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MCCC’s InterVarsity Club Creates Space for Student Healing

11/13/18


Rev. Anthony Gilmer, pastor of spiritual development at the Central Baptist Church in Ewing, NJ, spoke on the mission of bringing peace to one's community on Nov. 1.

WEST WINDSOR – Amidst the racial, social and political unrest in the United States, Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) InterVarsity Christian Fellowship opened its arms to an interdenominational group of students looking for peace.

The Fellowship’s Healing and Reconciliation Gathering, held on Thursday Nov. 1 in the Student Center, featured Rev. Anthony Gilmer, who led a conversation centered on the renunciation of “hatred, violence and divisiveness.” Gilmer is a pastor of spiritual development at the Central Baptist Church in Ewing, NJ.

Among the 50 students, faculty and staff in attendance was campus minister and InterVarsity coordinator Dale Young. Also in attendance was MCCC Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. L. Diane Campbell, who gave the opening address.

Drawing from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Campbell professed that while revolutions in technology and the sciences have led many to believe that “it is the best of times,” widespread intolerance and civil atrocities tip the scale closer to “the worst of times.”

Resonating with the event’s goal of encouraging students to be proactive in their world, Campbell said, “Somehow, it’s going to take all of us to shift the kinds of things that are going on in the world today and remember that we have to love one another.”

Gilmer supported that message as he organized the discussion around the group’s emotional temperature. Students acknowledged that they have felt fear, anger and distress in light of recent events, including the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on Oct. 27 that took the lives of 11 Jewish men and women.

“Spending the time to come and have lunch here says a lot about you,” Gilmer said. “Because you want to be in community with people who are able to share how they feel about certain things,” citing that many of the world’s atrocities stem from such an inability.

Gilmer added, “When these feelings become your steering wheel, then we begin to make decisions based on our emotions, and sometimes our emotions can go to the extremes.”

Rather, Gilmer drew an analogy while encouraging students to become agents of societal change by harnessing emotional energy in the right ways. “We don’t need to be thermometers,” Gilmer said, “which read the temperature. We need to be thermostats, with the ability to change the temperature.”

Students interested in joining the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship or learning about its upcoming programs can reach out to campus minister Dale Young here.

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