After a week filled with school work, it was time to hold the traditional weekly prayer. It was usually the group leaders that lead the prayer, but this time a recently-admitted member was willing to open herself up.
“God I have been praying for so long and tonight I finally know that you’re here,” she said as she burst into tears on a Thursday night.
This is how the Christian Fellowship Club, or officially Cru at Pace, connects with its members as the club has transformed itself into an online organization while in-person meetings are still limited.
“It was like the holy spirit fell upon her at that moment and she just started crying,” Natasha Mora, president of the Cru at Pace University and a junior psychology major said.
The club officially began its journey in the fall semester of 2018, the exact time Mora started her Pace career. For three semesters, the organization’s name remained as The Christian Fellowship Club until it affiliated with Campus Crusade for Christ, or Cru, an international parachurch organization that aims to reach college students on campuses.
The group meets weekly on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. with its active 13 members at Pace’s Pleasantville campus. Cru welcomes those of all religious backgrounds and non-believers.
“Not even Christians literally anybody is welcome,” Mora said. “We have had Jewish people come, we have had people who don’t believe in God come.”
The members of the group gather weekly to discuss basic faith-related questions. Providing virtual slides, the group further discusses the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and the life of Jesus Christ.
“Everything that we talk about is from the Bible and our topics range from controversial questions people have or misunderstandings or just aspects of the Bible that are crucial to Christians or salvation,” Mora said.
She added that they play games and icebreaker activities to get to know each other. Members are asked if they have a special prayer request to wrap up the traditional end-of-the-week prayer.
Kessel used to be the hub of the club’s meetings. Last spring as soon as the organization became affiliated with an international Christian organization, a worldwide pandemic started, forcing Pace to send students home and move all events online.
Since then, Cru at Pace has gathered online over Zoom. Despite members and leaders having never experienced online prayer, they have taken advantage of the digital world and never skipped a meeting. They started posting on social media to let their audience know that the club continued to meet weekly. Members and leaders used their personal accounts to promote what Cru is doing.
“Honestly, it has kind of been a blessing from the skies, it has almost made it easier, not only meet but to form actual relationships with everyone in our group,” Mora stated. “It has gotten so much easier to talk to them and facetime them.”
The power of the digital world and social media has shown various benefits. People from the New York City campus, which normally has its own social clubs, began reaching out and asking if they could join.
The group’s popularity has exceeded the boundaries of Pace campuses. As the group has constantly taken advantage of social media, local communities in Westchester and White Plains have reached out to Cru, asking the group’s purpose and what they do.
During the last Easter, the Cru had a special meeting, discussing the readings about the rise of Christ from the Bible. “We decided to do an Easter special and we picked one of the passages from the Gospels,” Mora added. “So we picked the passage in the Mark, basically the meaning of Easter, what the resurrection of Christ means for Christians and means for the entire world.”
The group continues to meet online and it is not clear what the fall semester will look like. Still, Cru has had in-person meetings and activities with social distancing requirements applied. On April 23, Cru held a picnic at the Rockefeller State Park, a few-minute drive from the Pleasantville campus.