CSTN 0100: Introduction to Interfellowship
by Cornerstone Online
Welcome to CSTN 0100: Introduction to Interfellowship Groups!
The Cornerstone Online staff conducted interviews with current students in interfellowship groups at Brown. Our hope is that this will act as a glimpse into the various communities here for all students looking to join interfellowship communities on campus. Feel free to navigate around the map and click on the names of groups to learn more about them - through a student's eyes. We look forward to seeing you around!!
Illustration by Claire Lin '23
When Joseph Delamerced, Cornerstone’s Managing Editor, started his freshman year at Brown, he “felt that the Christian [he] was at that moment just wasn’t up to par with everyone else” and that “[his] own [spiritual] growth was minimal.” For him, participation in Cornerstone has spurred a reversal, making him bolder in his faith. He attributes this to the magazine’s outward focus and supportive community.
Every Sunday from 8:30 to 10:00 pm, members of the magazine meet in Page Robinson room 401. Entering staff are met with warm smiles and genial conversation. When everyone has settled into their seats, the meeting begins with a prayer. Afterwards, the team heads straight to work, passionately planning, writing, and editing essays that will be published in the magazine’s biannual print and weekly online editions.
Passionately, because for every member, discussing art and writing together gives them a special joy and community, things they also find participating in other Christian fellowships on campus. Irrespective of their experience level, each member is encouraged to create artistic work that edifies the Glory of God, growing with their fellow staffers in the process.
But this growth isn’t limited to staff. Indeed, the core of Cornerstone’s mission is to spread this growth to the wider Brown community, publishing creative and analytical pieces that help believers make sense of their spiritual journeys and direct unbelievers to a fulfilled life with Christ. To do this, the magazine has made connecting with the community very easy.
At the bottom of their website (www.brownrisdcornerstone.com) is a simple subscribe form that allows readers to get information about the magazine via email. New members who wish to join can simply attend weekly meetings and fill out a staff form. Everyone on staff would encourage those interested to do so because it can be the seed for anyone’s personal growth.
I’m stopped in my tracks at the steps of Page Robinson.
“Hey! I’m Shirley,” mentioned someone walking through the glass doors of the building, “are you here for Veritas?”
Puzzled, I inquired about the interfellowship. “The Veritas team gathers because we believe in our mission of bringing the Christian faith in conversation with other worldviews, especially on hot topics that can be difficult but important to talk about.”
She explained how Veritas is a nation-wide organization that invites experts, professors, and theologians to have interactive discussions about Christianity and its relationship to the world, whether that is science, politics, or philosophy.
The format of Veritas is really casual too. “Just all of us sit together and discuss plans for events/initiatives. We run very much like a typical club, nothing “religious” about how we gather except we always pray out of our meetings.”
Yet, I can sense Veritas is more than just a club.
“I think God is at work in our group through the people he brings to us,” she continued. “Whether it be our members or mentors, each person has their own gifts and experiences which help us in our discussions and decision making. God has this thing of bringing new and different perspectives to me - I see that as his gift to me and a sign that he is working in my life, so that’s why I see Veritas as a gift from him.”
While Veritas is not a fellowship, she revealed that members of the group are also part of at least one campus fellowship. “Developing and having a community of believers is greatly edifying and also comforting for us as we walk through college together.”
Since many of my friends I’ve made at Brown do not identify as Christian, I asked her what she would say to an unbeliever on the edge of faith.
“I’d honestly say there’s nothing to lose! And everything to gain. I’ll be unoriginal here and quote Blaise Pascal, a legendary mathematician. ‘Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.’
Of course, this is not really the most prudent way of looking at faith, but after having no faith until about 5 years ago, I agree that so far I truly have lost nothing and gained so much (not materially, but through the way God calls me to live - I have never felt so fulfilled and connected to my life).”
She gave me the Veritas email: email@example.com, welcoming any lingering questions and sincerely looking forward to spreading the Word through Veritas. I don’t know when I’ll see them again, maybe not until they have decided on their meeting time for the semester. But hopefully I’ll catch them around when they do.
In the upper hall of Manning Chapel, gospel music echoes off lofted ceilings and into the Quiet Green. Joon Nam is one of the singers of Harmonizing Grace, Brown’s only gospel choir. Joon describes the rehearsals as laid back events where they “gather to praise the Lord with music, preparing songs of faith to be performed wherever possible.” At rehearsals, they pray together and rehearse songs, building community and relationships through music. Specifically with music, Joon sees the simple act of singing as almost an instinctual activity that can bring us closer to ourselves, people who are “made in the image of Christ”. Not only that, Joon says it also feels like “God is always there to receive our worship and empower us to move forward. “Not only does it draw us closer to who we were created to be, making music together also strengthens communities. Joon says that he has met “many people through HG that have inspired [him] to become a better person, and I've learned how to praise God in many more diverse ways.”
To Joon, joining a campus fellowship is important because in the hustle and bustle of college life, “it is easy to forget Christ”. Making a routine that involves God and keeps you rooted in your faith is one of Joon’s top priorities at college. Joonn says faith is like a “permanent, everlasting, restorative source of energy that sticks with you”.
Reach out to Joon (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get in touch with Harmonizing Grace! Joon asked me to pass along that they “accept all singers of all levels and we'd love to have you with us!”
Disclaimer (10/14/2021): This piece provides insight into Christian groups that were registered with Brown SAO at the time of publication