This story is featured in the Fall 2019 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how HPU incorporates many different opportunities for students to create a strong faith community on campus.
HPU’s Chapel and Religious Life Programs Encourage Spiritual Growth
Students of many traditions foster their faith at HPU, and the Chapel and Religious Life Office is there to support and encourage them. Here, they explain their spiritual journey in their own voices.
Board of Stewards
“I am super busy as a double major. It would be easy to feel stuck or lost, but I found my campus home within the chapel. Every week, I look forward to centering myself both in our Board of Stewards meetings and with two deep breaths during the chapel services.
I’ve been the Angel Tree coordinator for the past two years. Last December, we spent 14 hours in Walmart together buying Christmas gifts for children in the community. In the end, we had 30 carts full of gifts for 150 children!
Now, as president of the Board of Stewards, I tell other students to get involved in this loving and welcoming community. I have been pushed to grow in my faith alongside people I might never have met otherwise. I cannot imagine my life at HPU without their support and love.”
— Christine Watt, senior theater performance and English literature major from Austin, Texas
“I love being part of Hillel because it offers a connection to my roots and my spirituality. It is a place I can go to feel at home and connect to other people who come from similar backgrounds.
I have made friends who understand me, and because of how welcoming they are, I was confident to take on the role of co-president this year. HPU Hillel started small but has grown and continues to grow.
We experience many special moments throughout the year, including making challah, decorating the traditional sukkah and finding our ‘big’ in the mishpacha (family) program. I will forever be proud to be a part of Hillel.”
— Steph Stone, sophomore vocal performance major from Short Hills, New Jersey
“As an executive council member for the Board of Stewards, I work alongside my fellow stewards to plan and execute the weekly chapel services, including leading prayers and reading scripture. Being part of this wonderful group has given me a new family at HPU.
While supporting each other, we also reach out to the community, invite them in and help them experience God’s unconditional love firsthand. I’m grateful to be part of such a caring group that shows everyone there’s a place where they belong.
Attending chapel is a great way to meet others at various stages of their faith. Joining any of HPU’s religious life organizations is highly recommended, as we all invite new members in with open arms.”
— Nicholas Kirby, junior chemistry major and Spanish minor from New Bern, North Carolina
“Belonging to two minority groups in the United States (Arab and Muslim), it is hard to blend in, but the Office of Religious Life has played a vital role in helping me belong and feel acceptance.
The Interfaith Dinner Club meets once every month to have fruitful discussions from various perspectives. It reminds me of how beautiful diversity can be if we allow it. Members of the Interfaith Dinner Club were the first to pave this path for me since my freshman year.
It’s easy to get distracted. Religious Life organizations help you find your way. They empower your identity. Being with others pursuing a spiritual path, even if you don’t belong to the same faith, is very beneficial.”
— Tara Shtayyeh, junior psychology major and dance minor from Ramallah, Palestine
Here’s a glimpse of the many avenues HPU offers on a regular basis to support students of all faiths and backgrounds.
The Charles E. Hayworth Sr. Memorial Chapel, home to the university’s weekly worship services and community events throughout the year, is a symbol of HPU’s Methodist heritage and hospitality for people of all traditions. Worship services are held Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. in the Hayworth Chapel. Each worship service strives to provide inspirational space and a message that aids all who attend in the ongoing work of self and social transformation.
HPU’s Catholic Campus Ministry hosts Catholic Mass on Sundays at 6 p.m. The organization also offers weekly activities and semester retreats.
HPU’s Hillel offers Jewish students a campus faith community. The organization hosts celebrations for all major Jewish holidays, including a Hanukkah dinner at 1924 Prime and a Passover Seder dinner, as well as activities such as challah making and the traditional decoration of the sukkah.
Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and other faiths utilize the Multifaith Prayer and Meditation Space in the Chapel. The Interfaith Dinner Club brings students of all walks of life together to learn from each other and hosts events such as the annual Iftar.
Through several choirs and musical opportunities, including the Chapel Choir, the Collision Contemporary Worship Band and the Genesis Gospel Choir, students utilize music as a vehicle to express and strengthen faith.