A home for Christians

Campus group welcomes religious exploration.

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Have you ever participated in something that excites you and leaves you wanting more? I hope so. It’s a great feeling. I would know — it’s how I feel about Chi Alpha.

I don’t know how many of you know what Chi Alpha is, but for those of you who have a question mark flashing in your brain, let me elaborate. Chi Alpha is not a sorority. The name sounds like it, but Chi Alpha is actually a Christian praise and worship group at UND.

Chi Alpha started five years ago and has been growing in members ever since. It’s a great way to get involved in the Christian faith while going to school, and that’s why I love it.

Growing up Catholic, I was thirsty for something at college that could help me grow deeper in my faith. At the beginning of the school year, it came up in conversation between my friends and I that we were all religious and looking to learn more about our faith. They mentioned Chi Alpha. We went together that Thursday evening, and I haven’t been the same since.

I’m going to get this bit out right away: Chi Alpha isn’t some snotty church group that thinks it’s flawless and shoves the bible down your throat. In fact, it’s quite opposite. Chi Alpha is full of wonderful people, most of them UND students or alumni that are aware of their imperfections but who still desire a relationship with God regardless. It’s a unique organization in which people practice their religion in their own way and in their own time.

The group meets every Thursday in the Reed Keller Auditorium in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences building. It always starts off with a welcome and a few entertaining stories by the emcee. Then the worship team band comes down, and everyone participates in praise and worship songs for awhile. To wrap up, pastor Bryce Meyer gives a sermon about whatever the topic might be that night.

But there’s something that makes Chi alpha different than a lot of other religious groups you might have experienced.

It isn’t forceful; it’s welcoming. It doesn’t judge; it accepts. I felt welcomed the very first time I came to Chi Alpha. People are so friendly and genuinely happy you are there. It’s not some tight knit club where only a select few are accepted, but a family where we can all come together.

I went to a Catholic school all my life, but it wasn’t until I came to a public university that I became more independent and driven to deepen my faith. I owe a lot of that to Chi Alpha and the people I’ve met through it. It’s such a chill organization that it allows you to test the waters of your faith without pushing you in and making you swim.

While I love my Catholic faith and wouldn’t trade it for anything, there hasn’t been a Catholic group on campus that I’ve felt as accepted into as Chi Alpha. And that’s okay. Simply being a Christian organization, it has helped many grow in their faith, including me with Catholicism.

If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, that’s okay too — to each their own.

There are many other religious groups on campus, such as Cru or Christus Rex, and they’re great too. There’s something different for everyone, and they might be the right fit for you. But I can assure you from personal experience that if you are interested in exploring, deepening or even starting to think about Christianity, Chi Alpha is the place to be.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].

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