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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

“God is Still Speaking” United Church of Christ

Made up of predominantly first-years, this group places a lot of emphasis on community outreach in their worship. Every other week they travel to Plymouth United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa to take communion and participate in the Saturday evening worship.

“They have a Saturday night service which is, um, very chill,” Jake Joseph ’11 said. “It sort of has a bluegrass feel. Think of it as the Indigo Girls service.”

Following the service, they make a point to go out to dinner as a group, making a point to sample everything from Thai to Mexican during their biweekly excursions to the big city.

Between trips to Des Moines, the group worships at the Grinnell Congregational Church at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays.

“The group has been a presence for bringing energy into that church,” Joseph said.

The group is very proud of their ability to connect with communities outside of the college. Part of the program is that each student receives a local UCC host family with whom they form greater bonds through the church and activities outside of the church.

“At Grinnell it’s too easy to get in the bubble … with this, I know people in other communities both in Des Moines and Grinnell,” said Addle Crane ’14.

“The host family idea, whoever came up with that, nice job,” said Izzy Leo ’14.

“It allows us to meet different people outside our age group and our station in life,” Rachel Kirk ’14 said.

The tight-knit group meets to plan events and coordinate rides to Des Moines quarterly. All members serve as co-leaders and distribute the responsibility evenly. They have held several baking nights and are planning a bonfire in May at a local church member’s house.

This denomination (UCC) is historically linked to the college – its founders were all church leaders in what were then called Congregationalist churches. In fact, self-governance is a remnant of that original theological background.

“Each church actually self-governs, they run more by a code or an ethic than by this is what you must do,” Joseph said.

“It is a little more liberal and progressive than other denominations,” Crane said.

Most of the members are first years, with the exception of Joseph, and at least three acknowledged that the New Student Orientation religion seminar guided them towards this group.

“I went to the NSO religion meeting and Jake talked there, and I was like ‘I want to meet this guy,’” Crane said.

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