United Campus Ministry Reaches Out through Community Activities

( [email protected] ) Feb 20, 2004 04:49 AM EST

United Campus Ministries do more than offer Bible studies. The seven-denomination strong ministry also brings a sense of community to Terre Haute and Indiana State University (ISU) where the goal of campus Minister Jack Diel is to help individuals grow socially, spiritually, intellectually, and ethically in their faith.

"We try to reach out to the larger community to bridge the gap between the campuses and the community," said Diel, who has been ministering 22 of the 60 years of UCM at ISU. "Anyone is welcomed and we talk about what's on folks' minds and have a free flow conversation."

A full agenda of activities throughout the week show that while unity is the goal of UCM, it requires the participation of faculty and staff. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend the communal lunch every Tuesday. A separate lunch for students is held twice a month at Rose-Hulman. The ministry has recently began using e-mail to send each other Bible reflections.

There is no need to worry about any coercion at the UCM building. The ministry attempts to educate the students about different denominations and encourage them to support the seven denominations under UCM, from United Methodist to Presbyterian, for service.

"We will be as hospitable as possible," Diel said. "We will never hassle; we will invite."

At UCM people have the chance to learn from each other and see how God is revealed in a variety of ways to people concerning their faith, Diel said.

Margaret Estes, freshman history major, testified to what UCM had to offer.

"UCM is a wonderful place to get away from the world," said Estes, who heard about UCM during a ISU tour. "I really enjoy the fact that UCM helps educate you on other religions and denominations, they are not afraid that you will change religions while exploring other religions."

The extra care UCM show to the community really counts. When coming through the doors, they can be expected to be greeted by Administrative Assistant Judy Vasbinder and when they are need to counseling, they can be assured of the help of Diel.

"It helped me with the fact I had somewhere to go," freshman Margaret Estes said. "Coming here people listen to me, especially with problems, and they helped me."

Apart from promoting local activities to grow in faith with God, UCM of Indiana also helps students become aware of the world around them through Intercambio Cultural de Yucatan, which is Terre Haute’s best-kept secret, according to Jack Diel.

This event takes interested members of the Terre Haute community to the Yucatan region of Mexico where they learn while they learn about the culture while they work to complete construction in medical, dental, and health education projects. The two trips for the event during the summer and winter continues the 20-year long traditional event.

If interested in joining UCM or going on a missions trip to the Yucatan call Jack Diel at 232-0186 or e-mail him at [email protected]