In the midst of national and global challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, our higher education institutions are facing unprecedented challenges and they need our support now, more than ever. Your gift to the Thanksgiving offering helps support these efforts in education and leadership formation. One example of this is the support and mentoring that Disciples students receive while attending a Disciples related college or university.
There are no words to express my daily gratitude for being an active part of the Disciples on Campus group. The Disciples of Christ has been present throughout my entire life, but I am especially thankful for it at college. I chose to attend a school on the opposite side of the country from my home. Even though it’s what I wanted, feeling suddenly detached from everything I care about was absolutely terrifying. Our DOC leaders here are wonderful and they made sure I would always have a place to feel welcome. This community is an amazing safety net for anybody who needs it. My older brother is a part of DOC at Texas Christian University, and he encouraged me to be active because he knew how supportive it would be. Even though it’s a little more difficult to feel connected to our Chapman DOC community during the pandemic and online school, we still have multiple weekly opportunities to see each other. Speaking from experience, people will still reach out to you even if you’re too busy to go to events or you’re feeling mentally overwhelmed. I have honestly never felt more surrounded by support and love from one community in my entire life.
As a young disciple attending a Disciples of Christ affiliated institution, I have realized just how blessed I am. While being at Bethany, I have drawn so close to my faith and seen the importance of calling on God when I am in times of need. Attending a Disciples of Christ related school has given me the ability to attend Bethany Memorial Christian Church and meet other young Disciples. It is difficult being a young adult attending college for the first time. However, attending an institution where I can openly connect to my faith has reminded me just how important it is to lean on those around me when things get stressful. Being on this beautiful campus has given me a calm environment to call upon God when I need to, while being surrounded by a family who will help me along the way. During the first week at Bethany, freshman attend a three-day camp-like experience called Camp Bell. This is where students are able to meet one another and engage in multiple ice-breaker activities. One of the activities this year was yoga; something that was easily done while social distancing. While doing yoga, the amazing bells from Old Main on campus began to ring. While we sat in the halls of Old Main, focusing in our breathing, our instructor told us that when we hear the bells every day, we should do something that centers us. Now, every time I hear those bells, I pray. I look around me and think of all of the blessings God has given me in that moment; and in every prayer, I thank God for this glorious opportunity to be here.
I am a lifelong Disciple and grew up attending churches in the Pacific Southwest Region. As a freshman, coming into college during this season has been extremely difficult, especially as all of our classes are currently online. What has made the transition easier has been the community I have found in the Disciples on Campus group at Chapman University. Entering the Chapman family, I knew I would be involved with this group of people and it was a significant factor in my college decision – knowing I would have a community I could become a part of that I had already been exposed to through participation in PSWR events. This community is important to me because it allows me to enter a space of acceptance and understanding at our Wednesday Night Worship Services. Despite being on zoom, we have found ways to create community, have fun, and further develop our Christian faith. Having the Disciples community on our campus (although it is virtual now) has helped me bring my faith with me to college instead of leaving it at home, as so many college students do. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity I have to attend Chapman and the opportunity I have to continue participating in the Disciples community despite being in a college environment. Thank you so much for your support of the Thanksgiving offering.