Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Panhandle campus ministry makeover


Photos provided by Barry Bennett

The United Methodist Student Center (MSC) at Goodwell has been blessed by volunteers from several Woodward District churches. On Oct. 16, a workday drew 25 people to make repairs at the center that serves Panhandle State University. They upgraded lighting, fixed emergency exits, and tackled roofing, guttering, painting, and foundation work. Directing the effort was Don Heise, a member of Victory Memorial UMC, Guymon, and a trained Volunteers In Mission team leader. A second workday is planned.

Campus minister is Jacki Banks. Senior Jacob Whiteley and sophomore Jake Barnes are among MSC student leaders. From Turpin, both are music majors and active in the Thursday evening worship.

"Our focus is about becoming more rooted in our beliefs, becoming more than an average Christian—about stepping up and stepping out," Whiteley said. He welcomes worship as a time, away from school, to reinforce his faith alongside other individuals.

Barnes identified global hunger and human trafficking as significant issues for MSC students.

Rev. Banks affirmed the student-driven awareness projects. Goodwell is on a major trucking route; law officers have investigated human smuggling and sex-trade crimes in the thinly populated Oklahoma Panhandle.

"Our school is just off the highway. We want to be proactive and get the (safety) message out," Barnes said. "God calls us to help."

A recent "hunger banquet" spotlighted needs both globally and locally; guest speaker was from Guymon’s Loaves and Fishes community pantry. On Tuesdays, a free luncheon serves about 250 people.


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