By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~
For any Xavier students finding it difficult to find a Protestant community on campus, the group Common Ground is welcoming new members to join in on its events this semester. “I really enjoy having a community I can relate to in the Protestant respect,” Student worker Allison McAloon said. “I really like it for the aspect of more than just showing up to this specific time on Sunday and forgetting about it the rest of the week.”
Common Ground has been a part of Xavier’s campus for three years. This semester, the members of Common Ground have centered their meetings on the theme: Who do you say I am? “This is a more internal approach, where we ask our members to think more about their faith than just in terms of Jesus. We really want them to think about it for themselves and we hope this challenges those students who have been to church all their lives to really consider what their faith means to them,” Rev. Abby King-Kaiser, assistant director for the Center for Faith & Justice (CFJ), said.
To celebrate the theme, Xavier president Fr. Michael Graham will preach this Sunday on who Jesus is and who people say he is. This service will begin at 8 p.m. in the Clock Tower Lounge. He will discuss the passage from Mark where Jesus asks his disciples “Who do you say I am?” New and old members are all welcome to the service to hear Graham speak.
“I think that is a very big question to ask ourselves,” McAloon said. “It is very important that we can define Jesus in our own context rather than be told who he is. It’s a personal experience, and I’m excited to hear Graham share his.” In addition to Graham’s sermon, Common Ground has also been able to incorporate more music into its group through the Gospel Choir and a band.
“The Gospel Choir sings pretty regularly now at our events. We also have a band that plays involving whatever students here at Xavier wish to sing at our services,” King-Kaiser said. “I really think that most people experience worship differently, but music is a central thing that everyone can come away from and say that they drew close to God from it,” McAloon said.
Common Ground will also hold an event to discuss the death penalty and Pope Francis’ view on this national debate. Death row exoneree Joe D’Ambrosio, Alice Gerdeman and Andrea Koverman will be at the event to answer any student’s questions about the death plenty in an open panel, and to inform students how they can work towards abolishing it. Also on Oct. 20, Common Ground will hold a Post Grad and Year of Service Fair. All students are welcome to attend to ask questions and to explore the multiple possibilities they have once they graduate from Xavier.
For more information on Common Ground, students can follow @xucommonground on instagram, or like the CFJ on Facebook. All students are welcome and encouraged to attend Common Ground and experience its events.