With a newfound independence, new college students are given an opportunity to redefine their beliefs like never before. One of the ways this opportunity manifests itself is in exploring faith, and many EMU students have taken up church-hopping through the area as a way to do this.
Campus Ministries’ “Find a Church” luncheon presented a welcoming environment for students to learn about Harrisonburg churches.While representatives from many different faith communities spoke, there was a common message encouraging students to get plugged in outside of the college campus.
One of the church leaders in attendance, Pastor Basil Marin of New Song Anabaptist Fellowship, explained that he believed finding a church “brings connection for family, friendship, community, and also for you to give and receive.”
One EMU first -year, Ally Mankamyer, recently found a church of her own when she visited Harrisonburg First Church of the Nazarene. Ally explained, “I found a ministry there that was really close to the one I’m a part of at home, and they took me under their wing… I feel welcome there, and I feel like there is always someone I can call if I need it.”
Other students have been enjoying the chance to experience new ways of doing church. Isaac Andreas, a first-year at EMU, went to a Quaker service last Sunday. Quaker meetings consist of an hour of silence with the opportunity for individuals to speak up if one feels led.
Andreas said, “I didn’t really know about the 60 minutes of silence until the evening before, but that was still a cool part of it for me.” Andreas also spoke of the warm and welcoming atmosphere he felt from all of the people he met at the Quaker meeting.
Mark Harmon from Harrisonburg Mennonite Church commented, “For us at our church, we appreciate any time that students come by so that we can share what we’re doing… it gives us a way to meet the people who are around us.”
Church-hopping has led to a permanent faith community for some sudents, and for others it has provided new experiences. It seems to be mutually beneficial for students and churches alike. Andreas gave one last piece of advice for anyone looking to try out a new church this year: “Just know the address and have at least one connection!”
To learn more about church-hopping opportunities, go to the campus ministries myEMU page to find a directory of Harrisonburg faith communities.
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