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ISSUE 118 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 10/1/2004

CARE ministries ready to listen

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor


Friday, October 1, 2004

Thanks to a new group of excited staff and a renewed commitment to St. Olaf student life, CARE is back in action at St. Olaf.

CARE is a group of about 15 students who meet twice a month to pray for the needs of the St. Olaf community, and attend inservices to help them better meet the needs of the student body. CARE members are also available five days a week in their office for Christian peer counseling.

Karri Whipple 06, leader of CARE, described last years group as "barely active." This year, however, Whipple said that the student-led organization has a "new surge of energy."

Once a month, group members meet and pray for the prayer requests which come through the pastors office. Group members also write notes of encouragement to those who requested prayer.

Also once a month, CARE members meet for an inservice that helps them meet St. Olafs needs, as well as the needs of the greater community.

Previous inservices have shown group members how to help students with depression, family issues, drug and alcohol problems and their spirituality. On-campus groups such as SARN have given inservices for CARE members.

CARE has been around at least since the 2000 school year. Pastoral Intern Erik Haaland recalls an active CARE group during his time at St. Olaf.

This year, CARE has a more diverse group, including many first-time members, as well as several first years.

Last weekend, CARE members had a weekend retreat at Larson House, led by Haaland.

"All groups on campus go through ups and downs," Haaland said. "This year is definitely an up year."

While at their retreat, keynote speaker Jane Berg used a phrase which would become one of CAREs goals: "Listening people back to life."

Listening to students is the most important part of CAREs ministry. Whipple explained how its members "dont want to be wonderful counselors, but wonderful listeners."

Haaland said how, too often, "we pray for people based on our perception of their worries. This group tries to listen to the concerns of others and hold people in prayer according to their concerns."

Listening to the St. Olaf community is not CAREs only goal. Listening to the greater community and becoming more aware of their surroundings are important to the group as well.

Jessica Miller 06, treasurer of CARE, said that "CARE is not a glamorous student organization, but one that is necessary to student life."

Whipple is excited about the increased interest in CARE this year.

"Were just trying to get the word out now," she said. "People are welcome to join."

Even if students are not interested in joining the group, "just knowing were here, and telling your friends, can help a lot," Whipple said.

"Im excited to see how this year will play out," Miller said.

CAREs new office is located in the Student Organizations Resource Center. The office is open Sunday - Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. All students are encouraged to drop in.





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