For many among the faculty and staff of Valparaiso University, last semester was a rough one. Colleges and universities across the country are under financial pressure for a variety of identifiable and sometimes uncontrollable reasons. Here at Valpo we’ve not been exempt from these issues.

As anyone caught in the present government shutdown will tell you, when money gets tight people get anxious, even fearful. Last semester, in large forums and smaller meetings, faculty and staff sought answers to their questions and gave expression to their concerns. Some of these exchanges became heated. If our community has been typical of other human communities, there have been other, more quiet conversations which have been no less divisive as we identify others who are adding to the problem, not doing their fair share, have some unfair advantage, don’t have all the facts, or aren’t paying enough attention. The list of accusations can become nearly endless. Though our perspectives and concerns are real and legitimate, frequently in their airing we’ve not been our best selves. Instead, we’ve been quick to place blame, assume the worst of others, and succumb to a perspective that the reality of our work together is that our work is against one another: colleges in competition with other colleges, departments with departments, faculty and staff against administration. Many among us are frustrated, angry, fearful, and disappointed. Ironically, if we didn’t care so much about it all, we wouldn’t be so emotionally engaged.

It’s a new year and a new semester but none of what I just described has gone away, nor will it.

We do, however, as a Lutheran university, have significant resources to bring to bear for our life together. The Chapel is offering the morning of Thursday, January 24, as a time of prayer vigil for Valpo. There will be FOUR 20-minute services of music and prayer around the cross on the hour, beginning at 9 a.m. in the Gloria Christi Chapel on the lower level, east end of the Chapel of the Resurrection.

Whether you’re a member of the faculty, staff, administration, or a student, you are invited to come at a time that works with your schedule in order to join with others as we pray for ourselves, for our colleagues, for students, and for the university. We will remember that we are a whole university community under the Cross of Christ and that all of our work together, even our best work, is done under the incomprehensible grace of God who responds to our every failing with love and forgiveness. Both of us will be available in the time between the services for private conversation and prayer.

Join us at 9, 10, 11 or 12 noon for 20 minutes on Thursday, January 24, as we begin and continue the necessary work of building a community of mutual support and collaborative work.

We are always happy to meet with you, one on one, to talk about this or anything else that is on your mind. You can check our availability and make an appointment at

deaconesskristin.youcanbook.me or pastorjim.youcanbook.me

We hope to see you on the 24th.

Peace to you and joy,

Deaconess Kristin & Pastor Jim

Jan. 16, 2019

Pastor Jim and Deaconess Kristin take turns writing weekly devotions for the Chapel of the Resurrection.

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