News - Called to Love and Serve: GC Students Take Part in Urban Plunge

Called to Love and Serve: GC Students Take Part in Urban Plunge

Urban Plunge Participants - Fall 2014

On a chilly November afternoon, 32 Greenville College students embarked on Urban Plunge, a two-day service project that has become a hallmark GC experience for many current students and alumni.

Led by Director of World Outreach & Missions Faith Marie Nava, World Outreach Student Organizer Beth Watkins, and Greenville Student Outreach leaders Kieryn Beyerl, Brooke Bryant, Shelby Riddle and Amy Stoeckley, this semester students began their Urban Plunge experience on Friday, Nov. 14 at the Christian Activity Center in East St. Louis where they learned more about the activities and services provided by the CAC to carry out their mission “to prepare youth in East St. Louis for successful futures spiritually, academically and physically.” GC students  helped as chaperons at a skating party for children at the Center before leaving East St. Louis for their next stop in University City, Mo. at New City Fellowship where they learned about the work of the CityLights ministry program. CityLights, a ministry partnership between InterVarsity and New City Fellowship, is a training program aimed at developing urban leadership and biblical discipleship for college students through exercises in servanthood, racial reconciliation and Christian community development.

GC student Shelby Cash '17 raking leaves

Saturday morning began with a breakfast presentation from Gerry Chappeau of CityLights who spoke about the power of regarding others. Using stories from the Bible, as well as a few from his own experience, Chappeau encouraged students to intentionally regard those they encounter, especially those who are ignored or marginalized by society such as the poor, widows, orphans, immigrants and refugees. He spoke of the ministry students would participate in that day by raking leaves, moving dirt and preparing meals, but also of the service they could offer through smiles and hellos, by listening to someone’s story and taking time to pause long enough to look at others through the lens of God’s love. After hearing Chappeau’s message, GC students divided into smaller groups for separate projects. The projects included preparing a meal at Karen House in North St. Louis, raking leaves and assisting with landscaping projects for neighbors of New City Fellowship and assisting with renovation projects in a disadvantaged neighborhood.

After completing their projects, GC students reconvened at New City Fellowship for a debriefing lunch where students were encouraged to continue practicing the lessons of love and service, and the art of regarding others, in their everyday lives. Before returning to campus, students stopped at Plowsharing Crafts on Delmar in the University City Loop to learn more about fair trade. 

Though it was one of the coldest weekends of the semester, Greenville College students’ hearts were warmed by the call to love and the opportunity to serve. 

This story was published on January 05, 2015

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