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Being Christian at Carleton

Fátima shares some of her favorite Christian events on campus.

Fátima shares some of her favorite Christian events on campus.

Carleton had its beginnings as a Christian college. Then, in 1964 it dropped its religious worship requirement and Christian associations. This was a move in favor of a more religiously diverse and inclusive community. Even though Carleton is now a secular college, each year about 60% of the student body claims some religious affiliation. In 2008, about 38% of the Carleton community reported affiliation to some branch of Christianity.

Vesak Celebration, May 2017
Carleton provides spaces for every religious tradition to be celebrated.

This is a significant statistic, However, as a Christian incoming first-year student I was wary of not finding the non-denominational Christian support that I had in high school. Soon after I arrived on campus, I discovered that there is a thriving Christian community at Carleton and in Northfield. I was immediately excited to explore it.

Fellowship in Christ

Fellowship in Christ (or FC, for short) is a student-run organization that brings together believers and seekers from all backgrounds. They organize all sorts of activities with the aim of learning together what it means to love God, celebrate the cultural, political, theological, and other differences that make up our community, and provide a safe space for us to experience and grow in our faith.

Through FC I have met some of the most wonderful people I now have the pleasure of calling friends. FC is one of the most nationally and ethnically diverse communities I form a part of. This is something I dearly appreciate as an international student. Notably, FC is also an incredibly welcoming one! I have never felt like I don’t belong at any of their events, even when I show up without knowing anyone in advance.

My Bible and Fellowship Folder
I got my first Bible in English!

Though FC organizes a variety of events throughout the year, I will share with you some of my favorites.

Fellowship for Christian Athletes

FCA for short (yep, we do love our acronyms) started out in the 80s as a group of Christian varsity athletes meeting once a week. While it remains popular amongst varsity and intramural athletes, FCA now welcomes all Christians. Athletes and non-athletes meet once a week to read the Bible and pray together.

I have attended FCA since winter term and, let me tell you, it remains one of the highlights of my week. The people I have met have taught me a lot. They have helped me immensely as I navigate the college campus in my faith.

FC Retreat

FC members playing in the Fairfield Inn's pool..
We got to use the pool during our retreat!

Every year, FC organizes an overnight retreat the weekend before the mid-term break. This year, thanks to the Student Activities Office, we got to stay at the Fairfield Inn in Northfield. We left campus on Friday after dinner, and spent the night playing all sorts of games. These included Jeopardy to scattergories and more!

We stayed up late chatting, making s’mores, and spending quality time together. It was an amazing way to kick off my midterm break, make new friends, and bond with those I already knew.

Friday Fondue

Douglas House, more commonly known as the FISH House (Fellowship in the Son’s Hope) is Carleton’s Christian Interest House. The house usually hosts all sorts of activities in partnership with FC. One of their most popular ones is Friday Fondue. On Friday nights, FISH is known for making delicious chocolate fondue. People are invited over to eat, commune with each other, and wind down after the week.

I have been able to attend one or two of these fondue nights and would highly recommend it. I even met one of my best friends through FISH while we were completing a puzzle with other people!

The Chapel

Mustard Seed members in front of the Chapel.
Mustard Seed’s talent is just breathtaking.

FC works very closely with the Chapel to organize more activities and special events than I could fit in this article. Regardless of your denomination, there is bound to be a group or tradition that aligns with your interests and schedule. Feeling like music? Attend Mustard Seed’s worship service! Are you part of the LGBTQIA+ community? Queer in Faith is here for you! There is undoubtedly something for every Christian out there.

Fátima strives to learn everything about everything, but is especially interested in Sociology/AnthropologyPsychology, and Disney! As a freshman, she can’t wait to introduce her peers to her native Guatemalan culture, put into practice her newly acquired ASL skills, and play in the snow for the first time. In her free time, Fátima can be found watching cartoons, poorly playing the ukulele, or desperately missing her dog, Cosmo. Meet the other bloggers!