By Rayna Cormier
Fitchburg State University sports many clubs on campus, ranging from sororities and fraternities to Anime Club and Improv. There are clubs for ethnic cultures and dance groups and one club that’s for spirituality: the Campus Ambassadors Christian Fellowship.
CACF is not just a place where students can go to learn about God and the Bible, but also where students can make friends, go on retreats, and experience things they probably never would have before in an organization like this.
Some students who go to a non-Christian based college may feel alone or out of place, but Sarah Comeau, a junior English major, found the solution.
“Being a part of CACF helped me realize the intense human need for community.” She said. “Pursuing my education at a non-Christian college was a difficult choice (I originally wanted to go to a Bible college) but CACF provides 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 anxious about schoolwork but joining a club or organization where the demands are low can help relieve some of that anxiety.
“We all need that place where we can go and connect with people who hold the same values that we do.” Comeau continued. “For me, CACF became a source of renewal and rejoicing as I formed friendships with other Christians.”
This group isn’t just for students; some adults who have already graduated 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 on Thursday to help students with their interest in God.
Mayo said she joined CACF because “God closed every other door and I found I love this one.” She feels that she and Cernoia help make a difference in the lives of the students on campus who truly need it.
And this wasn’t something that the ministers just happened upon. They wanted to do this for various reasons. For Cernoia, her motivation is very personal.
“After my husband died, life changed.” She said. “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 only a place for those who already follow Christianity but is also for those searching for something to make part of their lives. There are no boundaries or picture that anyone has to fit to be part of this community.
“We’re broken sinners just like everyone else,” Comeau explained. “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.”
Students say they have a great time learning about the aspects and deeper meanings of the Bible and God, learning new things every time they go to a new meeting. Sometimes they’re able to connect it 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 way all the time but it changes with each session.
“Crossroads will always change the way it’s talked about.” Cernoia said. “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 followers who are relatively new?
“Talk to a Christian.” Comeau advises. “ 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.
“Check out religion by looking at Jesus, not his followers,” Comeau said. “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, Comeau, Cernoia, and Mayo all agree the club’s mission statement is the best way to describe it:
“With Christ as our foundation, Christian Fellowship is a community that exists to demonstrate what it means to be Christ’s Ambassadors at FSU.”
(Photos provided by Tim Bertulli)