American University Methodist Protestant Community

Love God.

Serve others.

Welcome all.

Sunday Evening Worship at 7pm

Thursday Night Worship at 11pm

Worship

Join us in worship on Sunday at 7pm or Thursday at 11pm in Kay Chapel! All are welcome!

Listen to our latest sermons and student meditations. on our podcast. Read our older sermons and find community statements, bulletin covers, and the UMSA cookbook on our media archives

You can sign up to help lead worship on Sundays or Thursdays during worship on Sunday, or on the bulletin board outside the office. 

Sunday Worship:

Our Sunday worship services are traditional United Methodist services and you’ll find that there is an open, informal atmosphere in which students are involved in all aspects of worship.

We gather for worship in order to center ourselves, to be in closer communion with God, and to hear a message from the chaplain. Our services also include hymn singing, scripture reading, a time for sharing of our joys and concerns, prayer, and music.

Thursday Healing Service:

“Healing” in its Christian context means helping people toward spiritual wholeness through prayer and support.

This intimate service includes a brief meditation and hymn singing.

Special features are the celebration of Holy Communion followed by prayers of intercession individually and collectively.

Community

Sunday Food and Fellowship, Sundays at 8pm

After worship we gather in Kay lounge to spend time together and eat snacks. Once a month the campus ministry team at Metropolitan Memorial UMC provides dinner.

Bible Study, Wednesdays at 7pm

Each week we will discuss a passage from the Bible, this semester we are talking about the Letters of John (1 John, 2 John, and 3 John). Before Bible study, Metropolitan Memorial UMC provides dinner to their Wednesday night study groups and they invite us on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Free Food Friday, Friday at 11am

The Campus Ministry Team at Metropolitan Memorial UMC provide free pizza,  a vegetable tray, snacks, and drinks in the AU Lounge. Contact us for directions.

Monthly Movie with the Methodists, First Tuesdays at 9pm

On the first Tuesday of each month during the school year, we watch a movie in Mary Graydon 200. During the movie we offer free pizza. After the movie, we have a brief discussion about how the topic of the movie connects with our faith.

 

Staff

College is a time of great exploration and adventure, but sometimes changes bring anxiety and you need someone to talk to. Whether it’s about questions of faith or problems with your roommate, your chaplains are available for counseling, advice, or just to lend an ear.

United Methodist Chaplain – Rev. Joey Heath-Mason

Joey was raised in southern Georgia and attended college at Valdosta State University, as a political science major. He planned to attend law school, but then spent several years working a variety of jobs. God called Joey in 2008. He enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary for a Master of Divinity degree. After he graduated, Joey began work at Stone Chapel UMC in New Windsor, MD. Following that he worked for 3 years at Silver Spring UMC as the associate pastor before being appointed to serve the AU community in July 2016. 

Joey’s passion in ministry is to see life changing transformation in the world and to be the church where all are welcomed and embraced for exactly who God has created each one to be. Joey can be contacted by phone at (202) 885-3304 or joeyh@american.edu.

 

Associate Chaplain – Rick Sullivan

Rick has been placed with us through the General Board of Global Ministries’ Global Mission Fellow US-2 Track as the Associate for Community Engagement. He grew up in Newark, DE and attended the University of Delaware where he studied Italian, Chinese, and Arabic. While at UD, Rick studied abroad in Italy and China. After completing undergrad, he moved to Durham, NC where he completed a Master of Divinity degree program, with a Certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture at Duke Divinity School. Rick can be contacted by email at rick@aumethodists.org.

 

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Alumni Stories

We are at a time in the church when resources are dwindling and numbers of our congregants are shrinking. Against this backdrop, the vitality of campus ministry as a source for church renewal shines out.

But the stories are not always told and many in the church do not recognize the contributions that campus ministry has made to the vitality of the church and to the engagement of young adults.  Below are some stories of our own students, testifying to the effect that campus ministry has had on their lives.

Your reflections to be posted on this page can be submitted by email.

Community alumna and current seminarian at Wesley Theological Seminary, Melanie Ollett (’12) reflects on campus ministry and the meaning of “real church”.

I cannot pinpoint one particular worship service or bible study where I experienced “real church,” but I do believe I experienced real church on an almost every day basis for three years while involved in my campus ministry. I can’t think of a community that has demonstrated the love of Christ to me more than this one. I occasionally feel as though I shouldn’t talk about them so much because there is a stigma in the church that campus ministry isn’t “church,” but then I reflect and realize how the church at large needs to hear the story of this community.

The United Methodist Protestant Community has taken their mission to “love God, serve others, and welcome all” to heart in all that it does. Some of the ways that they ‘love God’ is through their regular bible studies and worship practices. They embrace questions and doubt as a part of faith, and for “emerging” adults, this is absolutely vital. Members of the community always welcomed challenges to their assumptions and to everything they thought they knew about God and the bible, and this models a vulnerability in faith that I haven’t seen many other places. Loving God in this community means having a relationship with God that asks the tough questions such as “why did this horrible thing happen to me/the world?” or “why can’t I feel your presence with me in my loneliness,” and “how can you care about the world when much of what I see in the world is hate, destruction, and violence?”

Another way that they love God in this church community is by looking for God in every day moments. A particular member of the community became very passionate about the “God Sightings” part of the worship service, and was always the first to share how she saw God acting in her life this week, and this opened the lines of thought for other members of the congregation so much to the point where they sometimes have to limit or cut off God sightings because so many people have spotted God working in their lives. It is one of the most powerful teaching moments of the service, as it equips the members of the congregation to view their everyday lives through a lens where they perceive how God is communicating with them in the ordinary moments.

Our mission: Love God. Serve Others. Welcome All.
Serving others is also at the very heart of this community. Members of the United Methodist Protestant Community know that we are all called to serve in whatever ways we can, and are actively involved in campus outreach. Being college students themselves, they understand their context and how to minister to their classmates. During finals in the winter, the chaplain hands out free chocolate to the entire campus community who is under stress. Every Thursday night, there is a healing service, and whenever tragedy strikes in this region, this nation, or around the world, the healing service is devoted to addressing the prayers of the campus community in regards to this tragedy. They volunteered in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, took collections for Haiti after the earthquake, had multiple prayer services and gatherings during the Arab Spring and are continuing to uplift the people of Syria in their meditations and prayers. They sponsor monthly movie nights for the campus community to come together and take a study break, and for a while I remember they had a weekly Friday night outing for freshmen in the community who did not want to join in the culture of binge drinking that surrounded their classmates. Members of the community also regularly offered their volunteer services to local food banks, city clean up efforts, and homeless shelters. They viewed serving others not only as an insular calling, but knew that serving others from a Christian perspective meant ministering to the surrounding campus community, the city, and throughout the world.

One of the most touching ministries of the United Methodist Protestant Community is their ministry of hospitality and their acceptance of everyone into their caring (but sometimes dysfunctional) group. They have won countless awards from the campus Queers and Allies resource center and the Reconciling Ministries Network for their work to end discrimination against LGBT persons in the church, and each year a member of the community “adopts” incoming freshmen and contacts them the summer before they come to campus to offer them any help they need getting acclimated with the city (helping with everyday concerns as ‘where’s the best pizza joint?’ and ‘how easy is it really to find a paid internship?’) In the beginning of each academic year, there are many activities designed to help freshmen transition into college and become parts of the community. When I was a freshmen in the first week of school, I was very upset at my roommate situation. I was in a triple with girls who were not compatible with me at all and we were not able to resolve our differences. A member of the campus Methodist group, having met me for maybe a day, said “come crash on my floor so you don’t have to deal with that.” That is not a welcome that we find everywhere! Their ministry of welcoming everyone is incredible, and is unlike any other I have seen in a church due to their unique campus environment. What’s more, they welcomed change and doing things differently. There was a respect for tradition, but there was a willingness to experiment within that tradition. This meant that I was more than welcome to explore my call to ministry by preaching, leading covenant discipleship groups, and planning and leading worship.

Beyond living out their community’s mission, the United Methodist Protestant Community of my undergraduate campus has been the “real church” for me because they live out what our conference has dubbed an “Acts 2” congregation. The community cares for one another in ways unseen in a larger church. Thanks to the wonder of social media, a member of the community who is in need posts “METHODISTS ASSEMBLE!” to the Facebook group, and gets responses for what they need. That is usually everything from soup when someone is sick, to a hug when someone is just having a rough day, to a few extra pairs of jeans when their laundry gets stolen out of the machine. There are prayer requests shared and answered, and usually no one even has to say why they need something. The community gathers around a beloved one in need and cares for them, and to me, this is the truest example of “real church.”

I told them at the end of the academic year when I went back to visit about some of the stories of church I hear in seminary. I told them of some of the frustration my classmates feel at the church, and how my professors often said something along the lines of, “imagine if the church was a safe place for questioning faith…. imagine if members of a congregation took care of one another… imagine if a church opened its doors and got more involved in serving the needs of their particular community…” I wept as I told my friends and fellow members of my campus ministry that I wish every single seminarian had been able to have a teaching congregation like them.

Melanie Ollett (’12)

Melanie Ollett, ’12

One of our former seminary interns told me that when I first came to AU, he was scared to say anything to me for fear of my bursting out in tears. Of course, that got a thorough, “Gee thanks” from my current sassy self, but he wasn’t entirely off the mark. I came to college having had a rough senior year of high school, desperate to get away from home, and generally disillusioned with most things, including the United Methodist Church into which I was baptized as an infant.

The young adults I met through the UMSA showed me new ways of being: new ways of being in community, new ways of being a woman, and new ways of being a Christian. It is thanks to this campus ministry that I remained a Christian and even grew in my faith. And I never noticed it along the way, but somehow I became something sort of like a leader because of this community, empowered by its welcoming nature to stand my ground and, just like those who came before me, to offer by my life an example of a new and maybe even better way to be. When I return to my home church, I am more involved in the working of the congregation and introducing programming related to international concerns and young people’s issues.

Elise Alexander, ’12

How to Donate

The AU Methodist Protestant Community relies on the support of its members and friends in order to continue to provide this ministry to the American University campus. Any contribution you make is tax-deductible, and will go to support our worship, programs, and other financial needs. Thank you for supporting this important ministry.

Make a secure online donation by electronic funds transfer from a bank account or by credit/debit bank card.

If you prefer to make a donation by check, you may mail a check payable to the AU United Methodist Chaplaincy at the following address:

AU United Methodist Chaplaincy
Kay Spiritual Life Center
4400 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016-8010

Thank you for supporting the work of the AU United Methodist Chaplaincy!

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