by MATT NICOLL
One of the biggest controversies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic is whether groups should be gathering or not. UTC has been very strict and cautious, and rightly so, with organizations and classes gathering. The UTC administration have made policies to keep students and faculty members safe.
Some of the organizations that have been most affected by the implemented policies are college ministries. Some have decided to gather in person, and some have decided to gather digitally through Zoom.
The House, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization and college ministry is one of the ministries that have decided to only corporately gather through Zoom. The House has been on UTC’s campus for over 25 years, and they really enjoy their allegiance with the university. To see more about what The House is about, click this video link. The House would rather abide by the policies put forth by the administration and not risk losing their school organization title. Even though The House is not gathering in a large corporate setting, there are students gathering in small numbers in each other’s’ homes.
“The hope is for college students to still have some sort of community in a safe way, while also not thinking the only way to gather has to be in a massive way to worship God,” says Jason Leonard, the Executive Director of The House. Leonard continues, “I want for us as an organization to look back in thirty years and know we clung to wisdom and cared for our neighbors well.”
The students gathering in homes are encouraged to wear masks and socially distance as they worship, listen to the sermon, and discuss.
A campus ministry who has decided to gather in person is RUF. RUF, or Reformed University Fellowship, is a country-wide organization under the Presbyterian Church in America. RUF has decided to gather outside while also wearing masks and socially distancing.
Kirbi Ward, a student leader in RUF, says, “We want to gather in person every week, while following CDC guidelines, because we think it is helpful for students to be in community and in proximity with other believers. We also think it is helpful for student’s mental health.
There are other ministries on the UTC campus that are gathering or not gathering, so it is up to the UTC students where they want to get involved in, and whether or not they agree with meeting in person or not.