The following is a Christian Work Project sponsored in part by a grant from the Boston Baptist Social Union.

UMASS Campus Ministry

Existing mission and ministry is supporting campus ministers on college campuses across Massachusetts.

  • Since 1965, American Baptists in Massachusetts have supported campus ministry through the Foundation, formed to replace earlier nationally-supported University Pastors and Student Foundations; the Foundation is governed independently by a Board of Directors representing Baptist Associations, historically related American Baptist Churches, At-Large American Baptist individuals with a strong interest in campus ministry and, ex-officio, the Executive Minister of TABCOM;
  • Since 1968, American Baptists nationally and locally have supported campus ministries ecumenically, in covenant with other denominations; in Massachusetts, the Foundation currently is in covenant with the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Synod of the Northeast Presbyterian Churches of the USA, working through the Massachusetts Commission for the United Ministries in Higher Education (UMHE).
    • Originally, United Methodists were also part of the covenant but they withdrew from ecumenical campus ministry in 2002, causing continuing financial difficulties for our ministries.
  • Campus Ministers, accordingly, are well aware of the multi-denominational "hats" they wear;
  • Presently, the Foundation supports campus ministers, through UMHE, on seven campuses in addition to UMass Boston: UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, Salem State, Boston University (vacant), Harvard, MIT and Suffolk, plus an exciting Internet Ministry, "Campus Faith;"
  • Since 1969, Boston-area ministries (now UMass Boston, Boston University, Harvard, MIT, Suffolk and Internet) have been combined as Boston-cambridge Ministry in Higher Education (BCMHE);
  • Campus Ministers are the local church's ministers and missionaries on campus,working among students, faculty, administrators and staff in numerous ways, including worship, counseling, Bible study, discussion groups, fellowship and community service projects;
  • Campus Ministers bring the church's perspective to so many young and idealistic people searching for meaning in their lives, often while facing pressures such as para-religious groups, religious pluralism, substance abuse, relational and reproductive issues, and increasingly, the economic crises;
  • Campus Ministers know that our college campuses are crucial to the shaping of the future; are where values are being formed; are increasingly the international mission at our doorstep, with such a rich mix of foreign students; and so are a place where we must witness to the Gospel. College campuses are probably the most important mission field of the church today.
  • Since as far back as 1978, TABCOM provided annual direct support to the foundation; this combined with Institutional Support Process (I.S.P.) donations from American Baptist Churches and Associations, gifts from individuals and a very modest endowment to provide our annual operating funds; budget pressures and reevaluated priorities, however, caused TABCOM to phase out its support to zero for 2001, providing the urgency for our initially approaching the Social Union, compounded shortly afterwards by the withdrawal of United Methodist funding.

Specifically, we are requesting funds to underwrite the annual cost of the existing Campus Minister at UMass, Boston

  • Rev. Adrienne Berry-Burton, an ordained American Baptist and long-time active member at Zion Baptist Church, Lynn, continues to be the Campus Minister;
    • Her experience includes nine years as organizer, speaker and trainer for the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization;
    • She is active in the national American Baptist Churches Campus Ministers Association, serving as President and more recently as Secretary;
    • She completed an Urban Ministry Fellowship at Harvard Divinity School in June 2003;
    • She does part-time work at Regis College, providing pastoral care and spiritual development under the Dean of Students;
    • She does volunteer work at Wellspring House, Gloucester, a shelter for homeless men, where she additionally works with battered women;
    • She is active in the Adoniram Judson Baptist Association, recently serving as Moderator, presently on the governing board;
    • She participated, with a highly inspirational student, at the Annual Campus Ministry Dinner the opening event at the 2008 TABCOM Annual Gathering in Westport last May;
    • She was pleased to deliver the invocation at the inauguration of Dr. J. Keith Motley as the new UMass Boston Chancellor in November 2007;
      • Significantly, Chancellor Motley and his family are American Baptists, active at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, Brockton!
    • She provided the invocation for the 2008 commencement;
    • The Campus Minister representing American Baptists has essentially a half-time position (for pay purposes; her ministry extends far beyond 20 hours each week) and is the only Christian minister on the campus; a part-time Roman Catholic lay minister rounds out the team;
      • As such, she maintains a close working relationship with the Vice Chancellor's Office of Student Affairs (albeit with an independent voice, in good Baptist tradition, she not being employed by the university);
    • Both the Campus Minister and BCMHE are still hoping to expand the ministry to full time, given the urgency of the need at UMass; however this specific request is being made to support the highly successful position as it now exists;

    Programs at UMass Boston include

    • Maintaining the Interfaith Chapel, a large space provided by the university on the third floor of McCormack Hall; open 9 am. to 5 p.m.;
    • Bible Study, Sharing and Prayer, Mondays and Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.;
    • Use of campus newspapers -- Reporter (faculty and staff and Mass Media (students) -- for announcements of Chapel offerings';
    • Use of BCMHE Internet, "Campus Faith";
    • Use of UMass Internet to send put weekly selection of scripture, prayers and upcoming program notices to a growing number of students, many of whom then forward them to their friends and family;
    • Newly instituted use of UMB-TV for advertising campus ministry;
    • Prayer Breakfasts, for faculty and staff;
    • Spring and Fall Open Houses;
    • Farewell Service and Celebration for seniors;
    • Multicultural Harvest Festival at Thanksgiving, with dinner (for students away from home; jointly with Dean of Student Affairs);
    • Memorial services for deceased students, staff and faculty as requested;
    • Ash Wednesday Service;
    • Good Friday Service, not held in 2007 because of spring break, but reinstituted in 2008 with the university once again in session;
    • Coffee House of Praises, a spring gathering to "speak the word," share talents including in poetry and song;
    • Maximum unscheduled time as possible for availability to students, staff and administrators, often one on one;
    • September 11 Memorial Service, continuing a crucial part of the oncampus restoration and healing;
    • "Faith Alive Series" panel discussions.