Oklahoma City University
OCU campus prays for Stillwater peers
The Oklahoma City University community joined its peers in grieving the tragedy that occurred during the Oklahoma State University Homecoming Parade in Stillwater on Oct. 24, when a car struck a crowd of people, resulting in deaths and injuries.
Universities share a sense of special kinship. OCU visibly expressed solidarity with OSU through expressions of grief and symbols of caring.
But the people of OCU not only are joined with those in Stillwater because of the two centers for higher education.
Some individuals in our community have friends and loved ones associated with OSU. Among those at the parade who died was the grandson of a doctoral student in OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing.
Two public responses on Oct. 26 at OCU were made possible by Charles Neff, vice president for University-Church Relations and a United Methodist clergyman, who organized them.
A prayer service was held in the Chapel sanctuary from 1 to 2 p.m. Each worshipper was encouraged to light one of many candles filling the altar rail in honor or in memory of those injured or killed.
Time was allowed for personal prayer and reflection, with prayers offered by the community every 15 minutes.
While words fail to grasp the depth of great loss, they can enable people to reach out in hope in time of need, such as this petition offered that afternoon: "God of healing, God of wholeness, in your presence and power grant us faith and confidence that within your love, broken lives are made whole."
Everyone on campus also was encouraged to wear orange or black clothing that day. Orange ribbons were available in the Student Center and in the Chapel for people to wear.
Wesley Center encourages faith conversations
On the first Wednesday of each month at OCU, the Wesley Center offers a free lunch in Watson Lounge of the Chapel, in partnership with Sodexo Food Services.
This is one of the most diverse gatherings of students on campus, with people of differing views and from many states and countries. Conversations are encouraged on how faith impacts their lives and all of society.
Each month, a printed question about a specific issue awaits on the tables. Questions for this discussion series, known as "Speaking of Faith," have included:
How do your religious beliefs (or attitudes toward religion) influence your position and actions on political issues?
What religious themes do you see in movies such as "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," "Lord of the Rings," etc.?
One table is reserved for informal discussion with a professor or staff member, who shares how faith influences and informs his or her work. This semester, sociology professor Joe Meinhart and Colbi Beam, coordinator of First Year Experience, have challenged and informed students with their insights.
Bishop Scholar award deadline is Dec. 15
If you are a high school senior interested in a career in Christian service within The United Methodist Church, or if you know such a person, you are encouraged to apply for the full-tuition Bishop Scholar award, which is for UM students who plan to study in OCU’s Wimberly School of Religion. For details and an application, go to www.okcu.edu/BishopScholar. Deadline to apply is Dec. 15, with all supporting paperwork due Feb. 1.
Philip Younts, left, and Michael Horn offer orange memorial ribbons outside the OCU cafeteria.