Organizations offer religious outlets

A guide to religious organizations at MU.

Adjusting to college can be hard enough on its own. Between moving cities, meeting new friends and being surrounded by a seemingly endless choice of clubs to join, finding somewhere you feel comfortable can be overwhelming. Many find religious groups to be a comfort, and fortunately MU has a lot to choose from. Here are a few of the dozens that MU has to offer.

InterFACE Ministires/International Friends

InterFACE Ministries/International Friends is a multicultural Christian ministry directed toward international students, scholars and their families.

Director Craig Colbert said the organization sponsors events such as English conversation groups, easy English classes, annual household giveaways for newly arrived international students, free grocery shuttles to Walmart and services at Global Life Church every Sunday.

“Let us help connect you with Americans that care about you, want to learn about your culture, make friends with you and assist you in your cultural journey,” the [International Friends website] (http://www.ifcolumbia.org/) states.

Jewish Student Organization

With the Mizzou Hillel, JSO helps Jewish students meet each other and get involved in Jewish life at MU.

“They can and do range from celebrating and learning about religious holidays to participating in social, cultural and social justice activities,” Director Kerry Hollander said.

According to the Mizzou Hillel website, events include weekly Shabbat dinners, movie screenings, Taglit Birthright Israel groups, breaking the fast at Yom Kippur, Holocaust/genocide remembrance week, rec sports and an interfaith break fast when Ramadan coincides with Yom Kippur. The website also states that all religious services are led by students with the occasional visit of a student rabbi.

“JSO is really just a place where you can come, relax and make some great friends,” President David Feldman said. “We are a tight-knit community, but we are very welcoming and always excited for new people to come join us.”

Feldman said there are no fees or membership requirements.

Muslim Student Organization

According to its website, MSO is an organization that provides an inclusive, inviting educational and social environment for the Muslims at MU and works to create bridges amongst Muslims and other groups on campus and in the Columbia community.

MSO’s events include Islam Awareness Week, general body meetings, Fast-a-thons, fasting initiatives, speaker symposiums, brothers and sisters discussions (Halaqas) and an end-of-the-year picnic.

Additionally MSO plans events to give back to the Columbia community. These include participation in Relay for Life, monthly volunteering at Central Missouri Food Bank, bake sales and Pink Hijab Day for breast cancer awareness.

University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists & Agnostics

MU SASHA is an alternative religious organization focusing on questions of religion. According to its website, MU SASHA is open to and strongly encourages interaction from people of all faiths and religious backgrounds.

The organization has three parts to its mission: promoting to the highest degree the separation of church and state, promoting a healthy and respectable image of the atheist and freethinking community in our area and working to offer students at MU and people around Columbia their first opportunity to hear a freethinking opinion on life, reality and rationality other than that of the religious organizations on the MU campus.

MU SASHA meets 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays.

The Vedic Society

VS is an organization that promotes spiritual awareness in the spirit of universal harmony and fellowship, its website states.

“One does not need to have any particular background," President Nilotpal Sanyal said. "Be you a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or of any other religion, our sole purpose is to help you in your own way by focusing on and relating to life the basic spiritual teachings that all religions share. Understanding of the common spiritual basis should help one to understand his or her own religion at more depth, which in turn, helps one to practice the same more sincerely.”

Sanyal said during the academic session, VS meets 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays. During meetings, students discuss various topics, relate spiritual teachings to actions and thoughts in daily life, practice meditation and prayer and practice simple Pranayama and Yogasanas.

He said other activities include spiritual talks and workshops, occasional trips and retreats, participating in MU and Columbia city events and fundraising for philanthropic issues.

The yearly membership fee is $10.

Veritas

According to its website, Veritas is a campus ministry that comes from the conviction that Christianity is true.

“Veritas comes from the belief that Christianity best makes sense of our life and our world, and we love to help college students connect the dots between the Bible and their lives,” co-Director Ryan Wampler said.

Wampler said you do not have to be Christian to attend the meetings.

“Anyone is welcome to attend,” he said. “Our staff and leaders all come from the Christian perspective, but we love having dialogue and conversations with people of different perspectives.”

Veritas holds group meetings 8 p.m. Tuesdays. Additionally, there are meetings on Wednesday nights for fraternity and sorority students called Vintage Greek, small Bible group studies, retreats, conferences, mission trips, service projects and book discussions.

In addition to the general groups, there are religious groups more major-specific. These include the Christian Legal Society and the Fellowship of Christian Engineers.

“Our goal is to provide a place where law students can freely discuss the Christian faith and how it relates to their studies and future practice,” the Christian Legal Society website states.

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