For one Sunday every month, joy-filled voices coming from Norse Commons sing songs such as “God is Good All the Time” and “We Worship You for Who You Are.” The sound of praise and worship flows past the C-Store and bubbles into the Residential Village.
For the nearly 100 Northern Kentucky University students, faculty and staff members who gather for the nondenominational Sunday Fellowship, that one day is dedicated to praise, worship and a determination to “live right.”
This is all part of NKU’s growing multiculturalism, said event organizer and NKU assistant director of admissions Carmen Myrick.
Since October 2005, the fellowship has steadily gained popularity among black students. The service has hosted the NKU Anointed Voices Gospel Choir, as well as gospel choirs from Miami and Xavier Universities. NKU’s Anointed Praise Team and AV Step Souldierz have also performed.
“Spirituality is a key factor to a lot of our multicultural students,” Myrick said. “It helps them throughout their college careers – to get the encouragement they need, to know they can make it.”
And encouragement is plentiful at the Sunday Fellowship.
On this particular Sunday in March, Pastor LaFayette Scales of the Rhema Christian Center covers topics ranging from Bible study to money management to dealing with anti-Christian cultures. His deep voice projects across the crowd as he challenges the worshippers.
“Being a Christian is more than just getting your praise on. Jesus called on us to impact the world,” he said. “We are the salt of the Earth, but salt only influences what it touches.”
Shouts of agreement ripple across the room as Pastor Scales warns the congregation that “you cannot afford to show up to heaven by yourself.”
Dondra Collins, a senior history and radio/television major, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., the student group that helped to organize and sponsor March’s Sunday Fellowship. Collins said she wished the service was more than once a month and noticed that the students who come out of curiosity amd keep coming back begin to feel that they are a part of the community.
“We come together as a family to worship,” Collins said. “For many of us, it’s a church family away from home.”
Myrick agrees. “It’s a great support system. The students are so encouraged by it – they leave with that endurance that helps them continue to go on and complete their mission here at NKU.”
As an event that is not even two years old, Sunday Fellowship has continued to see numbers increase every month, and Myrick is quick to give credit to Pastor Oswald and Gloria Campbell of the Word of Victory International Church. The Campbells are the African American Student Affairs Interfaith Council pastors and Gloria teaches a Wednesday night Bible study for the students. The service stems from Gloria’s Bible study group.
According to Myrick, Sunday Fellowship answers a student need on campus.
“A lot of our students were brought up in the church, but in college their structure gets broken up,” she said. “We want to help them continue that tradition in their lives and they are so grateful for that.”
The next Sunday Fellowship is Sunday, April 22.