In his book Life Together, Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer claims that life together is not an ideal we must achieve but rather a gift from God in which we get to participate. Life together, in other words, isn’t up to us (thank goodness). It’s a gift that’s already there, a call that compels us to respond.
At the heart of Duke Lutherans lies this call to life together—and we try to take the “together” part of that really seriously. Here’s what that means to us:
We are called to life together on CAMPUS. This means gathering for worship each Sunday evening in the York Room, where we are fed spiritually in word and sacrament and physically in the fellowship meal that follows. It means summer game nights, Lenten pretzel-making, and weekly lunches with undergraduates and graduates, scientists and seminarians, Lutherans and non-Lutherans. It means coming together for conversation about what it means to be a person of faith on campus and in the world today—both formally at our bi-weekly Pub Theology gatherings for graduate students and young adults across Durham, and informally over coffee…lots of coffee.
We are called to life together in our local supporting CONGREGATIONS, St. Paul’s (ELCA) and Grace (LCMS). This means sharing home-cooked meals with members after our Sunday evening services. It means worshipping together—weekly in the York Room, twice a year in Duke Gardens, and for midweek Advent and Lenten services at the local churches. It means starting an “Adopt a Student” program, where Duke Lutherans and church members can enter into deeper relationship. It means sharing life with 8-year-olds and 80-year-olds.
We are called to life together in our CITY. This means taking part in what booming Durham has to offer—eating together at new restaurants and listening to live music in Durham’s Central Park. It also means listening to what this city needs and trying to meet those needs faithfully. It means hosting local speakers to share about our city’s challenges like affordable housing, food insecurity, and homelessness. It means tutoring kids from Durham Public Schools at a bilingual tutoring program at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, serving meals to hungry neighbors at Urban Ministries, and walking alongside newly-arrived refugee families at Church World Service. It means getting to know our city by going on a bike tour organized by the Durham History Hub in May, or embarking on a local Pilgrimage this September (see below for more details).
And we are called to life together with YOU—alumni, family, and friends—who are an important part of the Duke Lutherans community. We look forward to sharing in this life together with you this upcoming year, this gift that God gives us undeservedly and abundantly.