Fitchburg State University has many organizations on campus that range from sororities and fraternities to Anime Club and Improv. There are clubs for ethnic cultures and dance groups, but there is also one club that is for spirituality: Campus Ambassadors Christian Fellowship.
CACF is not just a place where students can go to learn about God and the Bible, but it is also a place where students can make friends, go on retreats, and experience things they probably never had before in a youth group or an organization quite like this. Some students that go to a non-Christian based college may feel alone or out of place, but Sarah Comeau, a Junior English major, said, “Being part of CACF helped me to realize the intense human need for community. Pursuing my education at a non-Christian college was a difficult choice (I originally wanted to go to a bible college). So CACF provided for me the assurance that I’m not the only Christian on campus.”
As the semester goes on many students start to feel stressed or really anxious when it comes to schoolwork, but joining a club or organization where the demands aren’t too high can help to relieve some of that anxiousness. Comeau said, “We all need that place where we can go and connect with people who hold the same values that we do. For me, CACF became a source of renewal and rejoicing as I formed friendships with other Christians.”
This group isn’t just for the students, but it is also for some adults who have already graduated college to come and share their own experiences and advice with the students. CACF, otherwise known as “Crossroads,” has two primary Campus Ministers, Jackie Mayo and Elizabeth Cernoia. These two women attend the meetings every Tuesday and Bible Study every Thursday to help students in their interest in God. When asked why they joined, Mayo said, “Because God closed every other door and I found I love this one.” She feels that they help to make a difference in the lives of the students on campus who truly need it.
This wasn’t just something that the Ministers just happened upon. They wanted to do this for various reasons. Cernoia said, “After my husband died, life changed. I had a family to support and I wanted to be at work for God’s kingdom. This job is worth living for!”
Crossroads isn’t just a place for those who already follow Christianity, but it is also for those searching for something they want to make part of their lives. There’s no boundary or picture that anyone has to fit to be part of this community. Comeau said, “We’re broken sinners just like everyone else. So many people think that to be a Christian, you have to follow a long list of rules. You have to dress in nice clothes and go to church looking and acting perfectly. But the truth is that we’ve all stumbled–Christians still need help even though we’ve been saved from our sins. We all need a hero–a Savior–to help us become the people we desire to be. It’s love that changes us and enables us to follow God.”
The students have a great time learning about the various aspects of the Bible and God, and learn new things every time they go to a new meeting. Sometimes they may be able to connect something to their personal lives or realize something they had never noticed before. It is also a learning experience for the Ministers as they continue to meet new students and learn so much more from them. Cernoia said, “God is definitely at work, even if something isn’t going right.”
Some students may wonder if the meetings will be run the same all the time, but it changes with each session. Cernoia said, “Crossroads will always change the way it’s talked about. We want to be open to what the group needs at the time.” There are real life applications talked about as well as theology, so it can bring out interests for any student that wishes to join and experience the organization.
What if someone isn’t looking for Jesus, but is still curious about Christianity? What about those that are already followers, but are relatively new? Advice is always something students look for in times of hardship, so when Comeau was asked, she said, “Talk to a Christian. Although we’re not perfect, we enjoy talking about our God and we’re happy to answer any questions one might have. The Christian faith isn’t always easy to understand, so it’s okay to grapple with perplexing doctrines so that you can work your way through any doubts.”
Some students may feel intimidated to talk to someone they don’t’ know or just don’t care to talk to anyone about their spirituality, but it can all play a part into developing a sense of self, which can help a lot of students feel better and raise their self-esteem. Comeau said, “Check out religion by looking at Jesus, not his followers. Although we try to follow God and his Word, we’re not perfect and we often make mistakes. To get a more accurate picture of what Christianity really is, go directly to the Bible as a primary source of information.”
When asked what the main purpose of CACF is, all three agree that the mission statement is the best way to describe it. Mayo said, “With Christ as our foundation, Christian Fellowship is a community that exists to demonstrate what it means to be Christ’s Ambassadors at FSU.” If a student is following Christ, or just wants to learn more about the religion, CACF is a good way for a Fitchburg State student to reach out and do just that.
Crossroads meets every Tuesday at 7:00PM in Thompson 119 and Bible Study meets every Thursday at 4:00PM in the same location.