaha grand piano. The piano and space is selectively used by university students who may desire a more intimate venue for their various piano recitals. When possible Grace provides without obligation its space to these students and the university. When students offer to pay for the space, an option of “play” is suggested. On occasion various students and their friends join the congregation and our musicians for a Sunday morning service.
Grace’s facility has been used by various community and university groups which need a place to meet and discuss their program goals. The leadership of the congregation always makes sure that the church’s growing needs are met first as the annual facility schedule is developed. Whenever possible and appropriate decisions are made to “build bridges” which assist the community at large.



(Marlys K. Cartwright, DCE)
Marlys K. Cartwright fills Grace Lutheran’s part-time compensated position of Office Administrator (twenty hours a week) addressing the administrative details of the congregation and its pastor. Her “other hours” at the church are volunteer hours. Those “other hours” are an expression of her five years of professional training at Synodical-Lutheran institutions which prepare men and women for service in the church. She has decades of professional experience. Grace Lutheran in Ashland is the recipient of her education, experience, and willingness to give of her volunteer hours.
In addition to office work she serves as a Stephen Minister having served prior congregations as a trained Stephen Leader. Serving along side of Stephen Leaders, Cindy Fuglsby and Jane Dow, and trained Stephen Ministers, she has been a part of the resurgence of a healthy and properly functioning Stephen Ministry
The people at Grace Lutheran know her to be an able Bible Class teacher and presenter. She is a trained proclaimer of the Gospel. Her speaking skills have been used during our Advent and Lent services. She has been a Bible Study leader in the midst of the Women’s ministry here at Grace. Under the leadership of Grace’s pastor Marlys has been a key figure in the congregation’s development of a new summer evening Vacation Bible School paradigm which focuses on adults, children, Bible Study, meals, and the arts.
Partnering with Kristel Olsen she has established a monthly support group for women who meet to strengthen one another in faith and daily living. The group is call “First Mondays” with discussions focusing on God’s Word and its application to the healthy development of life skills. This group has been a great bridge to the community as Grace’s members invite their friends to this ministry focal point.
When time allows she participates in the congregation’s choir and music ministry. She is regular in the support of Grace’s Lay Reader ministry which places members into the role of reading Sunday morning Scripture and she makes sure that fellowship events are organized and implemented. Marlys participates in Grace’s budding college ministry. She is a good ear and listener for the young people who attend our university and church.
Among her efforts include the care and support of young mothers through an active “Newborn Baby Shower” program with young families of the church and community benefiting from these efforts. The most recent “shower” included three women and their children, two of these three women were the guests of members. What a bridge!
Marlys K. Cartwright, DCE, volunteers her professional skills in a myriad of ways that are hidden and under the radar, many not mentioned in this brief overview. Her “other hour” ministry has been an integral part of Grace Lutheran’s recalibration of its future mission and ministry. Small parishes that are limited in resources cannot succeed without the “other hour” activities of all members, professional or otherwise.

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