Local churches, ministries connect with students


Josh Saxton

Rev. Andrew Robinson Ph.D hands out flyers promoting Campus Ministries during the Freshman Debut, on June 6 in the Grand Ballroom of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

Emily Brodt, Staff Reporter

The ministries and churches local to campus offer students ways to connect with the community, each other and God.

Roy Lanham, a campus minister at the Newman Catholic Center, said for many students who are involved at Newman, it is a way of life. Lanham said the nature of the Catholic Church is for students to seek out the church to be a part of a community and many students long for it.

The Newman Center offers a variety of programs and services to students, not just Mass. The Newman Center offers service opportunities, small group Bible studies and couples and marriage counseling, among other things.

Lanham said the opportunity to give back to the community and live faith is no small gift.

“Life is not just about us,” Lanham said. “We need to give back.”

Ivy Handley, a junior special education major, regularly attends the Newman Center and said that the doors are always open at the Newman Center and people do not have to be Catholic to come.

“People are always welcome,” Handley said.

Handley said service opportunities at the Newman Center gave her leadership opportunities she would not have otherwise. Handley leads a small group and will be leading an alternative spring break trip in 2016.

Handley recently had the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia to see the pope along with 49 other students from Eastern. Handley said it was cool to be there will students from Newman.

The Newman Catholic Center is a place of healing and hospitality, Lanham said. They offer ways to connect and the tools to encounter God. Lanham said that everyone is just a friend that they have not met yet.

Andrew Robison, a bishop and pastor of ACTS Campus Ministry, said that he wants to help students build a relationship with God and give them hope.

The ACTS Campus Ministry meets every Sunday for worship and Wednesday for bible study. Robinson said they try to help students to discover the best them that they can be and achieve their goals and aspirations.

There are many ways to get involved at the ACTS Campus Ministry ranging from a drama ministry to a praise dance team.

Robinson and his wife Wanda Kay Robison also head a Christ Ministry School of Divinity, which is a two-year program for those who feel the call to become ministers or preachers. After being interviewed and completing the program, students will become ordained and able to start their own ministry along with receiving a Masters of Divinty.

Bradley Chatman, a senior communication studies major and one of the students who has been ordained through the Christ Ministry School of Divinty, said that being a part of ACTS helped him find a purpose in life.

A particularly memorable event for Chatman is the Pack the House Event the Sunday before finals each semester.

“We culminate the semester with a time of rejoicing, thanksgiving to God for our blessings, and relieving stress with a display of talents from our students,” Robinson said. They conclude the event by praying for finals week and other life struggles.

Robinson said ACTS Campus Ministry is an environment of love and care and offers a place of genuine worship. He said that many students do not like formal religion but “Jesus is greater than religion.”

A long-term goal for ACTS Campus Ministry is to have one on every public university campus, Robinson said.

Paige Roberts, a campus minister at the Wesley Foundation, said that their motto “open hearts, open minds and open doors” means that they try to welcome everyone regardless of their background.

“Our studies are aimed at getting to know the Bible and getting to know how God is important to our lives” Roberts said.

The Wesley Foundation building is an important part of their ministry offering a place for students to hang out, have conversations and do homework, Roberts said.

Roberts said that the 24-hour prayer vigil they host every year is a moving time for her. The Wesley Foundation is filled with peace and wonder during this time and Roberts said she gets a lot of time to pray over the week and so do students.

Maece Bresnahan, a sophomore middle level education major, is a public relations chair at the Wesley Foundation, said that the Wesley foundation has offered a lot of leadership opportunities.

The Wesley Foundation is a community of family bonding and also promotes growth, Bresnahan said.

The Wesley Foundation offers a food pantry to students the second Wednesday of every month and other events like a s’mores party at the beginning of the semester.

Bresnahan said the students who attend the Wesley Foundation are like a family and have a lot of fun together. They often hang out at the Wesley Foundation almost all night from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m., Bresnaham said.

“Our joke last week was to all make Myspace accounts,” Bresnaham said.

Matthew Thomas, a campus minister at Christian Campus House, said students often have control of what service opportunities are offered.

Thomas said many students come to him with ideas they think are important. The ministry belongs to the students, Thomas said.

One student decided to have a 200-mile bike trip to raise money for charity. Thomas said students should have a vision to serve others. Thomas said he thinks it is exciting and memorable to see students realize they have control to make it happen.

Students are often trying to reach the community, Thomas said.

Christian Campus House offers life groups, worship, mission trips and other events like dances and Super Bowl parties.

Thomas said that a misconception stopping students from coming is students thinking they have to know something to attend.

“The idea that you have to be some sort of member to come and worship in this place, which is not the case,” Thomas said.

Thomas said Christian Campus House is about forming deeper relationships and connecting with the community.


Emily Brodt can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]