Students jubilant in faith

Nick Mathur, Staff writer

Mercyhurst University Campus Ministry attended the annual Jubilee Conference this past weekend, Feb. 23-25. The conference took place in Pittsburgh at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

This was the sixth year that Campus Ministry has attended Jubilee. There were 28 Mercyhurst students attending, as well as chaperones Jenell Patton, assistant director of Campus Ministry, and Cariel Lewis, assistant director of Residence Life.

“This is the biggest group we’ve had attend the conference,” Patton said.

The Jubilee Conference is a national event held annually in Pittsburgh. The Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), a ministry encouraging college students to serve Jesus throughout their lives, hosts the conference.

Jubilee’s mission is to help students develop ways of incorporating their faith in Jesus into any career field.

“In the past, people used to think that if they wanted to be a Christian doing ministry, they had to go into full-time positions like becoming a missionary,” said Patton. “This conference was designed to help students answer the question, ‘How can you be a person of faith regardless of what major you selected?’”

The conference is broken into four chapters: Creation, Fall, Restoration and Redemption. Each chapter had a large gathering with speakers and praise and worship, followed by various types of workshops.

The main gatherings had speakers from across the country who gave lectures on various topics, ranging from incorporation of faith into a career as an artist to how the life of a Christian should be impacted by redemption.

Students also had the opportunity to break into smaller groups and attend workshops on various topics, including ones titled “Learning for the Love of God,” “Nursing: The Reality of Healthcare in a Fallen World,” “Faith and Law” and many others.

“All of the main speakers have written books on whatever topic they present,” Patton said.

Another activity held at Jubilee is a book fair where students can find literature on incorporating faith into one’s career and life.

“There are a lot of knowledgeable people there who will help you find a book that best suits what you’re looking for,” Ryan King, senior Intelligence major, said.

Various organizations, charities and camps also come and set up booths for students to visit. This enables students to learn about job and volunteer opportunities that may not be well known.

Ultimately, this helps students to both fulfill Jubilee’s mission and make professional connections.

Throughout the weekend, the students also participate in recreational activities. One of these includes a praise and worship session, in which students can praise God through song and dance.

“They had a gospel choir this year, and it was absolutely beautiful,” said Rebecca Harms, senior Accounting and Business and Competitive Intelligence double major.

Attending the Jubilee Conference has given Mercyhurst students the opportunity to grow closer to their peers.

“You get to know people on a much deeper level than you do on campus,” said King. “That’s one of the things I really like about Jubilee.”

Jubilee has helped several Mercyhurst students grow in their faith throughout their time in college. This includes Harms, who has attended the conference for the past three years.

“In my sophomore year, I had just started getting back into my faith,” said Harms. “Jubilee helps so much to push you out of your comfort zone and tackle things with your faith you’ve been hiding from or haven’t thought of.”

Jubilee has also given Mercyhurst students insight into how they can incorporate their faith into any career field they enter.

“I now know that there’s ways to do ministry without having ‘ministry’ in your job title,” said Shelby Cameron, senior Public Health and Social Health Sciences double major. “That’s really encouraging as a young Christian.”

The impact of the Jubilee Conference extends far beyond a single weekend.

“I have grown so much in my faith since I first attended the conference, and it is still leaving a huge impact on my life,” Harms said.