The activities fair can be incredibly overwhelming, with every president of every club shoving flyers and newspapers in your hands and cookies into your mouth. You probably got lost in the worship section of the fair, trying to keep track of the one million acronyms thrown your way, but do not fret. You don’t have to remember what the “R” in RUF stands for, or the “C” in BCF, because Cornerstone will do it for you. We will be your memory! Just not for exams. But if you need some help finding a large group gathering, check out our guide to the worship community at Brown and RISD.
Gathering Time: Fridays, 7 pm
Gathering Location: Petteruti Lounge
“RUF is a student Christ-centered fellowship group on campus, held every week, which brings together students from Brown, RISD, J&W, and other colleges around Providence to be embraced and equipped by God’s Grace. The fellowship is connected with the nationwide campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America, and invites both the ‘convinced’ Christian and the ‘unconvinced’ who want to know more about Christianity in a loving community. Besides worship and listening to God’s word, there are plenty of activities and retreats held every year for students to learn more about God and how to serve one another.” — Ningfei Ou ’15
Gathering Time: Fridays, 7 pm
Gathering Location: Wilson 102
“The first few weeks at Brown freshman year were a whirlwind. With meeting new people, moving into a dorm, and saying goodbye to my parents, I felt overwhelmed by the new experiences. At the activities fair, I remember seeing a table right away with free Bibles stacked up. The table was for the Branch Christian Fellowship, the local chapter of Chi Alpha campus ministries. I spoke with some of the students at the table and decided I would go to their large group gathering on Friday night. There was praise and worship, fellowship and a short sermon by the group’s chaplain, John. Finally I was starting to feel something familiar, a church atmosphere.
Now that I’ve been a part of the Branch for two years, the members have become a family to me. At core groups I can talk to girls who I consider my sisters, and in large group gatherings I get to meet up with group of people that I’ve grown to love. People that I can turn to when times get rough, people I can laugh with, and people I can pray with. With the Branch, I have been able to create a second home for myself at Brown, and I thank God everyday for for that.”
— Elizabeth Jean-Marie ’15
Gathering Time: Thursdays, 7 pm
Gathering Location: Barus and Holley 158
“Brown Christian Fellowship, also known as BCF, is a local chapter of the national campus ministry, Intervaristy. We’re a group of students, with a vision to see our campus know and experience God. We desire to be a demonstration to our peers and our city of the love of Jesus Christ and the power of God’s word in Scripture. Our ministry has several community groups, which gather weekly to study Scripture, and a weekly large group gathering where everyone in the fellowship comes together to worship, listen to speakers, and have further discussions on Christian living.” — Cia Mathew ’14
Athletes in Action (AIA)
Gathering Time: Thursdays, 8 pm
Gathering Location: Pembroke Field House
“When I came to Brown, I had been an athlete most of my life. It was only natural then that my love of sport and interest in religious life at Brown would come together in my joining Athletes in Action my freshman year. I was so drawn to the group because I felt I shared such fundamental interests; they wouldn’t have to explain to me what a touchdown was or how difficult (and supremely rewarding) it was to be a student athlete, and I didn’t have to explain it to them. We were bonded together both as athletes and as students experiencing and exploring our walks with Christ.
And then, sophomore year, I quit the team. In my mind, I understood that my time at Athletes in Action had also come to a close, not because anyone told me I wasn’t welcome. In fact, I don’t think I told anyone. I simply assumed it wouldn’t be the same.
It wasn’t until the end of junior year that I returned. I figured maybe I could slip in again and avoid the question of what sport I played as long as I was quick to change the subject. But it came up so quickly in one of my first conversations: ‘So, what sport do you play?’ ‘Oh, I actually don’t play a sport. I used to though..'” Only I wasn’t expecting her to answer with, ‘Yeah, neither do I.’ As I reintegrated myself, I learned there were others who weren’t current athletes, some who were never athletes. What was it that had drawn us in to this group? I found quickly that I was still welcomed, that the friendships were still there, that the fellowship was just as rich. The Athletes component, I realized, was a jumping off point, not a secret handshake you give at the door. I only wish I would have gone back sooner!” — Gabriel Brotzman ’13
Gathering Time: Wednesdays, 7 pm
Gathering Location: Caswell Hall Lounge, 168 Thayer Street
According to their website, “We gather every weekend to share a meal, share our lives with each other, and support a community event or outreach. Our weekend gatherings are a special time to invite others to hangout with our Cru family and to have fun as a community and to serve our broader Brown community, and even engage Providence and the world … In the past we’ve attended cultural galas, served the homeless, and hosted alumni panels.” This Saturday, Cru will be meeting outside the CVS on Thayer at 12 pm and heading to the Brown Football Season opener.
Gathering Time: Sundays, 11:30 am
Gathering Location: Peterutti Lounge
Brown and RISD’s Catholic Community hosts weekly small group gatherings in addition to monthly Friday Fellowships, which include games and movies. In the past, the community has participated in Theology on Tap, where members meet in a bar or restaurant to listen to a speaker and discuss his or her presentation. Finally, the Catholic community also hosts Bible studies upon students’ requests.
Tell us about your experience with Brown and RISD’s Christian community!