Ministries, churches available for Eastern students

Rege’nte Myers, Contributing Writer

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There are multiple organizations at Eastern to support students through faith and fellowship.

Campus ministries provide the opportunity for students to strengthen their spirituality and faith while being away from home.

Some organizations include ACTS Campus Ministry, Baptists Collegiate Ministries, Campus Ministry International, Christian Campus House, Westley Foundation and Newman Catholic Community.

Andrew Robinson, director of ACTS Campus Ministry, a Christian-based faith organization, said it has been on campus since 1985.

ACTS Campus Ministry meets on Sundays at 11 a.m. in Buzzard Hall Auditorium and hosts a Wednesday bible study at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

ACTS helps students, faculty and staff at the university experience an authentic and spiritual encounter with God, Robinson said.

Students will realize that church is not about religion, it is about building a long-lasting relationship with God, he said.

The goals for the campus ministry are to have students reveal their purpose through worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship and ministry.

The Wesley Foundation is a part of the United Methodist Church and was founded in 1959. It will be celebrating its 60th year this upcoming Homecoming weekend.

Betzy E. Warren, an ordained pastor for the Wesley Foundation, said the group is Christian-based, but it is open to all students of any denomination and non-religious students as well.

She said the mission of her church is to create an inclusive community of young adults.

Its main focus is the way the members live out their faith through worship, community service and prayer, she said.

Warren said the group members demonstrate these qualities through different events on campus including discussion, Wednesday night services, a yearly Fall Retreat in a cabin near Oakland, Illinois, and other activities.

It is not difficult to get involved, either, Warren said.

She said all that is required of members is to sign up and come consistently.

Warren said the group is always looking for new faces to volunteer.   

Another group is the Newman Catholic Center, which has been on campus since 1939 and is celebrating 80 years on campus this year. This church is Christian-based as well.

Roy Lanham, adviser for the group, said the center has a mission of great hospitality, formation to stay in order, prayer and support for one another and serving the community.

About 110 students are active each semester, Lanham said.

A Newman Ministry team of 13 students coordinates daily activities that range from volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and Haiti Connection.

“The Haiti Connection is committed to raising awareness and funds to eliminate injustices that impact the people of the third world,” the Newman Center’s website said. “Their direct mission is to communities in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.”

This organization sponsors two mission trips a year and invites students and members of the community to sponsor a Haitian child’s education, the website said. (https://eiunewman.org/be-in-mission/the-haiti-connection/)

Christian Campus House is a non-denominational Christian campus ministry serving college students and young people from Eastern and Lake Land Community College in Mattoon.  This ministry has four career staff members and one lead campus minister, but this ministry is known for being led by students.

The leadership team consists of 12-16 students who lead Bible study, worship services, prayer, weekend potlucks and retreats.

Hannah West is an intern for Christian Campus house.

West said their motto is to engage with the campus, community and Jesus Christ; students can get involved by being consistent members.

There is also an Association of Campus Ministries and includes all the ministries on campus. Wanda Kay Robinson, an instructor in the School of Journalism, has worked with campus ministries for two decades.

Robinson said spiritual guidance is available through many techniques.

She said this denomination works together to help all students.

“All of these ministries work together in unison for the campus,” Robinson said.

Robinson said a new program was started three years ago where each resident hall has a campus minister liaison.

She said they have office hours for students with spiritual needs, problems with their classes or even personal problems that need to be catered to; they are the ministers to go to.

Robinson said the ministers go to lunch each month with other campus ministers, campus minister liaisons and staff just to get to know each other and build relationships.

Rege’nte Myers can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].