BRENNA EMBRACES LEADERSHIP ROLE AT CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE FARM
Wesley Foundation senior Brenna eyes sparkle as she describes her experiences volunteering for the Christian Disciple Farm, a United Methodist Church-supported vacation bible school for children with special needs and their families in Sullivan, Wisconsin. “I’ve been a junior counselor at Lake Lucerne, and signed up to do anything at this camp, but when they put me in charge of a group of 9 to 12-year old’s, I was at first a little nervous. I remember a moment when I prayed, and put the whole situation in God’s hands. I let go of being in control and let God lead the way.”
Brenna got a lot more comfortable as the week progressed, and found that her new middle school buddies really opened up to her about tough stuff. “Volunteering at camp was a nice way to focus on something different in the summer, and practice the type of self-care I was encouraging to my campers. We prayed together and we played together.”
Wesley’s campus minister, Lauren Rheingans is a seasoned volunteer at the Christian Disciple Farm which is run by her in-laws and takes place at their farm. Lauren, along with her husband Adam, Brenna and Wesley co-president Lily Dunk served as volunteers for this unique day camp program. While the campers go home at night, volunteers of many ages camp at the farm, participate in evening worship and activities and build community throughout the week.
An accounting major in the Carlson School at the University of Minnesota, Brenna grew up in Spring Green, WI and was a member of Midland United Methodist Church. “When I enrolled at the U, I was delighted to discover the Wesley Foundation and find a welcoming community that embraces Methodism. I feel the most supported and more able to truly be myself with the Wesley students. I can arrive at a Wesley activity in an awful mood and immediately feel better just by being together with these special friends.”
In addition to serving as the Wesley Foundation student treasurer, Brenna is active in a number of student organizations including U Finance, Minnesota Dance Marathon, and Truth in Business. She is currently vice-president for MinnesoTap, a student led tap ensemble.
KELBY PURSUES HIS DREAM WITH CHURCH SUMMER INTERNSHIP
From an early age, Kelby knew he wanted to be a pastor. He recalls, “When I was six years old, I remember hearing stories about traveling missionaries and thought that sounded like a cool career. As I grew older, my thoughts turned to parish ministry. I love to write, to be with people, and I love God. It sounded perfect to me.”
At the end of his senior year in high school, Kelby and his family were in search of a new church home and followed the recommendation of a beloved teacher to visit Coppertop – the First United Methodist Church in Duluth. Immediately during their first visit, Kelby and his parents felt excited by the community and the connections they made. Kelby shared his sense of call to ministry with Rev. Jeanine Alexander and they began discussing opportunities for Kelby to gain more experience at Coppertop through the form of a summer internship. “It was an amazing summer, “says Kelby. I worked on major projects, I helped with summer programming, I even got to participate in a baptism, communion and hospital visits. I also attended the Annual Conference and served as a delegate. This experience really validated my dream of wanting to be a pastor. The idea in my head of becoming a pastor turned into an exciting reality.”
A native of South Range, WI and a sophomore at the U, Kelby is a psychology major. He discovered the Wesley Foundation early in his freshman year and became a regular participant at Discussion Night. “I love to discuss theological ideas with this community. We have great conversations and explore our faith together in a safe and supportive environment.” Kelby is looking forward to preaching for Sunday morning worship at Centennial United Methodist Church’s St. Anthony Park campus later this month.