Student Religious Organizations
The Baptist Student Union was active as early as 1924, when Ole Miss students attended the first state meeting of Baptist students in Mississippi. Ole Miss students also attended the first Southwide Conference in Birmingham in 1926. BSU growth continued with construction of a 10,000-square-foot building on Fifth Street and hiring of a full-time associate director, both in 1989. The focus of BSU continues to be discipleship, evangelism, and missions, with involvement exceeding 150 students per week.
Campus Crusade is an interdenominational ministry committed to winning students to Christ, building them up in their faith, and then sending them out to reach others for Christ. Its goal is not to take the place of a church but to equip students to be effective in the church they attend. Its focus is to see genuine life change through small group Bible studies, while a weekly meeting teaches and trains students in personal ministry.
The organization of Catholic students at Ole Miss began with the need to come together to worship. Until St. John's Catholic Church was built in Oxford in 1942, the closest Catholic church was in Water Valley, 20 miles away. Students walked the 20 miles, hitchhiked, or took the train. In 1940, Mass was being offered at the Y Building and in the upper rooms of the Student Union. The daily challenge of St. John's Catholic Church is to fulfill the mission for which it was created-to make the Catholic Church relevant and accessible to the University's students, faculty, and staff.
Chi Alpha is the international campus ministry of the Assemblies of God created to serve students. Its mission is to be a catalyst for campus evangelism and revival on college campuses. Chi Alpha is sponsored by the New Life Community Church of Oxford.
Chinese Christian Fellowship at the University of Mississippi is for Chinese students, scholars, and their families to fellowship and learn about God and encourage spiritual growth both for Christians and non-Christians. The Chinese Christian Fellowship welcomes everyone who is interested in its activities. The group meets every Friday night for Bible study, singing, sharing testimonies, video/audio tapes (of special messages or music programs), and personal fellowship.
The Common Ground Association is founded on the idea that Christians have Jesus and the Bible in common, so there should be large areas of agreement among denominations. It is dedicated to highlighting these areas of agreement while fulfilling the Great Commission of making disciples from the ranks of nonbelievers. This is accomplished by teaching members to use denominationally neutral Biblical interpretation methods and balanced Christian apologetics. Covenant Fellowship is a Christ-centered, student-led outreach of the Covenant Church of North Mississippi, a nondenominational Christian church. It has been a part of the spiritual life of Ole Miss for more than 15 years. The organization provides Christian fellowship and support to affiliated students and offers assistance in the name of Christ to the greater student community. Membership is open to the University community, and gatherings are usually both social and spiritual. traditionally many members have been international students.
The Episcopal Church at Ole Miss is a campus ministry program sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi and St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Oxford. The group meets for worship and dinner on Sunday evenings at St. Peter's (113 South Ninth Street, just off the Square) and provides many opportunities for service and fellowship on campus and at St. Peter's.
FCA's mission is to "present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in fellowship with the church." FCA is interdenominational with a focus on Jesus Christ. Although FCA had a presence at Ole Miss for more than 20 years, in spring 1996 a group of athletes got together and began the ministry that continues today.
The Latter Day Saint Student Association is for students who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Since the early 1970s, LDSSA has been providing opportunities for service, spiritual development, and acceptable social activities. Members are encouraged to be successful in their studies, achieve a balanced life, and become an influence for good. Members participate in a weekly religion class taught by a member approved by the Church Education System.
The Navigators is an international, nondenominational organization to help fulfill Christ's Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. Staff work with small groups and individuals to help them grow in their faith and learn, in turn, how to help others. The Navigators began as a campus ministry at Ole Miss in the mid-1970s. In recent years its emphasis has shifted to befriending and helping international students, and discipleship among international students and Americans with an interest in international ministry.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship provides opportunities for worship, prayer, bible study and fellowship for Orthodox Christian students at Ole Miss. Sercices are scheduled periodically and are open to all students.
Peace Lutheran Church and Lutheran Student Fellowship are a Bible-based church and organization dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Through worship, prayer, education, servanthood, and pastoral services, it enhances, encourages, and strengthens the spiritual lives of the Christian community in Oxford, the University of Mississippi, and surrounding communities. Its mission is to reach out to believers and unbelievers alike with the message of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Pentecostal Youth Fellowship was organized in fall 1984. It is sponsored by First Pentecostal Church of Oxford and is associated with the United Pentecostal Church International. Pentecostal Youth Fellowship provides teaching, Bible study, fellowship, and support for Pentecostal young people attending Ole Miss. All students are welcome to attend any of the fellowship's activities, including weekly Bible studies in the Student Union and fellowship suppers off campus.
RUF is the official campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America, a denomination committed to the integrity of the Holy Scriptures and to ministering to individuals. Its purpose is to reach students for Christ and to equip them to serve him in his church and in their vocations in the Kingdom of God. Since its beginning, five campus ministers, no less than 20 campus interns, and literally thousands of students have watched as God has blessed the regular teaching of his word.
Student Mobilization, an interdenominational, parachurch ministry in the south-central United States, has been at Ole Miss since 1993. Its purpose is to raise up laborers for Jesus Christ through sharing his Gospel, establishing students in their faith and equipping them to do the same with their peers. This is accomplished through one-on-one interaction with students, facilitating small-group Bible studies, and teaching in large-group settings.
The University of Mississippi Jewish Community provides Jewish religious, cultural, and social experiences for the university and Oxford communities. The UMJC is a Hillel Student Organization, affiliated with Hillel--the national organization for Jewish student life.
In 1993, several Ole Miss students, faculty members, and members of the Oxford community formed the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Its mission is to foster spiritual growth through free thought and respect for personal beliefs; to seek wisdom of many religious traditions and of ourselves; and to encourage the expression of personal ideals in service to people, other life, and our planet. Unitarian Universalism is a positive faith in working principles, rather than doctrines, and offers a different type of religious program on campus each Sunday.
A campus ministry affiliated with the Church of Christ, University Christians have been active on the University campus for 40 years. In 1961, work was begun to construct the University Christian Student Center, which now stands across the street from the Ole Miss campus at 409 W. Jackson Ave. Activities include weekly devotionals, Bible studies, worship and Bible class at the Oxford Church of Christ, mission trips, service projects, and lots of fun.
The Wesley Campus Ministry is a ministry of the United Methodist Church for all students at Ole Miss. It offers students small-group discussions, retreats, mission trips, and leadership opportunities. Its large-group Bible study, The Edge, is held Thursday nights, followed by a Coffeehouse with food, live music, and fellowship at the Wesley House on Jackson Avenue across from Martin-Stockard residence halls.
The Westminster Fellowship is a ministry of the First Presbyterian Church of Oxford, a congregation that feels called to minister to Ole Miss faculty, staff, and students. Its college group meets every Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church for Bible study, dinner, fellowship, and mission opportunities. It holds annual winter retreats with Presbyterian campus ministries from other colleges in the state and holds a pre-exam communion service for all students at the end of every semester. A faculty book-study group meets every month. All the fellowship's activities are intended to grow people in the faith and to welcome all people.