All Campus Worship connects Christians

By April Dahlquist

The lyrics “how great is our God” resonated from Foellinger Auditorium as more than 1,000 Christians gathered at the All Campus Worship event Thursday.

The goal of this semesterly event, according to founder and InterVarsity staff member John Roeckeman, is to unite all Christians on campus and jointly express faith in Christ.

“I think it’s great to see all the Christian groups come together,” said Twin City Bible Church Pastor Shannon Caughey. “There are so many organizations on campus, and at All Campus there’s a great sense of unity and togetherness.”

Open to any Christian organization in the Champaign-Urbana area or anyone curious about the Christian faith, the Evangelical Christian Union sponsored this event, and Twin City Bible Church hosted it.

Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, executive director of Chabad Jewish Center, thinks unity on campus is essential, no matter the faith of the people.

“We build our walls, and if we have an opportunity on campus to take off our labels, we will have people of fellow faiths and the world at large working towards a common goal,” Tiechtel said.

For the 15th year, the worshippers stood, raised their voices and clapped their hands to the music. After the band finished, Scott Berkey, campus director of Cru, a campus Christian organization, spoke about living the glory of God.

Citing scripture throughout his speech, many audience members followed along with their personal Bibles. Berkey encouraged the audience to spread the good news of Jesus.

“We are all members of a global body of Christians and coming together at U of I is just a small representation of the diversity of Christians,” graduate student Brandon Cheney said.

After another set from the praise band, the echoing music quickly dulled to a soft whisper as group prayer started.

Clumping together in small groups, worshippers bowed their heads and prayed for the specific themes of the campus, the nation and the ends of the earth.

“We pray for each other and the campus, and that the campus will increase in love for God,” said Kyle Marquardt, president of the Evangelical Christian Union.

The band started its last set as the audience was back on their feet and singing from the lyrics projected on the screen.

Band Director John Jung tried to incorporate more Latin-themed songs into the sets so the audience could actively participate in worshipping.

“You should have a freedom to worship with your whole self, besides your voice but your body too,” Jung said.

“Dancing and Latin influence I think makes it a bit easier to do that,” he added.

Jung’s theory worked as many worshippers raised their hands and swayed side to side.

A collection was made during one of the songs to pay for the sound equipment and the cost to rent out Foellinger.

Any leftover money was donated to a charity.

As the event turned to a close, the worshippers from the 20 Christian groups and other worshippers who came on their own clapped as the final song ended.

Jung said that even though different ministries may vary in doctrine, this event brings light to “the fact that we know that there is one thing that can unify all the ministry and that there is a greater person beyond.”