The Campus Christian Center (CCC) develops and organizes programs and ministries to help students, faculty and staff of Berea College fulfill the historic purpose of the College. That purpose is to “promote the cause of Christ.” An explanation of this is in its mission-statement: The Great Commitments of Berea College.
The Campus Christian Center helps the College fulfill all eight of its Great Commitments. Yet, it focuses especially on fulfilling the third great commitment. That is: “To stimulate understanding of the Christian faith and its many expressions and to emphasize the Christian ethic and the motive of service to others.”
In 2002, the College adopted a statement entitled The Christian Identity of Berea College. In this, the College specified its understanding of the Christian heritage that shaped the school’s historic purpose and informs its contemporary mission. This statement on the College’s Christian identity provides the criteria by which the 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 CCC shapes its programs around an interpretation of “the cause of Christ.” This emerges from the heart of the Christian Gospel as understood by the founder of the College, John G. Fee: the two-fold divine claim on humans to love God with their entire selves and to love their neighbors as themselves (Matthew 22:37-40).
On the basis of findings from a departmental self-study in 2000, the CCC proposed a vision. The College approved the vision statement, A Collaborative Vision for the Campus Christian Center in the 21st Century, in the fall semester of 2001. The vision aims to install various dimensions of its mission and develop strategies by which to include the vision. This statement contains several goals that elaborate the major dimensions of the department’s broader mission. The following points summarize the key features of these:
- 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 and
- Engender interfaith education, conversation and engagement.
In this collaborative vision of its mission, the Center functions as a catalyst in the work of Berea College. It leads the College to envision, articulate and actualize its institutional commitment to promote the school’s distinctive interpretation of the cause of Christ. Although having a central office next to Danforth Chapel in the Draper Building, the CCC identifies itself with program more than place. The Center collaborates with many other departments, centers and student organizations on campus. It 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.