This story is featured in the Fall 2017 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how HPU’s Religious Life helps students dig deep to find who they are and what they represent.
The Rev. Preston Davis sounds like an excited professor when he talks about faith and its effect on the students he sees.
He should know. He sees hundreds. As minister to High Point University, he preaches and teaches, counsels and sings as he and the Rev. Andria Williamson, manager of chapel programs, help students dig deep to find who they are and what they represent.
With the many activities offered by HPU’s Chapel and Religious Life, they do.
Here are a few:
During the 50-minute service, students can tithe to a local nonprofit and hear the Chapel Choir, the Genesis Gospel Choir or the Collision Worship Band.
One of the biggest services of the year is Lessons and Carols, a century-old tradition first produced in King’s College in Cambridge, England, where parishioners lift candles skyward and sing.
“This service comes during a high-stress period,” Davis says. “They’re getting ready to take exams, and this reminds them the importance of keeping first things first — that is, the birth of Jesus Christ.”
On the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., noteworthy clergy such as Bishop L. Jonathan Holston of the United Methodist South Carolina Conference come to campus and preach about the importance of King’s legacy.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students, faculty and staff participate in various local service projects to underscore HPU’s longstanding commitment to its hometown.
The one-day service project complements the 100,000 hours HPU students volunteer throughout the year in High Point.
Students can volunteer with three different service organizations of faith — Alpha Delta Theta, a Christian service sorority; Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed Christian service fraternity; and Impact, a Christian club.
These members do everything from helping a hurricane-ravaged community recover to packing 1,000 lunches for impoverished children to eat.
Every year, students can travel to Haiti, New York City or central North Carolina to see and feel their faith in action as they help the disenfranchised and the poor through various activities and initiatives.
Rebecca Ulrich, a biochemistry senior, went to New York City. She helped feed local homeless, and that moved her. But when she stood in a church in Harlem and heard the parishioners sing “Welcome to the family … we love you,” she cried.
“The Bible commands us to seek justice and love others,” she says. “And seeing that many people and ministries live those values out in their daily lives challenges me to fight for justice and love for the oppressed.”
Take Hillel, HPU’s Jewish student organization. Members offer a dinner of Jewish food for people of all faiths to celebrate Passover Seder and Hanukkah.
Then, there is the Interfaith Dinner Club. Members bring together students of various faiths for eight dinners a year to talk about what they believe.
Meanwhile, HPU’s International Student Affairs works with Davis and Williamson to create a dinner for all students to celebrate two important Muslim holidays, Ramadan Iftar and Eid al-Adha.
“People from our campus come from all over the world, and to find that our special holidays are a big moment on campus, that makes us feel High Point University is happy to have us,” says Bisharat Khan, a Muslim and an HPU sophomore studying pre-pharmacy.
“We feel appreciated.”
View this story and more in the Fall 2017 edition of the HPU Magazine: