Campus Ministries Intern Reflects on His Path to EMU

According to Jonathan Swartz, being a Campus Ministries Intern really is all it is cracked up to be.

The opportunity to become deeply involved in the EMU com- munity has led Swartz to experience fulfillment in doing what he always knew he was going to do.

Who is this Jonathan Swartz? To answer this question, we must travel to Goshen, Indiana.

Swartz was born and raised in Goshen, living there for 31 years before making the journey to Kansas to attend Bethel College.

During his time there, Swartz played on the basketball team. In 2002, after graduating, he married Rose, a Canadian Mennonite. For the duration of the next ten years,

Swartz worked at a construction job building houses. In 2010, however, he started taking online classes from Eastern Mennonite Seminary (EMS).

He became more interested in the material that he was studying and decided to take the move to Harrisonburg to attend the Seminary.

In the summer of 2010, the Swartz’s visited Harrisonburg. “We loved the area, loved the people; it felt like a warm community right from the beginning,” said Swartz. At that point, they had three young children and also needed to take their children’s lives into account.

Settling into Harrisonburg in July 2011, Swartz delved right into his classes at EMS and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), pursuing a dual degree in a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts and Conflict Transformation, looking specifically at restorative justice practices.

Swartz began his internship with Campus Ministries last fall, just a month before his fourth child was born. Juggling family life, schoolwork, and internship presented a challenge—though not an impossible one—for Swartz.

“Our son was born two months premature, so my wife and I were alternating traveling to Charlottesville every week,” he explained.

In addition to this responsibility, Swartz conducted one-on-ones with Pastoral Assistants (PA) and Ministry Assistants (MA), organized the election day communion service that was held in November, and planned the MA “Day Away.”

He made a conscious effort to de- velop relationships with students so that he would be able to “go deeper” into future encounters and meetings.

This semester, Swartz has continued his involvement with the campus PAs and MAs, teaching several MA classes. He also preached in university chapel on February 22 concerning abundant life. Swartz is currently taking 13 credit hours at EMS and CJP while also working the suggested ten hours per week for his internship.

Despite all of his busyness and the occasional evening meeting, Swartz tries his best to be home at 5 p.m. and to leave his work at school.

“I try to leave it when I go home so I can be present with my family,” he said. Overall, Swartz has been fully satisfied by his experience.

“It’s busy, but it’s really good,” he said. “It’s been such a rich experience and I do not regret any of it. I love to see the different passions and interactions that come out in working with students at EMU.”

So where will Swartz go from here? He’s not completely sure yet, but he has several options in mind, all of which include working with the church.

“I’ve always known that I’m going to be involved in the life of the church,” said Swartz.

“If nothing else works out, I have the skill of construction, but I’m open to whatever God has in store for me.”

Lauren Sauder,

News Editor

Categories: Feature

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