Faith flourishes in campus life
Life on college campuses usually follows a rhythm often dictated by class schedules, concerts, and athletic events. On the OCU campus, the heartbeat of Religious Life sends out its distinct rhythm through worship, Bible study, prayer, and mission.
On Monday evenings, students gather in Watson Lounge for the Evensong service. OCU junior Alyssa Wardwell, Religion major, directs the student musicians in this contemporary service. A significant part of each gathering is sharing prayer requests. Jennifer Long, director of Religious Life, preaches the sermon and presides at a service of Holy Communion.
Kristia Ford, Religion major, is particularly moved by the Communion service. "For me," the senior said, "this is a connection with God, a time to receive grace in a tangible way."
Thursday afternoons at 1 o’clock, the campus community gathers for the chapel service. University Chaplain Rodney Newman coordinates these services with a worship team of students and faculty from throughout OCU.
This more traditional service incorporates a variety of creative elements. Examples include actors and dancers interpreting the Scripture reading and an offering made up of a collection of written prayers from the congregation.
Melissa Plamann was welcomed as chapel organist this year. She comes from Emory University, where she was interim organist.
Dr. Plamann conducts the Chapel Choir, whose members are students, staff, and faculty, and fills each worship service with inspirational hymns, Taizé chants, and stirring anthems.
Every Wednesday during lunch time, the Wesley Center provides a meal to which all are invited. This ministry has grown to serve close to 200 people each week!
"We would love to keep on growing right into a new Wesley Center building," said Rev. Long about the United Methodist campus ministry at OCU.
The Wesley Center also sponsors a mission project monthly, and the campus community is encouraged to participate.
The center has collected crayons for school children, and made and distributed care packages for the homeless. It annually sponsors a Habitat for Humanity workday and "Love Not Hate" day.
Student religious group DAX, a Christian men’s service fraternity, reported a record number of freshman pledges were motivated to be involved in mission to others.
OCU senior Erin Floyd, Religion major, serves as a student intern in the Wesley Center. "Religious Life is a valued part of OCU," Erin said. "My experience here has inspired me to work together with others for a better community and a better world."