Talk Into the Phone Episode 4: Brianne Had a Little Lamb


Brianne, what is one thing that you should throw away but you could never bring yourself to do it?

There are probably a lot of things like that, because I tend to associate memories with things a lot of the time. I have a lot of childhood things that I just can’t get myself to throw away. One that stands out in particular is a stuffed animal that I had- I got it when I was a baby. Most kids get teddy bears or something, but for whatever reason I got attached to this little lamb. I named him “Baa-Baa” and I’ve had him around ever since.

How did you find Agape/Ecclesia?

So I didn’t actually know about Agape during the first semester of my freshman year. Sam Snyder was my roommate at the time- we kind of did everything together. We tried Gospel Choir, we tried a bunch of different things. I think the first time we came was the Easter service of Ecclesia. We just got really attached to it, and then later learned about Agape just kept going.

What would you say draws you into the community?

I think the people, for sure. I remember the first time Mike talked, even. They were just very true messages and it was a real community- it wasn’t just a Sunday service. People wanted to connect with you, clearly, outside of Sunday nights. Especially with the Facebook group blowing up all the time, people want to connect with each other outside and serve and everything.

Why are you a Christian?

I think the simple answer is that I was born into a Christian family. That’s not why I stayed a Christian, but that is why I became one. The main reason, though, is because it makes sense to me and I’ve experienced God and the miracles he can do. That’s a feeling that you can’t explain any other way.

What draws you to Jesus?

I guess his messages. I mean, everything about him is just so pure. Everything makes sense, even if its difficult. These things are just ingrained in me after hearing them for so long, and they should be- I’m proud that they are ingrained in me. The way that he treats people, the way that wants to carry thigns about, they’re just such timeless messages that make sense to apply even today.

What has God done for you that you couldn’t do for yourself?

I think God gets me through each and every day. I don’t think I could do anything without God. I mean, especially the times that you cry out for help. You realize how much you need him, that you can’t do anything on your own- whether that’s because you’re suffering or you just need encouragement. I think I forget how much he provides for everyone but when it comes back to it, he’s at the center of my life. Everything about it- the people he brings in, everything.

What breaks your heart?

I think suffering. I hate the way that people suffer every day and you can’t understand each other’s pain because its not something you can always explain. It’s not fair- not only if you don’t have access to resources to fix the suffering or if there are no answers to the suffering- it’s just deeper to me than poverty or other issues. It’s awful, but there are cures in a lot of ways; you can wrap your head around it, but with suffering you can’t. You can’t explain it, no matter how much you talk about it.

What gives you hope?

I think people give me hope- specifically Christian people, the way that they live their lives and just care about each other. The way that people go out of their way and love each other, for sure, can only be explained through God. Even when I lose hope, it’s the little things- when people reach out to you and actually want to know what you have to say. That gives me hope.

Do you have a favorite book?

I do. I have a lot of favorite books, but I have to say because I’m obsessed with childhood books that it would have to be a picture book from when I was little. I’ve always really loved pigs, so a lot of the books I read when I was little were either pigs or redheads or a combo of the two. There was one called “Lady Lollipop.” It was about this princess who wanted a pet pig and was adamant about this pig- it was a series about her getting the pig, training the pig, and I was just obsessed.

If you could say one thing to the readers, what would you say?

Embrace the good things that you find and don’t let go of them. Also don’t settle in that or get comfortable. If you find a community that fits you in all ways, don’t give it up because it’s wonderful, but also don’t just get comfortable with that. Reach out to others and invite them in. Share the goodness that you find.

Call to Racial Reconciliation


We are grateful that our church is willing to have important conversations, like the one we had at Agape a few weeks ago regarding racial reconciliation.  We recognize it was just a beginning, but everything must begin somewhere.  It is also encouraging to see the wider Loyola community respond to the sin of racism and discrimination.  

Racial reconciliation is not only social work or political work, it is also kingdom work.  It is at the heart of the gospel and we want to see continual reconciliation in our church and on our campus.

We will continue to talk about this in our large group and small group settings.  Please continue to discuss honestly, with your passions and convictions, and with your reservations and confusions.  Remember, as Christians, we dialogue around the Lord’s Table of reconciliation.  In response we are going to have a special Tuesday night prayer, tomorrow evening, to pray for racial reconciliation on our campus, country and our world. Keep your eyes to our social media for time and place.  This is the next step in discerning how Agape & Ecclesia should address systemic issues of racism.

Each of us also needs to do personal work on this in prayer and study.  There are a lot of resources about racial reconciliation and we can’t share all of them.  However, in response to Ferguson this church in St. Louis had a good round table discussing race and privilege. Here and here. This article also provides a lot of good resources.

I pray we, the church, continue to mourn, stand with and work to change systems that perpetuate violence and hate through the overflow of Christ’s love. For Beirut, for Paris, for Missouri, for Rogers Park–Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

If you have questions or want to discuss this further then let’s talk!

With love,

The Leaders and Staff of Agape & Ecclesia

The stained glass window depicts the prodigal son, a story of reconciliation.  Located in the church of St Mary de Castro in Leicester.


Talk Into the Phone #3: Nick O’Reilly (or The One With Stanley Tucci)


Nick, you are vacationing with one celebrity. Who would it be and where would you go?

I would travel with Stanley Tucci, the actor (Beethoven, The Hunger Games), and I would go to the Japanese countryside.

Why the Japanese countryside?

First of all, I’ve heard that the rural parts of Japan are really gorgeous and I think he’d have a similar appreciation for it as I would. Then we could go to a city, maybe for a day, but we could also just hang out wherever we were staying and just be friends.

How did you find Agape?

I met Sanj and Taylor- I knew other people, but they were two that I became really close with in the community, and just over time seeing them do really amazing things and knowing what they believed, it made a lot of sense of me and I felt like God was pushing me toward this community. The first few things that I went to before I was super involved, I just felt so welcomed. People didn’t know me, but I just felt like I fit so well.

What draws you into the community?

I think the accountability that is a part of the relationships I have with people in the community. My relationships with people were borne out of really good, pure intentions and consequences. Just getting to see the benefit of that for me, and the benefit that I feel like I get to bring to other people. There is a really symbiotic relationship between the people in this community. There’s a depth I don’t get to experience outside of this church. The common ground and having it rooted in Christ is just amazing. It’s allowed me to explore a different depth with people in general.

Why are you a Christian?

I don’t know, I think it makes a lot of sense. At this point, I realized how much God has done in my life. It makes me want to be better. Pursuing a relationship with God has just been really interesting and made me grow as a person in ways that I don’t think I could have if I didn’t know God. I don’t know- I think its just really cool to get to live my life for something that I really believe in and something that I think is making me better every day. I’ve learned to be a lot more trusting in God, especially in things that I think are going wrong- I’ve learned to give a lot to God.

What draws you to Jesus?

I think the way that I see Jesus in other people, they are constant reminders of Jesus’ presence in different communities that I’m a part of. In China, they don’t really have religion, and I still felt God all the time and saw Jesus in people there every single day. It was overwhelming to me. I see so much good from people a lot. Not to be naïve or think that everyone is just this amazing person, but when you’re aware of it, it’s really hard to look past. Jesus was so present with people that it makes so much sense that that is how he’s reflected on this earth.

What gives you hope?

I think knowing how many things have happened to me and knowing that I’m still alive and better for all of them. When I was talking to Kelly Ravenscraft today, we were talking a lot about doors closing and how shocking that can be when it happens. But later on, you begin to understand why that happened. There is almost always a present purpose for everything that happens. That instills a lot of hope in me. I realized that as much as I might think things totally suck, in the past year I’ve had a lot more understanding that things won’t be that way forever.

What breaks your heart?

My heart feels really broken when people don’t have an openness to other people. I really try and be open to meeting every single person I cross paths with. It really makes me sad when I see people who feel like they don’t have time for that. I think those are some of my saddest moments, when I see that in people, an unwillingness to extend yourself past what’s immediately around you. That breaks my heart a lot because there are so many good people in the world and so many good things in each person.

Do you have a favorite film?

Yes! I think my favorite movie is Amelie- it’s in French but it’s really famous. It’s about a girl who lives her life for other people, but keeps to herself all the time. She does random acts of kindness every day. It’s a really involving story. I think it has to do a lot with the idea that if you extend good, good will come back to you. She’s such a good person in her heart. She cares for her dad who is a widower, and for the people in her building, and gets really upset at injustices. I’m always in awe when I watch that movie.

Any closing thoughts?

First, I want to give a big ol’ shout out to Agape and Ecclesia- I’ve felt a lot of love for them today. I think at the root of our church, it’s so positive. i see so much life emanating from our church, so much God, Jesus, Holy Spirit- it’s so cool that our relationships are postured that way.