Immanuel Lutheran, Newman Center college youth groups give students an opportunity to develop personal spirituality

By Wendy Neese

“We’re not preaching. We just want them to know there are people who care. If we can help them in some way, then we make it our duty,” Peer Minister David Tumbarello said.

Peer ministry is just one of the new areas offered for college students by the Newman Catholic Student Center. “In a campus this size, it’s important to have a place to turn,” Junior Dan Templin answered when asked why he became involved in the Newman programs.

Templin and Linda Atchison, another peer counselor, described experiences such as their prison inmate correspondence as rewarding and educational.

Sr. Carla Rutter, college youth advisor, expressed her pleasure in seeing a large turnout of students for the programs. She noted 50-60 students are involved in the Peace and Justice Committee alone.

One of the newest ways for students to become involved is through Learning of Groups on Scripture or LOGOS. Under the direction of Father Eric Barr, this group will be trained to lead groups on scripture study.

Students can also be seen participating in the worship services themselves. Some might play guitars or keyboards, some will sing, while others usher, Rutter explained.

Looking for ways to develop personal spirituality, the Spirituality Enrichment Committee plans Bible studies, discussion groups, and are currently working on retreat outings.

Tenatively set for the weekend of October 13, they have organized the first retreat of the school year. This trip is open to all interested students, no matter what religion they follow.

It is a chance to get away from campus to “reflect, mediate, get in touch with feelings, to experience community,and to uplift a sagging spirit,” according to the guidelines they have established.

Getting together a volleyball team, or two, to play at the Recreation Center and organizing a hayride trip are both part of the Social Activities Committee’s job. This group also attracts large numbers of students. Typically, 60 or more students become involved.

Besides the student committees, the Newman Center holds classes which can be used for college credit. Along with this, they travel to residence halls, sororities, or fraternities to discuss topics ranging from time-management to Satanism.

The Newman Center is just one of the churches within walking-distance of NIU which has youth group activites. Pastor Norman Steffen from Immanuel Lutheran Church said he’s noticed typically 150 different students at the youth gatherings throughout a given year.

Students might attend Bible Study, worship sermons, church picnics, or special events such as the International Student Barbeque. Immanuel Lutheran has invited the NIU international students to an exchange for the past three years.

The Newman Center is located 512 Normal Road, while Immanuel Lutheran is at 511 Russell.