The Willis D. Weatherford, Jr. Campus Christian Center

Mission and Vision of the Campus Christian Center

Mission

The Campus Christian Center develops and organizes programs and ministries to help the students, faculty, and staff of Berea College fulfill the historic purpose of the College, “to promote the cause of Christ,” through a liberal-arts collegiate education, which Berea College affirms and elaborates in its mission-statement: The Great Commitments of Berea College. The College has formulated four pairs of learning goals, by which it seeks to fulfill its academic mission, in the strategic plan that it adopted in 1996: Being and Becoming: Berea College in the 21st Century.

  • Develop the critical intellectual ability to address complex problems from multiple perspectives and nurture moral growth with a commitment to service;
  • Understand the relationship between humans and the natural world and consider both the benefits and limitations of science and technology;
  • Explore our individual roots and our shared American culture and know and respect cultures from around the world; and
  • Educate students, faculty, and staff to be creative, independent thinkers and encourage collaboration and teamwork in learning and working.

Because the Campus Christian Center serves the larger educational mission of Berea College, the Center fulfills its emphasis on the spiritual life of the academic community by developing programs in terms of these four pairs of learning goals.

While the Campus Christian Center helps the College to fulfill all eight Great Commitments that constitute the school’s mission, the Center especially leads the College in fulfilling the third great commitment: “To stimulate understanding of the Christian faith and its many expressions and to emphasize the Christian ethic and the motive of service to others.” With this commission, the Campus Christian Center represents the most obvious sign or tangible expression of this third great commitment of the College.

In 2002, the College adopted a statement entitled The Christian Identity of Berea College, in which the College specifies its understanding of the Christian heritage that shaped the school’s historic purpose and informs the school’s contemporary mission. This statement on the College’s Christian identity provides the criteria by which the Campus Christian Center officially defines its identity as Christian, measures the Christian character of its programs and ministries on campus, and interprets the meaning of the College’s historic purpose of promoting “the cause of Christ.” In this respect, the Campus Christian Center orients its programs around an interpretation of “the cause of Christ” that emerges from the heart of the Christian Gospel, as understood by the founder of the College, John G. Fee: the twofold divine claim on humans to love God with their entire selves and to love their neighbors as themselves (Matthew 22:37-40).

Vision

On the basis of findings from a departmental self-study in 2000, in an effort to envision the various dimensions of its mission and to develop strategies by which to implement that vision, the Campus Christian Center proposed a vision-statement, entitled A Collaborative Vision for the Campus Christian Center in the 21st Century, which the College approved and the Center adopted in the fall semester of 2001. This statement contains several goals that elaborate the major dimensions of the department’s broader mission, the key features of which the following points summarize:

  • Educate about the role of Christian faith in an academic context
  • Provide pastoral presence for all members of the academic community
  • Witness to the content of the Christian Gospel, advocating and practicing a service-oriented interpretation of Christian faith
  • Lead the College in appropriate forms of Christian worship
  • Provide a prophetic voice for the unique vision of Berea College
  • Develop and nurture an ecumenical Christian atmosphere
  • Engender interfaith education, conversation, and engagement

In this collaborative vision of its mission, the Campus Christian Center functions as a catalyst in the work of Berea College, leading the College to envision, articulate, and actualize its institutional commitment to promote the school’s distinctive interpretation of the cause of Christ. In terms of this function, although having a central office adjacent to Danforth Chapel in the Draper Building, the Campus Christian Center primarily identifies itself with program more than place. The Center intentionally collaborates with numerous other departments, centers, and student organizations on campus, building bridges through partnerships in programming, activities, and projects, to develop a vital network of interdependent programs and interests on the campus. The Center works to engender a pattern of labor, learning, and service that addresses the needs of all persons in the Berea College community: those who come from many different Christian communities, those who have commitments to other religious traditions or communities, and those who do not express commitments to any religious community or tradition.

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