Posted on 14 March 2013.
By Ali Cravens and Amanda Howard
The Dean of Chapel Office has planned a three-day prayer event at Indiana Wesleyan University. The event kicks off with a worship service, Still, from 6:30-10 p.m. on Thursday March 14. Following the service, there will be a prayer vigil ending at 8:30 a.m. Saturday March 16, when the closing prayer walk begins. All events will take place in or begin at the Chapel-Auditorium.
“I keep hearing about different organizations that are really in financial need, especially because of the economic situation,” Dr. Jim Lo, dean of the chapel, said.
In response, Sue Wampner, administrative assistant to the DOC, Kari Jenkins (jr), student chaplain for prayer ministries, and Lo, each in charge of a different days’ event respectively, combined their passions and created the three-part occasion to center around prayer for the community.
Still and the prayer vigil will have several specific prayer stations set up, one of which will be for the local organizations that will benefit from the money raised during the initiative. Those organizations are the Flannery Keal Home, the Women’s Shelter, Grace House for Recovery and Salvation Army. In addition, the events will have other prayer stations for World Hope International, the issues of human trafficking, the issues of abortion and the New Zealand Sports Ministry Blitz team, according to Wampner.
A prayer walk will immediately take place following the end of the prayer vigil.
“I think it’s a good time now, for us to do another,” Lo said.
When Lo first took on the position as dean of the chapel and he saw that different organizations had financial crises, he arranged a special prayer walk in order to support them. This occurred in 2009.
And such a time has come again.
The prayer walk begins at the Chapel-Auditorium and extends into the downtown area of Marion all the way to the Grant County Courthouse. Once at the courthouse, walkers will meet the government officials of the city as well as other students and people from other ministries from Marion, according to Kiersten Beagan (sr), Student Government Association director of ministries. Together, they’ll do a small devotional and have a worship service.
In addition to the prayer walk, an offering will take place. At the time of that first prayer walk, the DOC asked people to give $10 in support of local organizations. This time, the office is pushing for about $20 from each person.
“We’re really asking our students to – and our community – to be a little bit more sacrificial,” Lo said.
Lo also has high expectations for participation as well.
“The first time we did it we probably had around 500 join us,” Lo said. “We’re hoping now for a thousand.”
To achieve this goal, the DOC Office has asked multiple IWU organizations and groups to partner.
“One of the things as a missionary I’ve always contended is that if we’re going to do God’s work, you can’t just do it in isolation, you have to do it in community,” Lo said. “We have a wonderful community here, and we have leaders already. Why then try to reinvent something if we can just try to come along and say, ‘SGA, you’re good at this, help us in this area,’ or ‘Doulos, you’re good in this area’? So the idea really is, we want this campus to see how partnerships can really work in ministry.”
Organizations involved in helping with the prayer event are adult education, Spirit Care, the Prayer Furnace, community outreach, The Well, Love Revolution, Doulos and the IWU Athletic Department, according to Wampner.
“All of those students have kind of formed a committee or a team, so to speak, and taken on different parts of this to bring everybody together and make it happen,” Wampner said. “Plus we want that engagement of students from all different facets of the community to be involved.”
“Our goal in SGA is getting the word out to all of the senators, academic reps and class reps in order to make this prayer walk put on by the DOC Office well known so that students are more encouraged to attend,” said Beagan. “We want to make this campus a prayer-oriented campus in all we do.”
Some students already show excitement for the prayer event.
“I think prayer is a powerful tool,” said Laura Schmitz (so), “because it opens the door to communicating with God. Through that, we can learn and experience a lot from Him. I think the prayer walk will be beneficial, because it is a specific time where we are all calling out to God for ministries of Marion.”
“I feel like prayer walks are not only powerful, but they also bring everyone together to understand and really feel for what is going on around us,” Emma Stahl (so) added.
The DOC Office recognizes that IWU’s student safety is the No. 1 priority during the prayer vigil, according to Beagan. Because of this, the DOC Office has formatted the vigil to provide male students to walk female students to and from dorms from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to Wampner.