Approximately 30 students trudged to The Whole in Coffman Union on Saturday night for Remembering Our Spiritual Heritage, an event where students expressed their faith through song, dance and spoken word.
The public event was put on as a part of black history month by Impact Movement, an African-American Christian student group.
The majority of the students there declared themselves non-denominational Christians.
This appears to be a growing trend among college-age people – being religious but without connection to a specific denomination – with many churches supporting the movement.
In its sixth year, the group’s events have historically brought crowds of 150 to 200 people. However, the torrents of snow that fell Saturday night shaved the audience down to but a sixth of what it has been in the past.
The lights dimmed at 7:30 p.m., and after a quick prayer, comedian Alwin Alexander sounded off.
“Clap your hands if you went to church on Sunday,” he said. “Now, clap your hands if you were late.”
While many people clapped in the affirmative, not all attended the same church.
A recent Minnesota Daily survey showed 13 percent of 799 students reported themselves as nondenominational Christians. The largest portion, 33 percent, considered themselves Catholic.
First-year journalism student Cathy Mayfield, who attended Saturday night, said she doesn’t attend church but described herself as a “spiritual” person.
“I believe in a higher power,” she said. “But I don’t want to label (my faith) as religious.”
Mayfield later recited a spoken word poem she wrote titled “The Answer,” which she said was inspired by God.
Members of Impact and others in the audience said they often attend services at Speak the Word in Golden Valley – a nondenominational Christian church – or services at Urban Jerusalem in north Minneapolis, a Pentecostal church that Pastor Stacy Jones said “is very supportive of other denominations.”
Jones also said the church’s core parishioners are “between the ages of 14 and college-aged.”
The church offers a monthly worship service called “the basement,” where parishioners worship through hip-hop, drama and graffiti, among other forms of expression.
“(The parishioners) like the fact that they can be accepted for who they are,” Jones said.
Child physiology senior Farai Goredema has been a member of Impact Movement since 2005, and said she likes the non-denominational group because “it’s like a safe space and you can feel like being yourself.”
Raised Catholic, Goredema said she still considers herself a Catholic, but will go to church whenever anyone invites her.
At churches like Urban Jerusalem, she said “you can just be yourself.”
Yet she still has doubts, saying that nondenominational churches can sometimes “lose focus.”
“The boundaries can be blurred,” she said.