Campus Ministry shapes our university through the opportunities we provide for students and staff to belong and contribute to the community. Ministry spaces are welcoming environments where all can be supported to become who they are ultimately seeking (and called) to be.
At ACU, we believe in the education of both the mind and the heart. Assisting students to understand why they are studying something is as important as supporting what and how they study.
In various arenas of our lives, we can often face rejection and dismissal for our beliefs but despite this, we are called to be gracious in our interactions with people. Not everyone will understand our motivations or why we do what we do, but nevertheless we strive to reach out with compassion and grace. At the heart of Campus Ministry is a belief that evangelisation starts with opportunities for conversation founded on trust, and by seeing every student and staff member as someone who has inherent dignity and value.
Navigating the transition from high school to university can often be an eye-opening reality check for many young adults who perhaps find that the faith they grew up with can no longer explain or provide meaning as they are confronted with newfound challenges. Interacting daily with people who do not share the same beliefs or perspectives for the first time is a prime example of this.
This is precisely why Campus Ministry is essential to the university experience. Through creating communities where people feel they can belong, become, believe and be supported, Campus Ministry acts as a bridge where ideas, beliefs and questions can be shared in a safe and non-judgmental way. This is not just from an academic and wellbeing standpoint, but also within the wider context of their faith.
Across our campuses, our hope is that students and staff will play their part to cultivate the sense of community that defines ACU. All we can ask is that they are open to their faith being nurtured so that it can shape and inform their decisions in daily life - whether that is in deciding to give their seat up to someone on the bus, or in standing up for what they believe in class.
We are here to offer all opportunities to be formed as a whole person, to participate in social justice initiatives and to use their unique skillset to engage with their neighbourhoods, workplaces and cities. At ACU we seek to integrate faith and life, as this is the aim of all Campus ministries in tertiary institutions. We are an institution that is characterised by mutual respect and sincere dialogue. We protect the rights of all individuals. We are a faith-filled community.
Creating community and places for people to belong is something I have always been passionate about as is evident from my background in education, ministry, and sport. As the Campus Pastoral Associate, I am so thankful for the role I get to play in the life of staff and students at ACU. I admit that this is not always an easy undertaking, but it is a job that I believe is worth all the effort!
Maricelle Oringo is the Campus Pastoral Associate for Staff and Students at ACU’s Canberra Campus. Creating community and places for people to belong is something she has always been passionate about as is evident from her background in education, ministry and sport. She is also a notorious adventurer, who loves to combine physical activity and prayer.