A Father’s View: In Good Hands
Pastor Robert Ruedebusch, Canyon Lake United Methodist Church, Rapid City, South Dakota
I asked a question of the two backwards-walking campus tour guides. I knew the answer, but was curious about what they would say. “Emory is a United Methodist school, right?” I inquired. “Oh, yes,” came the quick response, “but we are very open to all religions and faiths here at Emory.”
I smiled. As a United Methodist pastor, I was aware of this spirit of openness to all faiths at Emory, along with its historic ties to the United Methodist Church.
My daughter Katie has truly enjoyed the challenges and opportunities of her college experience at Emory University. Atlanta is a long way from South Dakota, but the miles melt away in the light of the numerous connections that helped her mother and me feel good about having Katie grow, develop, and study at Emory.
The gift of the United Methodist Church is its connections. The summer before Katie went to Emory, the guest preacher and teacher for the week at our Dakotas Annual Conference session was Bishop Lindsey Davis, the resident bishop of the North Georgia Annual Conference and an Emory trustee. My daughter Katie was at Annual Conference as a youth delegate, so we had time to share with Bishop Davis and his wife Jennifer. When we indicated that Katie was coming to Emory, they were excited and immediately gave her their phone numbers. They repeated their invitation several times: “Don’t hesitate to call us!” At that moment I understood the gift of connection more deeply than I ever had before. We knew Katie would be in good hands.
During new student orientation we worshipped at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, located right on campus. We had a wonderful time of worship with Katie and saw there visible connections between Emory and Glenn’s congregation. We felt, again, that Katie was in good hands.
Over the years we have watched our daughter continue to grow in her academic abilities as well as grow and mature into a wonderful young woman of faith. She has a passion and compassion for persons in need and the poor in our world. She has a passion for justice in the face of injustice. She wants to make a difference. She has deepened in her faith as she has reflected on the political and religious issues of our day. At Emory she has heard Jimmy Carter, Fred Craddock, Jim Wallis, and other contemporary spiritual leaders share their insights and thoughts. We are grateful that she has shared experiences and dialogue with others from other faith and religious traditions. We believe this enhances her personal religious and faith experience. We now see, as we have always known, that Katie is always in God’s hands.