Youth Service Day offers window on OCU life


United Methodist youths from across the state met on the OCU campus March 3 for a day of fellowship, service, and worship. At this annual event, known as Youth Service Day, young people learn about the ministries and opportunities available at the only United Methodist-related university in Oklahoma.

Participation totaled 109 youths and adults from 12 churches. The morning began with campus tours and an informational session with OCU Admissions Counselor Christina Mallory. One of Professor Leslie Long’s Christian Education classes designed and led a Jeopardy-type game that introduced fun facts about the university.

After lunch in the cafeteria, small groups scattered to serve at 10 mission sites across the city: schools, community gardens, churches, and care agencies such as Skyline Urban Ministries.

The event concluded with worship, led by OCU religion students, in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel. A small band led contemporary-style music, including a newer setting for the gospel standard "How Great Thou Art." The Sermon was by Andy Nelms, who is pastor of Business Administration, Youth, and Young Adults at Nichols Hills United Methodist Church. He preached on "Being First in a World of Last," based on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20). OCU’s director of Religious Life, Jennifer Long, presided at Holy Communion.

Coordinator for the special day was senior Alyssa Wardwell, a Religious Life intern and Bishop’s Scholar. She expressed appreciation for OCU student volunteers; about 30 helped make the day memorable. Wardwell pointed out that visiting with current students enables youths to get a better sense of university life. Soon after the event, one church leader emailed Wardwell to report some youths now are considering OCU in their college plans.

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