Religious group revives itself on campus
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship has returned to campus, seeking to draw in more members than years past.
“This is the first year we’ve had a phenomenal amount of interest and activity in our chapter,” said John Meese, president of OCF.
Meese is a senior majoring in economics and Spanish. After arriving at the university four years ago, he found the chapter of OCF had gone inactive and decided to do something about it.
“I just started connecting with other students on campus who I knew were Orthodox, and we would meet once or twice a month,” Meese said.
Meese grew up in the Orthodox Church and was involved in related groups throughout high school, so when he came to Murfreesboro, he wanted to see the same sort of group at his university. Meese is now the Southeast Representative on the Student Advisory Board of OCF.
OCF has seen a growth in the number of people that come to the meetings, with their biggest meeting consisting of six people a year and a half ago, to Thursday’s meeting, with about 20 people in attendance.
“OCF is not here to compete with the other existing ministries on campus,” said Stefan Johansson, a senior majoring in philosophy. “For this semester, our goal is to find the other Orthodox that are here and bring them in.”
Meetings always open with a prayer, and sometimes there is a guest speaker. This semester, the group each member does a short 5-10 minute presentation on a saint of their choice at each meeting.
The OCF is open to all people interested in Orthodox Christianity.
A new member of the group, Katherine Alverides, former nursing major, says she enjoys the group because it is fun and loud.
“Iʼm trying to find people my own age in the Orthodox culture,” Alverides said.
There are some in the group who are not of the Orthodox faith, who are Protestant and agnostic. Those who are not Orthodox can participate in the group, but cannot serve in leadership positions.
Among the Orthodox members there are inquirers, who are those wishing to learn more about the faith. There are some catechized, which, according to Johansson is “the first official step in becoming Orthodox.” He is being catechized this Sunday at St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church. The process of becoming catechized includes meeting with a priest, and ends in baptism.
The month of October is Orthodox Awareness month. The OCF will have special meetings with prayers in different languages and tables around campus to reach out to the community.
The members of the Orthodox Church maintain themselves as the original Christian Church. After splitting from Rome in 1054, the Orthodox Church rejected the papacy and decided to interpret the doctrine of Christ and the Apostles.
The group meets once a week on Thursday night 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Student Union Building 210, and the fourth Thursday of every month this group gathers in room 220 for a potluck, games and fellowship.
This post was updated on Oct. 4 at 3:09 p.m. In accordance with the comment below and an email, we struck the words that caused confusion. Sidelines regrets this error.