Campus ministries provide students with opportunities for fellowship and involvement on campus

BY LAURYN BECKER

PHOTOS BY LAURYN BECKER AND RYDER COOK

It’s no secret ministry is a big part of campus life at Fort Hays. With several campus ministries, students are provided with an opportunity to join an organization unique and special to them. 

Some of the main campus ministries at Fort Hays are Encounter, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Catholic Disciples, Us4U, Christian Challenge, and United Methodist Student Organization. 

Encounter

“Encounter desires to develop a community of young adults that believe that they belong. Each Wednesday night we will build that community through worship, teachings from a diverse group of speakers, and fellowship in Life Groups,” Encounter Young Adult Director Garrett Kahrs said. “Our hope is to give young adults the foundation in Christ they desire so they can make an impact for the Kingdom of God.”

2021 Encounter Fall BBQ

Encounter kicked off their year with their annual back-to-school BBQ for students on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Students were able to enjoy a free meal while getting to know members of Encounter as well as getting to learn more about the organization itself.

“Encounter is the place I feel most comfortable being myself, where I can freely ask questions about my faith and express my doubts without fear of judgment,” Encounter member Zoe Cooper said. “It is where I have met my most reliable and loving friends that will walk through life with me. It has helped shape who I have become in my three years at FHSU.” 

Encounter meets at 7:15 p.m. each Wednesday night at Celebration Community Church in Hays. For more information on Encounter, email tmmiller3@fhsu.edu.

Catholic Disciples

“Catholic Disciples is a student organization that promotes community among Catholic students and those interested in knowing more about the Catholic faith,” Vice President, Jenna Schmit said.. “Our weekly meetings consist of speakers presenting on various subjects regarding the faith, candlelight masses, and dinners with presentations on how to properly discern God’s will (Dinner and Discernment).”

Some of the other ministries that Catholic Disciples offer include men’s and women’s bible studies, community-based service projects, and spiritual retreats. Catholic Disciples also offers a wide variety of fun events to continue growing community with their students. 

“We host game nights, bonfires, movie nights, yard game tournaments, barbecues and dance parties. We will have a big dance this fall called ‘Wine and Screams’ to celebrate Halloween on October 29th,” Community Outreach Coordinator, Kaleb King said. “We will also have a large retreat called Crossroads November 12th-14th. Join us for daily Mass at 5:45 p.m. Monday- Thursday and 12:10 p.m. Friday. We can’t wait to meet you and see you around.”

2021 Catholic Disciples Car Smash

Catholic Disciples kicked off their year with a week full of events throughout the first week of school, such as sand volleyball, an ice cream social and a car smash. Students were able to relieve stress of the first week of school while growing closer in faith. 

“The Catholic Campus Center has been a formative part of my college life for many reasons. Most importantly, Christ is what/who continuously draws me back to the Campus Center through mass, adoration and confession,” Adria Girard said. “Secondly, the people I’ve met have become some of my best friends. By going to Catholic Disciples every Wednesday and other events the Campus Center hosts, I have met people who push me to be a better friend, person, and Catholic. It’s a great place to ground yourself and become prepared to go out into the world to bring others into [a] relationship with God.”

Catholic Disciples meets at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday nights at the Comeau Catholic Campus Center. 

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

“We exist here at FHSU as a place for anyone to come join in fellowship and walking through the adventure of life together with others building faith-based relationships,” FCA Director Drew Gannon said. “We may have the word athlete in our title but we are open to anyone who wants to join us. Our hope and desire is that everyone can know that they are loved by God and that He desires a personal relationship with each of us.”

FCA Meeting – Courtesy Drew Gannon

FCA began their year with their traditional Monday evening meetings and will continue to meet every Monday at Schmidt-Bickle Indoor Training Facility by Lewis Field.

“I enjoy FCA because it’s a place where you can go and celebrate how God is working in our life,” FCA member Hayden Brown said. “FCA might seem to be for only athletes, but any and everyone is welcome.”

For more information on how to get involved with FCA, contact ajgannon@fhsu.edu

United Methodist Campus Ministry

“Our name may imply we are Methodist but we are just a group of Christians that want to share God’s word with the students of FHSU and reach to the community through missions,” United Methodist Student Ministry President Erica Barwick said. “We are open to anyone and you do not have to be Methodist to join, the president and vice president are not.”

“We want to be a home away from home. We are a very small group, but we are all very close and very well connected. If anyone wants a place where they feel welcomed and known, they can join us,” Barwick said. 

The UMCM ministry team consists of President Erica Barwick, Vice President Laramie Moyer, Treasurer Austin Chart, Sofia Tiscareño, Ida Niyon, and Director Troy Miller and his wife Sara, UMCM’s advisor.

2021 UMCM Group

UMCM has a “Kickback Bible Study” every Monday night and has a free home-cooked meal on Thursday nights called “Throwback Thursday.” 

“We also have events planned after or during the meal on Thursdays,” Barwick said.

UMCM held several events throughout the first weeks of the year such as a Social Night, and a S’mores Night. Upcoming events for UMCM include a Service Day on September 16, Family Day Open House on September 18, Water Wars on September 23, and another S’mores night on September 30, as well as many more events throughout the semester. 

“We are a very small group but that just adds to the intimacy with the group and my relationship with Jesus. Since becoming president of a Christian ministry I have had to grow in faith and discipline, to be able to spread the word of God and to make disciples,” Barwick said. “My vision for the UMCM is to ensure our team is able to spread Jesus Christ’s love and to build a foundation upon His love to welcome anyone at any moment.”

UMCM’s Monday meetings take place at 6:30 p.m. at 507 Elm Street at the United Methodist Campus Center and Throwback Thursday takes place at 6:30 on Thursdays at the same location. For more information on how to get involved with UMCM, contact e_barwick@mail.fhsu.edu. 

Us 4 U

Us 4 U is a faith-based service organization, sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church of Hays and Saint John Lutheran Church of Russell, but all are welcome.  

“Our motto is ‘Come as you are. Serve as you can,’” Us 4 U member Anna Towns said. “Us 4 U is committed to diversity, inclusion, and collaboration. Us 4 U tries to live into this motto by choosing projects that our members are interested in, and that foster opportunities for collaboration.”

Us 4 U collaborates with many groups in the local and global communities such as; HALO, GASP, GSA, and many more other organizations. Since Us 4 U is sponsored by two Lutheran Churches, the faith-based opportunities offered are often influenced by Lutheran leadership, but take many forms, and are an optional part of Us 4 U membership. 

“Us 4 U thinks food and fellowship go hand in hand, and always have great snacks,” Towns said. “Us 4 U hopes you will join us, or that we can work together with your student group in the future.”

Us 4 U’s first meeting of the semester

Us 4 U had multiple events throughout the first weeks of the semester such as a Pizza Party and a Prayer Walk around campus. Us 4 U’s next event is Time 4 Service at 5:00 p.m. on Sept. 21 in the Victor E. Garden. Us 4 U will have several other events throughout the semester. 

“I would say my favorite part about being involved in Us 4 U is doing great community service acts with a group that makes you feel like family. We are so inclusive to everyone and it truly warms my heart,” Zoeyanne Morris, a member of Us 4 U said. 

Us 4 U meets at 5:00 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of each month  in Rarick Hal 348, followed by a faith-based event at 5:30. For more information on how to get involved with Us 4 U, contactus4u.fhsu@gmail.com.

Christian Challenge

Christian Challenge is a ministry group that has been on the FHSU campus since 1994. 

“Christian Challenge is committed to glorifying God and making disciples of Jesus Christ. The Challenge community is one that welcomes people from all backgrounds and desires to see them transformed and grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ,” Christian Challenge staff member, Sarah Borneman said. “Part of our mission is to welcome students and give them the opportunities to know Jesus Christ as Lord, so that they would love God, love others, and serve the world.”

In addition to large group meeting times, Christian Challenge has small groups led by students on its leadership team that meet at various times throughout the week. Christian Challenge’s Instagram, @challenge_fhsu, has exact times. 

“One group we have geared towards freshmen and it’s called Starting Point and it’s held every Monday at 8 p.m. in Cody Commons,” Borneman said. 

Throughout the first week of classes, Christian Challenge provided a variety of events for Tigers to get involved with Christian Challenge such as a cookout and large group Challenge on Custer Lawn, a game night on the Quad, a pancake social in McMindes 2R, and a t-shirt tye-dying event ahead of the first Fort Hays football game. 

“I love Christian Challenge for the Community it offers. It helps college students have a support system which is so important for those who are new to hays or away from their families,” Christian Challenge member Moriah Debey said. “It’s a great experience to meet new people and have fun with your peers without having to go to parties or get into trouble. For me personally it helps me escape my stressful school assignments and to have fun and relax with people who truly care about me.”

Christian Challenge large group meets at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays at CrossPoint Church, 1300 Harvest Rd. For more information on how to get involved with Christian Challenge,  contact Sarah at sborneman_07@hotmail.com.

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