Wesley Center mission involvement grows
The spring semester on a college campus advances rapidly as students finish class requirements and begin arranging summer activities or planning what to do after graduation. Yet students on the Oklahoma City University campus also make time to continue serving others.
The campus celebrated Love Not Hate Day on April 8. Events included a clothing drive for Skyline Urban Ministry and school supply collection for special-needs classes. Everyone was invited out to the lawn to enjoy dinner provided by Sodexo food service. They also had opportunity to tie-dye T-shirts imprinted with "All Under One Blue Sky" and "Those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also," a reference to 1 John 4, which is the verse that inspired this day.
During the week, people had written down names of persons or groups who needed love. Their note cards were displayed beneath a blue canopy on the lawn. The cards stood as silent, poignant prayers for such groups as "the misunderstood," "people who hate you," "the forgotten," and "people fighting for justice."
In past years during Spring Break, the United Methodist campus ministry at OCU sponsored out-of-state mission trips to such places as Joplin, Mo. This year, the Wesley Center students decided to serve right here at home. They assisted in the ongoing disaster recovery from the tornadoes that struck central Oklahoma last May.
On March 1, the campus welcomed 19 United Methodist youth groups from around the state for Youth Service Day. More than 250 youths spent the day in mission, fellowship, and worship — core principles for both the university and the Oklahoma Conference.
The event began with campus tours and group games. After lunch in the cafeteria, the youth groups went out to serve in community gardens, area schools, and churches and agencies of the Oklahoma and Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conferences. Some groups supported the effort to enhance development of the campus neighborhood along 23rd Street.
The day closed with contemporary worship in the chapel. The message was delivered by Keith Bethell, youth ministries director at Choctaw UMC and an OCU School of Religion graduate. Jennifer Long, director of OCU Religious Life, presided at Holy Communion.
Trey Witzel, an OCU senior and Religious Life intern, coordinated this event, involving more than 30 OCU student volunteers.
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OCU junior Rachel Honaker reads prayer cards hanging beneath a canopy on Love Not Hate Day. She is a Religious Life intern.