This story is the first in a series of stories exploring religious organizations on campus and in the community.
Eastern is a place where different cultures and lifestyles collide. There are many registered student organizations on campus providing sanctuary for people with differing ideals and beliefs.
One of these is Apostolic Christians in Today’s Society.
ACTS adviser Wanda Kay Robinson said the common beliefs the group shares hold them together in their faith.
“Everyone can come to Jesus. We have a plan of salvation that we need to follow. It’s a process,” Robinson said. ACTS’s mission statement is one of positivity and explaining the message of Christ, Robinson said.
“We want to reach as many students, staff and faculty as we can. We want to share with them the message of Jesus,” Robinson said. “We want to encourage them that they can make it in the life that they’re living. We try to bring encouragement to everyone.”
Leaving one’s family and coming to campus, can make it easy to feel alone, Robinson said.
“ If you come to ACTS as a student, you feel like you’re really a part of the family,” Robinson said. “For faculty and staff, we have so much we can give and pour into the lives of young people. It’s a great opportunity to give back to our EIU community outside of academia.”
Robinson said people can gain a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and each other at ACTS.
“We’ve had many people here who’ve actually found love at ACTS,” Robinson said. “They’ve found their soul mate here.”
Becoming a part of ACTS is not difficult, Robinson said. Only one thing is required to join.
“Just attend,” Robinson said.
Bradley Chatman, associate pastor and a graduate student in communication studies, said people should join ACTS to break away from religious stigmas.
“Our slogan is that ACTS is a perfect place for imperfect people. I believe that people have such negative connotations with church in our society,” Chatman said. “We like to promote love and encourage students. We believe that a relationship with Jesus is greater than religion.”
Chatman said ACTS is a versatile group of people, allowing students to come together, for more than just fellowship and worship.
“I believe that this ministry allows students to let their talents be seen. They can find many different things to do in our ministry, like sound and video work, even a drama team that they can put on a resume and help them find their place,” Chatman said. “We feel that we give every young person an opportunity, and to be around people of the same age and worship.”
Chatman said he joined ACTS for the religious experience it offered, and stayed for the fellowship and sense of belonging that came with it.
“I was invited by a friend, he would constantly invite me to come. He embodied what it meant to be a Christian, and I saw that through everyone in ACTS,” Chatman said.
Emmanuel Ayiku, an associate pastor and senior public relations major, said ACTS is about more than just religion and can be directly applied to everyday life.
“It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship. All of us as humans ask ourselves daily, ‘Where do we go from here? What do we do?’” Ayiku said. “Coming to ACTS helps us answer those questions.”
Christina Peter, a senior music performance major, said after getting to be a leader of praise during an ACTS service, she feels strongly about the welcoming atmosphere that ACTS has to offer.
“I think that being away from home, people need a chance to feel family and love. All you will get here is love and encouragement,” Peter said.
Gabriel Tomer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]