April 2, 2001
Three new campus groups OK'd
By Elaine Justice
Three new student religious ministries are being recognized at Emory this spring, bringing to 30 the number of religious organizations and ministries at the University. Student interest in faith-based groups has been growing for several years, according to Susan Henry-Crowe, dean of the chapel and religious life.
The Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), the Universal Fellowship of
Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), and an interdenominational ministry
for African American students are now among the official religious groups
available to students on campus.
The RUF is the campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America
(PCA), a denominaation founded in 1973 with roots in the southern branch
of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S.A.
Most PCA churches are concentrated in the Southeast; in Georgia alone,
the PCA has 108 congregations with 25 located in the Atlanta area. Currently,
RUF groups are on 59 campuses across the country, including Harvard, Yale,
Vanderbilt, Rice and Furman universities. Priscilla Echols, assistant
dean of Emory College, will be faculty advisor to the organization.
The UFMCC has its origins during the 1970s and today has more than 400
churches in 18 countries. Its mission is to provide an open and inclusive
ministry to all people, with special concern for gay and lesbian Christians.
The Rev. Ike Parker, an ordained minister of the denomination, will serve
as UFMCC campus minister.
The new ministry addressing the needs of African American students will
encompass students from several traditionally black Protestant denominations,
as well as students active in Atlanta-area nondenominational congregations.
Rev. William Chaney, an ordained minister with the Disciples of Christ,
will be campus minister for the group.
Many of the students attracted to Emory are committed to some form
of religious expression, Henry-Crowe said. Each of these new
groups promises to give marvelous leadership to costituent groups in need
of their respective and unique ministries.