Learning through faith

Religious groups on and near campus help nourish spirituality and friendship.
Monday, July 26, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:49 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

For students looking for a spiritual home away from home, campus religious organizations offer a multitude of ways for new students to worship, make friends and get involved. Here’s a sampling of the organizations that are active on or near campus:

  • The Baptist Student Union, on campus at 812 Hitt St., will host New 2 MU, an annual social event for incoming freshmen, on Aug. 21.
  • RealLife, the BSU’s weekly student gathering for worship and fellowship, meets Thursdays at 7 and 9 p.m. A special Welcome RealLife at 7 p.m. on Aug. 26 will include food and socializing. “We hope to give students a taste of what our community is like,” said Kelly Lewis, associate campus minister.

    The BSU offers small Bible study groups throughout the week and organizes an annual retreat and various local mission projects during the school year.

  • Campus Crusade for Christ’s “Mizzou Move In CRU” helps new students unpack and get settled into residence halls. CRU also distributes “Freshman Survival Kits” containing goodies such as coupons, CDs, books and a Bible, along with interest cards that students can fill out to be contacted by CRU members and notified of upcoming events.
  • Ongoing events include weekly worship meetings on campus and small Bible study groups. Freshman groups are usually organized by residence hall or Greek house. “It is a wonderful way to be plugged into a smaller group with the people you live with and to grow in your faith together,” said former weekly meeting chairwoman Kelcey Evans.

  • The Wesley Student Center, just off campus at 204 S. Ninth St., will host a “Welcome Back Barbecue” after the 11 a.m. worship service Aug. 22. Various other activities are scheduled for the first week of classes.

    Wesley offers Midweek, a worship service at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, numerous Bible study groups and a Sunday supper. Students can join Wesley On Wheels, a traveling worship team that visits local churches. A float trip on the Niangua River is planned for Sept. 10-12 and will include Wesley students from across the state.

  • Campus Lutheran Church, 304 S. College Ave., has welcome events planned for new and returning students, including an ice cream social at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21, a student picnic at 5 p.m. Aug. 22, and a concert by Christian alt-rock band the pool boys tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 28 on the South Quad.
  • Students meet for Bible study at 9:05 p.m. Wednesdays at the church. “Thursday Nites Together” at 7 p.m. provide fellowship, worship and study. A free home-cooked dinner is offered for college students at 6 p.m. each Sunday.

  • The Catholic Student Association offers activities at the Newman Center, which is on campus at 701 Maryland Ave. CSA will host several social events, beginning with “Dinner and a Movie” for first-year students at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 20. The annual welcome barbecue and Mass will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 22 on the South Quad.
  • For new students looking to make friends and explore their faith, CSA has planned a first-year students’ retreat for Sept. 10-11 and its annual Awakenings retreat, open to all students, for Oct. 15-17. “It’s a very moving experience and a sure way to enter into the family at Newman,” said campus ministry intern Angela Beaver.

    The Newman Center offers a student Mass each Sunday at 9 p.m. During the week, students can take a break from school stress to focus on faith in weekly “Time Out” gatherings at 9 p.m. Wednesday, beginning Aug. 25.

  • The Jewish Student Organization will host an afternoon barbecue with the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity on Aug. 22. The first Shabbat dinner of the semester is planned for 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Hillel Jewish Center, 1107 University Ave. JSO President Courtney Jakul said both events are great opportunities for freshmen to meet other Jewish students.
  • “When you join a campus religious organization early, you get to network with a huge group of older students who can give you advice and show you around campus,” Jakul said. “Some of the best friends that I have made at college were right here at Hillel.”

    Ongoing events include weekly Shabbat dinners, monthly Torah study and Jewish holiday and High Holy Day services.

  • The Muslim Student Organization aims to meet the spiritual needs of Muslim students on campus and to better educate Muslims and non-Muslims on campus and in the community about Islam, according to the group’s mission statement.
  • The Masjid (mosque) is at the Islamic Center of Central Missouri at Fifth and Locust streets.

    MSO President Adam Behsudi said a welcome dinner is usually held early in the semester but a date hasn’t yet been set. MSO frequently hosts guest speakers and offers social gatherings such as lunches, films and ice skating as well as a halaqa — a gathering to discuss religious topics — held weekly.

  • According to Michael Chladek, MU Buddhist Association president, the organization is designed to provide an introduction to Buddhism, and no previous meditation experience is required. “I would recommend freshmen attend a meeting of at least one spiritual path outside of the one on which they were raised,” he said.
  • MUBA holds two meetings a week. Students gather for short meditation retreats, guest speakers or discussions Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Ray Ronci, an MU professor and Zen monk, leads meditation and discussion on Wednesdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Chladek said they also hope to offer an introductory Tai Chi workshop in the fall.

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