A farewell message from Chaplain Elizabeth Eckman
Time is a funny thing. Time doesn’t change, but our perception of its speed does. Sometimes we notice it moving really fast and can barely remember what we did that day, and other times it moves so slow it feels like its been a whole week! My time here at Gettysburg College has come to an end and it was both fast and slow. I have truly enjoyed being the Interim Chaplain of Religious & Spiritual Life for the Spring 2021 semester. It was filled with its challenges and its blessings. The obvious challenges of a pandemic, less students on campus who don’t know me, and starting as a new employee to a new institution. And then hidden challenges, like apathy, burnout, isolation and continuous change. And amidst all of that, there were so many blessings in such a short amount of time. I got to work with people who truly care for students in a way I didn’t know colleges could do. We created vigils and moments to lament and mourn the loss of life, the loss of normalcy, the loss of experiences. We engaged in Breathe Gettysburg programming both online and in person. We worshiped near and far, and learned what it meant to engage in our faith traditions in ways we’ve never done before.
When I reflect on my time here it was a very Lutheran experience. When I say Lutheran, I’m reflecting on the both/and aspect of Luther’s theology. That we are simultaneously saint and sinner, good and bad, joy and sorrow, lament and praise. It was a both/and experience. This semester was both beautiful and hard, liberating and challenging, hopeful and at times hopeless.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn from you. Thank you for welcoming me into this community and for the opportunity to be your Chaplain. Thank you to Sam, Mary, Niamate, Rebekah, Rachel & Giancarlo for your faith in me, willingness to be flexible and love for your work.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.
Grace & Peace,
Chaplain Elizabeth Eckman