Pastor serves college students

The Rev. Clark Brown is Lutheran Campus Minister at California State University, Monterey Bay. He offers pastoral care and counseling to students facing important life questions during “times of crisis or steady development.”

Recently the Rev. Anita Warner was absent from the Sunday worship services at Morgan Hill’s Advent Lutheran Church. Taking her place in the pulpit was the Rev. Clark Brown, Pastor of St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Monterey and Lutheran Campus Minister at California State University, Monterey Bay.
He is a member of the Campus Chaplaincy, a service to students, faculty and staff of the university. Campus Chaplaincy is affiliated with the Personal Growth and Counseling Center, and provides pastoral care, interfaith and interdenominational resources, and support to faith-related clubs, programs and events on campus, regardless of religious tradition or denomination. There are many aspects to the program:
– Bible studies
– Retreats
– Worship opportunities
– Memorial services.
Chaplain Brown co-hosts a weekly drop-in conversation opportunity, called Chaplain Café, with Father Jon Perez, the Episcopal chaplain at the university. They put a welcoming sign on a table at a coffee house on campus; sometimes faculty members stop by and ask them to be guest speakers in their classes. More often students come to discuss problems in their lives: spiritual issues, financial pressures, relationship difficulties, problems with drugs or alcohol, and family strife.
Perhaps surprisingly, many of the discussions deal with a conflict between students’ Christian faith and the scientific knowledge being taught in their classes. They feel that they are being asked to learn things that are against their religion and perceive that they are being belittled for reliance on the Bible as their source of truth.
Brown may be an ideal person to address this issue because he earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at UC Berkeley and worked in a molecular biology research laboratory before entering Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and completing a master’s degree in Bible and faith formation, then receiving ordination as a Lutheran pastor. He is intimately familiar with the worlds of both science and faith.
There is no conflict, according to Brown, between science and faith, between Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and the teachings of the Bible. They are just two different kinds of knowledge. Science is concerned with the natural, physical world: what can be touched or measured. Religion is concerned with values and the meaning of life, something science is silent about.
Some students react to Brown with dismay when he is not willing to completely support their conservative, literal interpretations of the Bible. He attributes this to society’s hunger for polarization, the political trend to take sides on every issue: liberal versus progressive, rich versus poor, Republican versus Democrat. Students, he feels, need to be less dogmatic and more willing to seek complementary answers between opposite extremes.
To learn more about the Campus Chaplaincy or to contribute to its support, please call (831) 582-467 or visit

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