Connecting to Faith

Sep 162003
Authors: Ben Bleckley

On the Plaza today more than 15 student organizations and religious groups will set up tables in the annual event, “Connect to your faith community.”

“It’s an event so that students can connect and learn about different faith communities,” said Pegge Bernecker, a university minister and vice-president of the University Religious Directors’ Association. “Both student organizations on campus as well as faith communities in the city (will be represented).”

One such group is Hillel, the Jewish student organization.

“Our main goal is (to educate) any of the students on campus who have a Jewish affiliation or are interested in learning more that there is a place where they can come and learn about Hillel (and) know that there is Jewish activity on this campus,” said Rachel Raizen, a junior psychology major and president of Hillel.

Not all organizations represented are a part of URDA.

“There are some groups participating that are not involved with URDA,” Bernecker said, “but they are student groups or they are groups in the community.”

One of these groups is the Bahai’ Club, a group supporting a religion which now has over 5 million followers worldwide according to

“Basically how we see it is that it is God’s religion that has changed over time,” said Navead Jensen, a graduate civil engineering student and president of the Bahai’ Club. “Our goal tomorrow is to hang out. Just to be there to represent the Bahai’ faith.”

In addition to Hillel and the Bahai’ Club, attending organizations will include Lutheran Campus Ministries, Campus Crusade, the Muslim Student Association, the Pagan Student Alliance, the Catholic Student Group and others, Bernecker said.

Bernecker sees many benefits to attending the event.

“First off, (students) can meet somebody face to face,” she said. “The hardest thing for students that want to connect with a faith community is showing up not knowing anybody at a meeting.”

Students will also get a chance to observe a wide variety of faith organizations in one place she said.

“It is all about independent investigation,” Jensen said. “I am not going to push anything on anybody.”

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