Lively chatter, joyous singing and occasional laughter echoed across the third floor of the J.W. Jones Student Union Sunday morning.
United Campus Ministries hosted its annual Interdenominational Worship Service Aug. 18 in the Union Boardroom. The event included prayer, worship, a short sermon and ministry introductions.
Christian Campus House, Disciples On Campus, The Lighthouse, Lutheran Campus Center, The Navigators, Newman Catholic Center, Campus Crusade for Christ and Wesley Student Center shared their focuses and announced their meeting times to show students the options available to strengthen their faith.
“This is just the starting point for you to grow and learn new skills,” UCM President and The Lighthouse Director Jason Yarnell said. “This is the time in your life when you decide where your life is going to go. … We want you to find a place to land, to find your place, find what works for you. It’s important that you find a place where you can make some friends and get connected.”
Northwest listed the service as an Advantage event, so new students could have access to another aspect of campus life.
“With this event, the big picture is that Northwest recognizes the importance of community,” Yarnell said. “Northwest doesn’t promote a religion, but they put it in the schedule. Northwest recognizes that spiritual life is important.”
Freshman Brittany Bridges attended the event after she saw it in her Advantage packet and another student encouraged her to go. She was excited for the music and an opportunity to meet people.
“I wanted to come because I’ve been going to church since I was little,” Bridges said. “I have a deep connection with church and I love coming. I was really excited to know there was going to be church on campus this week because then I wouldn’t have to drive.”
Junior Mikayla Olson, a student leader at the Newman Catholic Center, thinks the event helped students feel more comfortable at Northwest.
“Northwest is really big about making sure students feel like this is home,” Olson said. “Having a place of worship just makes that all the more feel like home because without your normal Saturday and Sunday routine (of going to church) I don’t think Northwest would feel like home.”
UCM is comprised of the leaders of each campus ministry with an adult staff. Student-led organizations, like Campus Crusade for Christ, aren’t officially recognized on UCM, but they can still participate in the event, Yarnell said.
UCM was already in place, regularly organizing the interdenominational service, years before Yarnell started as a minister 20 years ago.
“There’s a camaraderie and cooperation that’s been going on for several decades,” Yarnell said. “We don’t agree on everything and that’s why we’re not all the same denomination but we do support one another.”
Director of the Christian Campus House Jim Davis said all the ministries promote a familial atmosphere.
“It’s a real pleasure to serve with the others on this campus,” Davis said. “I don’t care where you go, just find a ministry.”