By Chanae Pitts Richardson, Staff Reporter
Deciding upon a new church home can seem like an intimidating task for incoming students; however, it can also be an incredible opportunity for students to join a Christian community that supports personal beliefs.
Junior Cossette Rodriguez, who attends The Well’s Sunday service and the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church Bible study, shared the importance in visiting churches while in college and finding a place to be involved.
“All Christians are the church, but it is important to have that one church where you have built that community and are connected with people because it makes a huge difference whenever you can call a church home, and the congregation family,” Rodriguez said.
The Abilene area has over 80 churches which consist of multiple denominations including: Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, Lutheran, Episcopal, Disciples of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Church of Christ and Catholic.
Throughout the fall semester, church fairs occur at HSU to give students the opportunity to interact with members from the numerous churches in Abilene.
“The church fair during Stampede really helped me decide what churches I wanted to visit. Hearing members of the church give insight about the church community and discuss what the church had to offer helped me narrow down my search,” said Josie Chavez, a junior at HSU who attends Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Many churches also offer free meals throughout the week and hold events specifically for college students.
“Church college events helped me get closer to people my own age who understood what I was going through as a freshman away from home. Get-togethers for college students help you appreciate the church and make friends in a comfortable environment,” Chavez said.
Students sometimes grow tired of constantly being a visitor at churches every Sunday.
Junior Emily Velasquez suggested that visiting churches in groups can make the church searching process less daunting.
“Going with friends and attending a church with people I knew helped me feel comfortable in joining into a church’s fellowship and allowed me to harness a deeper appreciation of each church’s ministry,” said Velasquez.
The church finding process can be lengthy, and students should not feel discouraged if the search continues longer than expected. Rodriguez emphasized that students should continue to seek churches that offer what the student has determined he/she desires in a church.
“If you spend your entire college career looking for your home church then that’s ok. When you are pursuing the Lord wholeheartedly, He may call you to different places if that’s His will. I’ve probably had about four different home churches while I’ve been at HSU and I’ve learned that the most important thing is to be where you feel the Lord wants you to be,” Rodriguez said.
Hardin-Simmons University strives to be a supportive environment which urges students to find a church community in the Abilene area that both encourages students as they seek an education and provides a strong Christian family.