News From Terre Haute, Indiana


April 27, 2014

Building on 70 years of service

UCM commemorates long presence in campus community, looks toward future, seek to appeal to new generation

TERRE HAUTE — “Continuing the journey,” was the theme of Sunday’s celebrations surrounding the 70th anniversary of United Campus Ministries Center in downtown Terre Haute.

A visible, long-standing presence near the campus of Indiana State University, UCM is a multi-denominational center that serves students  at ISU and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Ivy Tech Community College.

“Our mission is to provide space and support for students and the community for discovering, understanding, growing in and living out a faith journey in a multi-faith world,” according to a UCM bulletin.

It sponsors programs for students, including service projects, workshops, social networking, learning opportunities and other activities. It also reaches out to faculty and staff of the schools and the community.

“In the past 70 years, hundreds of students … have bonded at Wednesday night suppers, worship experiences in the Chapel, off-site canoe trips, and in wielding hammer or broom for Habitat for Humanity,” the bulletin stated.

On Sunday, UCM  leaders, students and other supporters celebrated the past 70 years through “A Moveable Feast” of celebration, which included a service, reception and special dinner.

The feast’s first stop was the Centenary United Methodist Church for a service, which included prayers, song, Scripture reading and speeches.

Keynote speaker The Rev. Dr. Brian K. White of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Carmel urged the attendees  to celebrate the past 70 years and look toward the future.

“We’re also here to commit to what will happen,” White said. “We’re also here to commit to the next generation.”

White, who received a degree in music education from Indiana State University, was also a former member of the UCM board and former senior pastor of the United Methodist Temple in Terre Haute.

After sharing memories from his student days at ISU and his experiences with UCM, White also spoke a message of hope. He said that even though UCM faces some challenges, including finances and “relating to a generation that has a different mindset,” he is optimistic that God will provide a way for the center to overcome those challenges.

“We are called to be optimistic,” he said.

After the service, the feast moved to the UCM center near the church for a reception. As they enjoyed the appetizers, the guests were invited to explore the space where students study, eat and converse about faith and life.

Afterward, organizers planned to move the feast to the Great Hall at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for the dinner, followed by a program, “Looking Backward, Looking Ahead,” featuring center vignettes. The vignettes were created by former students and others, organizers said.

One student, Davonte Crooks, shared his first encounters with UCM and, particularly, Campus Minister Dr. Joni Clark. They made him feel important and treated him like family, he said.

Upon talking to those involved with UCM, “I knew then that it was something I wanted to be a part of,” he said.

UCM was a place he would want to take his kids back one day, he added.

And when that day comes, UCM may still be around continuing its journey.

Also during the service, the Rev. Jack Diel, UCM campus minister for about 30 years and now minister of the Seelyville United Methodist Church, recalled several significant events sponsored by UCM during his tenure and spoke about the relationship between higher education and churches.

“The college years are one of those times in life when young adults are making critical decisions” about different aspects of their lives, he said. “And the Christian voice needs to be in the mix in those decisions.”

“Campus Ministries has been an extremely important part of that voice and will continue to be in the years to come,” he said. “Godspeed to all of us as we continue the journey.”

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or

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