DCF's Power Couple: Liz and Andrew Berg

Most college graduates stumble upon the daunting questions of “Who am I?” or “What career do I really want to dedicate myself to?” For Liz and Andrew Berg, the answers to these questions became clear not long after they graduated from Franklin and Marshall College. Since their collegiate careers ended as students just a few years ago, they’ve taken on new roles as the two leaders for Dickinson’s chapter of InterVarsity, Dickinson Christian Fellowship, commonly referred to by its acronym, DCF. Whether if you’re involved with DCF or not, it’s likely you’ve encountered the Bergs on campus for a variety of reasons: the activities fair, a DCF meeting, at a cookout or at another community event.

We sat down with Liz and Andrew to discuss their mission as leaders for DCF, their interest in social justice and how it correlates to Christianity and their life in Carlisle.

HC: I think everyone who has interacted with you two is dying to hear about this. Tell us the story of how you guys met and how you eventually fell for each other.   

AB: Well, Liz and I were just friends for all of freshman year at Franklin & Marshall College. I was dating someone else at the time, but I should have known it wasn’t meant to be: she didn’t like Star Wars! But more importantly, we weren’t able to have meaningful conversations about God. With Liz, it was different. We were able to skip past the surface and connect deeply on issues of theology, literature… you name it. But probably when I really fell for Liz was when we were student leaders together with InterVarsity. Being on mission together to spread God’s love—there’s absolutely nothing like it.

 

HC: What’s your favorite thing about the Dickinson community?

LB: I was an Environmental Science major in college so I love the focus on sustainability and environmental action here at Dickinson.

AB: Oh man! I love a lot of things about Dickinson. One thing that stands out is the feeling of knowing everyone. On such a small campus I feel like I can’t walk anywhere without running into someone I know and being able to have a conversation.

 

HC: What made you want to choose [being a religious group leader] as a career?

LB: Originally, this wasn’t on my radar of potential careers at all. Like I said, I majored in Environmental Science with a double major in Spanish and I really had no idea what I wanted to do once I graduated. During my senior year, my InterVarsity staff worker invited me to check out working for InterVarsity as well. I resisted the idea until second semester of my senior year. At that point, I was mentoring a younger student who was going through a lot of family issues and I was helping her to grow in her faith. One night after meeting with her, I had to go back to the library to work on a paper and I remember thinking, “Man, I wish I could just meet with people and help them grow in their faith without having to worry about homework.” That was the moment when it clicked in my mind that I could work for InterVarsity and that [mentoring people] could be my job.

AB: Before I worked for InterVarsity, I was a middle school teacher in Baltimore through Teach for America. I learned to love my kids, but I missed the mature conversations I had with college students—that’s just such a key time in a person’s life. As I would talk on the phone with Liz, I heard so many amazing stories about what was happening at Dickinson. I have a Masters of Education from Johns Hopkins University, so I could have continued teaching, but I decided to join Liz on staff instead and it’s been an exciting ride.

 

HC: What does DCF mean to you?

AB: I want DCF to be a community where lives are transformed. I want DCF to be a community that is at work renewing the campus and I want graduates from DCF to be a community where world-changers are developed. Of course, DCF will mean different things to different people. For some it might just be a safe place to wrestle with their questions about God. But I hope that overall, we are pressing into three things: transformation, renewal and changing the World.

 

HC: What are you guys looking forward to in DCF this year?

LB: One of the things I look forward to every year is Urban Plunge. It is a spring break trip to Washington, DC where you learn about living in community with a diverse group of people, struggle through the issues that people in homelessness and poverty face, talk a lot about the pros and cons of short term service trips, and explore how Christianity and social justice go hand-in-hand. This is not your typical service trip where you go, do a project, take a lot of photos for your Instagram and leave. It is a trip that makes you think deeply about why service is important and how to do it in a sustainable and helpful way. As a community, Dickinson is very focused on community service and I think that Urban Plunge helps people think through what service really means and how to apply it to every day life, not just on short trips.

AB: One of my favorite events is the Shift fall conference. Shift is a fun getaway to be with students from Dickinson and other campuses, and since it’s at a retreat center in mid-October, it’s always beautiful. The speaker, worship and campfire stick out for me there.

 

HC: This year, DCF has been focused on “big questions,” and has focused on topics pertaining to social justice. Tell us a little more about that theme.

AB: I think this was an idea the DCF team came up with last year; specifically, we wanted things that would catch the eye of people walking by. Framing Revive (our weekly gathering) this way lets people know that we are a group that is willing to wrestle with tough issues and that we actually welcome questions. 

 

HC: What are some assumptions about DCF that people make, and you’d like to address?

LB: People assume that because Christian is in our name, you have to be a Christian to come to events or be involved. This is not true at all. Everyone is welcome at DCF and in fact, when people come who are skeptics or practice different faiths, it actually brings so much depth and richness to the community as a whole.

AB: Many people think that you have to be a Christian to come, or that you have to come regularly to belong. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! DCF is a community of friends—open to everyone. Of course there are sometimes stereotypes of Christians—that we’re close-minded, hate gay people or don’t care about issues of social justice. Some of these may be true of some Christians, but we really hope [people know] that they are not true of DCF.

 

HC: Liz—any advice for Christian women living in a college environment?

LB: I think my advice for Christian women would be the same as my advice for Christian men. Being a Christian in a college environment can be challenging, so there are a few things that I would suggest to help you grow in your faith. You need to find a solid faith community (like DCF) where people will encourage you, but also challenge you and talk about the hard things with you. My other main piece of advice is to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. We never grow in our faith if we keep it to ourselves. During your time here in college, if you step out of your comfort zone to talk about your faith with someone who doesn’t agree with you, or invite someone to Bible study, or pray for someone in public, or just have a conversation with someone who needs to talk, God will show up and you will grow in your faith.

 

HC: What are your favorite things to do in Carlisle? Any favorite places to eat?

LB: We LOVE Issei Noodle on High Street. I am a huge fan of Leo’s, but Andrew likes Massey’s better.

AB: EATING IS MY FAVORITE. So many good restaurants are here. Issei. Bruges. Andalusia. I could go on and on but those are definitely some of my favorite places. 

 

HC: If you could go back in time to your college years and tell yourself one thing, what would it be?

LB: I would tell myself that these four years are some of the most transformational in your life and to take every opportunity to take risks and step out in faith. In college, I said no to so many opportunities that God gave me to grow and I wish I could turn those decisions around. You will never have a time in your life quite like this again where your community is all the same age-group living in very close proximity and dealing with very similar life issues. After college, building a community and taking opportunities to have deep, spiritual conversations takes much more effort and discipline to do.

 

HC: Tell us something about each other that we may not know.

LB: Andrew plays the cello with a Lancaster-based folk band. He actually played at our kickoff cookout in September. He is also a HUGE Star Wars fan and has had some of his writings published on a well-known Star Wars blog.

AB: Liz regularly runs marathons, and just got into the Boston Marathon in April! It is a highly competitive process to qualify and she’s spent the last year training and working hard to get in. A funny fact is that she talks and laughs in her sleep quite often, sometimes speaking in Spanish!