October 25, 2020 — Maryland

Tuesday morning I set out for Maryland. First stop was Owings Mills for lunch with Steven Badorf, a former RUF colleague, now pastor and old friend. (I didn’t say Steven was old. The friendship is old.) Steven has been helping to teach one of the tracks of our student training conferences. We had a good time catching up and I continued to College Park. I got some exercise before dinner with campus minister Chris Garriott. We always take the campus minister and his wife to dinner during a campus visit. Since Chris is single, he invited his interns to join us. Both interns are married and brought their spouses, so it was a happy company!

Wednesday was packed! I started the day at breakfast with Chris, then traveled to Fairfax, VA for lunch with the new RUF committee chairman. We covered the bases of that job and chatted about life in the shadow of DC. Back in College Park I met with Valerie (one of the interns) and with a student. I had time for a quick dinner before the Large Group Meeting. Valerie turned Chris’ living room into a recording studio where they live-stream the Large Group Meeting every week. They briefly interviewed me, then I watched from the couch at the side. It was very well produced and Chris delivered a wonderful sermon on John 4.

Thursday began with breakfast with Chris, then coffee with Josh (the other intern). With most classes online, many students are living at home. I drove to Columbia to meet one of the RUF student leaders who is considering the RUF internship. The rest of the day was occupied with the report of my visit and other office work.

On the way home Friday I stopped in Westminister, MD for lunch with Brian LoPiccolo to catch up and to discuss planting a church in Stony Brook, Long Island.

I think that every student I’ve met this semester has told me they spend almost all their time in their rooms. With no classes to attend, social gatherings prohibited, and increased assignments – students feel no reason to leave. I think this is unhealthy – physically, emotionally, socially, and even spiritually. I’ve been urging students to make it a priority to get out, even if briefly, every day.

This week Ruth will accompany me to Pittsburgh and Akron, Ohio.

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