Faith and learning in action: The Center for Faith and Learning (CFL) was founded at Pepperdine to enhance the connections between Christian faith and practice, scholarship, and classroom teaching. CFL regularly hosts conferences for Christian faculty, moderates challenging book discussions that bring faith-focused authors to campus, and awards three categories of financial grants that encourage and enable student-led service and ministry projects.
Every year, dozens of students and recent graduates receive either a Service and Social Action Grant, which funds projects aimed at promoting social justice; a Ministry Internship Award for Seaver College religion students who wish to pursue ministry as
their vocation; or a Professional School Student Service Internship Award, which funds graduate students’ summer internships with service-based, and preferably faith-based, organizations.
In their own words, CFL grant recipients share their stories of service, ministry, and living out the Pepperdine mission. Click here to read about 2010-11 Service and Social Action Grant recipient, Nevin James.
School of Law student Tzipora Goodfriend served the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office as a recipient of the 2011 Professional School Student Service Internship Award. While there she assisted her supervising attorney by, amongst others, editing a manual about the ramifications of the juvenile system on children; meeting with clients at County Jail; drafting a Petition for Review to the court of appeals; and compiling a database of witnesses involved with a murder case.
The quality of lawyering I observed at the LA County Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile Appellate Division and Felony Row was exceptional. Each attorney I came into contact with really put a stress on client care and exceptional advocacy. I watched my supervisors speak to clients, address their concerns and follow through with diligence by researching how to best approach a scenario the client might have brought up. These communications were very informative in that they allowed me to see first hand how effective client contact is a fine balance between addressing the client’s needs and informing them of the legal consequences their actions carry.
My experience as a law clerk with the LA County Public Defender’s Office was exceptional and contributed to my sense of vocation in that it strengthened my passion for public service and allowed me to see how a student such as myself, who is lucky enough to have the education and skill set that I do, can be effective on a daily basis and assist the indigent community in an important way that impacts lives in a very significant manner.
My theological understanding of vocation is as a commitment to a profession of higher calling. The true history and root of the word vocation follows the root of the word profession: they both have the meaning of an individual who professes an obligation to his work. I see my internship with the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office this past summer as a part of my training towards shaping my vocation. Experiencing a summer where I put my professional skills to use in a setting which requires my mentoring, advising and guiding individuals that need a legal professional’s assistance will help me start my legal profession on the right foot. This internship has allowed me to shape the rest of my profession as just that, a profession as opposed to a career.
Alison Johnson earned a Summer 2011 youth ministry internship with The Church at Lakewood in Lakewood, Washington, where the religious studies major supported her home church with running the middle school and high school (grades 6 through 12) services and recreation.
I was my youth pastor Peter’s right hand lady. Having a youth intern on staff was new to my church, but was a significant need for growth and I am so glad I could bless the church with my time this summer. Ministry is challenging in ways different from anything I had experienced before. You have to check your heart every day to make sure you are able to pour into people if the chance comes up (which it always does). One thing I did not realize about working at a church is that every time you print a color-ink page, that is someone’s tithe money, so you learn to proofread extra careful!
I figure, even though I don’t have a set career plan for my future, at least I love what I am studying! I know God will honor that, and as I learn to trust Him more with my future, I am excited to see where He leads me. I believe I will go into ministry of some kind after graduation this year, and whether that is youth ministry, women’s ministry, or missions work, I trust that God will show me.
I do not know what the future holds for me, but I know that we all can minister to others, no matter what career path we take. We all can have eternal effects on the lives around us, we all can listen to God’s voice to serve those we see, and we all can love as much as we possibly can.
With her Ministry Internship Award, recent religious studies graduate Krista Friedman (’11) served her own college through the Summer 2011 Pepperdine Athletics Chaplaincy Internship, where she worked alongside Maurice Hilliard, the University Athletic Chaplain and project director for the Boone Center for the Family.
Maurice and I would just be resources for the athletes to talk to and pray for and encourage in any way. Throughout my time at Pepperdine I spent a lot of time working alongside Maurice and when I graduated I wanted more time to work with him and gain wisdom with how he ministers to the athletes at Pepperdine. During the summer my internship consisted of a lot of prayer and just spending time with the athletes since many of them stay in Malibu over the summer.
Sometimes it is hard to minister to the people who are closest to you. I have to remember that it is God doing the work, especially on the days when I feel inadequate because I am the same age as most of the athletes. I have tried to use these challenges as benefits. Since I am so close in age and was going through many of the same experiences as the people I was around I was able to truly understand what they were going through and was able go through things with them.
The internship made me realize that I still have a lot to learn in ministry but I am excited to see what God has in store for me. This fall I will still be working in the athletic department with Maurice and the athletes. We plan on developing a mentor program for the freshmen athletes and trying to be more available to more of the athletes—and to meet them wherever they are and just love on them and show them their value.
Amanda Schulze, a GSEP learning technologies doctoral student, volunteered for five weeks this summer with the Unity Charitable Trust in the Indian village of Virudhunagar, helping rural women empower their lives with technology.
I have been assisting the women with their English, learning about their businesses and technology use, and have worked at the preschool established by the organizations. Originally I was also supposed to volunteer at the computer lab the organization established. As happens in many poor communities, the computers were donated—but there is no money left for ongoing payment of electricity, Internet connection, or maintenance needed for the computers. I am going to search for some possible grants the organization can apply for to get a new computer lab for girls and women to use.
Speaking English and being able to use a computer are two skills women need to gain meaningful employment in India. However, many women in India have arranged marriages at an early age and must leave school to take care of the home; all of these responsibilities leave little opportunity for education beyond grade school. Meeting the women in the village and hearing their personal stories of struggle and success has been a highlight for me.
GSEP student Sharon Dalmage received a Service and Social Action Grant for “Providing a Road Map to College for Disadvantaged Youth,” her initiative to provide vocational and community college awareness to high school youth in Hawthorne, California.
As a product of inner-city, K-12 schools in Los Angeles and Inglewood, California, I know firsthand that many disadvantaged youth are unaware of the robust opportunities available to them through obtaining a college degree. In Hawthorne, 17.3 percent of residents live below poverty level and only 68 percent of youth graduate from high school.
I worked with 10 youths to provide them with leadership skills, complete college entrance essays, apply for scholarships, identify a personal vocation, and recognize the pathway to their career, as well as social and service group activities. Speaking to youth regarding the variety of college opportunities and the reward of a degree was gratifying. It was even more pleasing that students from my group were accepted to schools such as Cal State Northridge, Dillard University, and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
Reginald Green earned a Summer 2011 internship with Keeping It Real Ministries in Winnetka, California, where he preached twice a month, founded and led a small group, helped plan a summer conference, and worked with at-risk youth in his community to share the gospel.
I grew up as a pastor’s kid; I remember at age 12 saying to myself that I never wanted to be a pastor. At the age of 17 my father gave me the opportunity to minister at our youth group and my life has never been the same. Ministry is about loving God and loving people, and God has taught and is teaching me to do both.
One of the greatest things I learned during this summer was how to serve God in the mundane times of life. Not everything is hyped; life is not a movie or fairy tale. So I learned to say, “God, I don’t care how I feel because it’s not about my feelings but it’s about you and other people.”
We serve a big God so I have some massive dreams and visions for my future. A few things I do hope for is being in the place that God wants me to be and nowhere else. I want to be where Jesus is—any place that needs his love and redemption.
School of Law student Rebecca Getman received a 2011 Professional School Student Service Internship award and travelled to Hyderabad, India with the Dalit Freedom Network, as part of the SOL Global Justice Program. There, she spent eight weeks as part of the city’s Anti Human Trafficking Unit.
The Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) recently moved 15 girls, ages 6-13, into a shelter. All of the girls are children of temple prostitutes, and their mothers gave them to the shelter in hopes of finding a better life. They are very behind academically and are enrolled in an English school, but their proficiency is well below where it needs to be, so we tutored them— trying to get them caught up to be able to succeed in their schooling.
I feel like God has blessed me with so much in life and truly provided for me. It makes me want to be a blessing to others and help them out of the difficult situations they face in life. Although I’m not sure exactly how I will use my law degree, I see it as a tool to help the oppressed and ensure they get the representation they need and that their voices are heard.
Religious studies major Stanley Tyrone Talbert earned a Summer 2011 ministry internship with the Normandie Church of Christ in Los Angeles, California, where he preached sermons, taught adult and youth classes, and served the church as a worship leader.
At an early age I began to pursue ministry because I wanted to be an ambassador of Christ. When I preached at Normandie Avenue, my task was to preach within the overall theme of the year: “God is.” I had the opportunity to preach sermons under that focus: “God Is Our Shepherd,” “God Is Our Father,” and “God Is Jealous.”
Seeing the exponential growth numerically and spiritually at the young adult class on Tuesday nights has impacted me as a young adult. I believe young adults have been placed in an ambiguous position in our society; this transitional phase is key to the discovery of ourselves. Finding ourselves in Christ in the process of being transformed as a person is a great blessing.
One of the most challenging aspects of ministry from my experience is receiving credibility and being trusted—this is especially true for young people like me. I believe it was important for Paul to tell Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth in his ministry. The way that I worked through this challenge was by being humble, serving others, and being a workman for the Lord.