Wide range of religious organizations offered at U

Tammy Tucker
The University community provides students a wide range of religious organizations to choose from, including academic, social and spiritual.
Nearly 40 religious organizations are registered with the Campus Involvement Center, representing various beliefs and nationalities. Most offer services, social activities, fellowship and spiritual support.
Presbyterian Campus Connection is one of many Protestant denominations in the area.
“We believe in the mission of forming a college community and to share our Christian beliefs. We welcome all backgrounds of religious affiliation,” said Jamie Vande Brake, the organization’s president.
The Cantonese Christian Fellowship, affiliated with the Chinese Evangelical Free Church of the Twin Cities, seeks to encourage the community and assist new students in adjusting to the University, said member Sing-Hang Cheung.
Lutheran Student Fellowship, affiliated with the Missouri Synod (LCMS), offers students Bible study, regional retreats, various social activities and weekly services. Additionally, the organization sponsors the International Student Christian Resource Center, which offers international students help adjusting to the University community.
CrossSeekers is a ministry of Twin Cities Metro Baptist Association and the Minnesota-Wisconsin Baptist Convention.
Hope Fellowship is affiliated with Hope Community Church, which is a member of the General Baptist Conference.
“The organization has one mission — that is to bring people closer to Jesus through authentic relationships and community. What this entails is weekly praise, worship and message meetings, with fellowship time after, and also biweekly activity nights,” said Paul Seidl, outgoing president.
The University Episcopal Center welcomes all students, said the Rev. Janet Wheelock.
“No experience with Christianity or the Episcopal Church is necessary, but an open mind is needed. We travel a lot, worship and pray a lot, support each other and have a ridiculous amount of fun at times,” she said.
Catholic students and others interested in Catholicism can check out St. Lawrence Newman Catholic Student Association, an intergenerational faith community. Students can participate in Sunday Mass, undergraduate or graduate groups, volleyball and various community service activities, said member Greg Weinand.
The University community also offers a wide range of nondenominational Christian organizations.
Campus Vision International has three main goals: to provide a forum for speakers making presentations of timely interest to members on contemporary aspects of Christian living, to provide support for Christian students and to provide social activities and events, such as field trips and music performances for members, said Ted P. Dube, the group’s adviser.
The Rock, also nondenominational, is “a revolution in church, a revolution in style, in content, music and purpose,” said Dan Halmar, the group’s adviser.
Campus Advance, a Bible-based nondenominational group, meets for Bible study and social activities three times a week during the school year. Christian Student Fellowship offers a Sunday candlelight worship and weekly personal-growth workshops.
Maranatha Christian Fellowship has “been lifting up Jesus Christ here at the University of Minnesota for over 19 years and will continue ’til his return. We are bold in our witnessing about the extraordinary love of Jesus Christ and God’s plan for mankind,” said member Jonathan Bislew.
Hillel is the Jewish student center at the University. “Through a varied program of social, cultural, educational, religious, community-service and Israel-related activities, Hillel seeks to create an informed, celebratory and satisfying Jewish campus community,” said Amy Olson, executive director.
Additionally, the organization offers Sabbath evening services and dinner, graduate student activities, a lounge and library, a cafe and a mentorship program.
The Muslim Student Association sponsors dinners, workshops, lectures and weekly prayer meetings to “provide a campus connection for Muslim students and maintain relationships with other Muslim organizations in the Twin Cities,” according to the organization’s Web page.
Eckankar on Campus is the “religion of the Light and Sound of God. Eckankar teachings, which resurfaced in 1965, emphasize the value of personal experiences as the most natural way back to God,” president Adelrita Nartey said.
The MacLaurin Institute has a different purpose than providing spiritual community.
“We engage academics and academia with the implications of Christian thought, for study and for social change, ” said Barbara Fadirepo, communications coordinator.
More information about these organizations can be found on the Campus Involvement Center’s Web page at http://studentgroups.tc.umn.edu/.

Tammy Tucker welcomes your comments at [email protected]