"Inasmuch as God is working at St. Olaf College, a community of varied religious and social backgrounds in which the students are challenged by questions and faced with decisions, the St. Olaf Congregation seeks to become an intentional and self-conscious expression of God’s gathered people;
- Providing opportunity for the ministry of Word and Sacrament [that is, responding to God with praise, thanksgiving and lament; responding to each other with forgiveness, justice, and mercy]
- Extending a call for responsible membership in the community of faith as well as in the community of learning
- Showing genuine and active concern for the [needs of the world and therefore,] the work of the Church both on and off campus."
Though committed to basic Lutheran teachings and liturgical forms, the congregation seeks to carry on an ecumenical ministry. The Student Congregation's constitution states that, “All members who participate in the life of the Student Congregation are considered members.” Therefore, while it is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it is not for Lutherans only, and all members of the St. Olaf community are actively encouraged to participate.
The student congregation was never meant to replace “home” congregations; it sought from the beginning to be a welcoming “home away from home” as well as a harbor for students without a spiritual home. Students do not join the student congregation — they simply participate in its life, worship and ministry. Over the years the congregation has become more ecumenical as students from a wider variety of denominational and religious traditions have come to St. Olaf.
Together Boe Memorial Chapel and the St. Olaf Student Congregation offer an open and welcoming Lutheran guesthouse for any and all students during their years at St. Olaf College.