The Chicago retreat February 17 to 19 turned out to be the adventure it promised to be. The exploration and excitement of the relationship of faith to science! Students Diamond Akabuaku, Amanda Barrett, Rebecca Bujnoch, Cameron Duke, Breana Francis, Kendall Hohl, Katherine Kovalchin, Kearstin Turner and Sarah Stegler , along with 2016 MCCN graduate Yuliya Fonin joined Dr. Ellen O’Shaughnessy, director of Campus Ministry, and her husband, Dr. J. Robert Padberg for the experience. The retreat was funded by the Downtowners Campus Ministry and hosted by the Chicago Province of the Episcopal Church.
Forty five students and campus ministers represented by colleges and universities including the University of Chicago, Michigan Tech, Kenyon College, our own Mount Carmel College of Nursing explored together this theme with scientist and theologian author Lucas John Mix. Sessions of time for prayer and reflection were spent around the marvels of creation, the possibility of extraterrestrial life and what that means for our faith and theology. Four hours were spent on Saturday afternoon at the Museum of Science and Industry with a special workshop on future energy in Chicago. The retreatants competed in games which were focused on the environment and the challenge of saving the planet through the latest inventions and ways of conserving energy. Additional exhibits included studies and experiments in meteorology and genetics. The possibility of life on other planets challenges our complacency that we are the only beings in the universe!
Diamond Akabuaku writes in her evaluation, “This weekend was amazing. It wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I say that in a good way. I thought I was going to be around people who believed the same things as me and we would just expand off of similar beliefs - but to my surprise, it was not like that. It was more like people with some similarities and some differences coming together as one and doing life together.”
Cameron Duke reflects: “After the Chicago retreat I came to appreciate the different beliefs of my community of Mount Carmel students and become a witness to my faith. This retreat had so much to offer. I loved having the opportunity to go around the city and become closer to people of MCCN. The leaders of the retreat gave us all points about science and religion, and reminded us that they coexist to give us a greater understanding of our world around us.”
Yuliya Fonin writes: “On this beautiful weekend of February I most enjoyed the gift of warm weather and gathering of God-loving individuals. We thought and reflected about the connection between creation and science, and we decided for ourselves where we belong along that spectrum. It was difficult to face the fact that we are depleting the earth’s resources that God has provided for us. I will be working among others to decrease unforgiving consumption. The phrase I have heard as a child, ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ is once again prominent in my mind, but this time it’s with God’s creation in mind and heart.”
“Baruch Hashem” Blessed be God!
“God looked over everything he had made; it was so good, so very good.” Genesis 1:31
Praise God, Creator of our beautiful planet Earth and amazing universe!
Submitted by Dr. Ellen O’Shaughnessy, director of Campus Ministry