New future in store for the Religious Life Center


Image: Sarah Pounds

Students gather at the Christian Organization Welcome (COW) Party for a time of worship and fellowship. Photo creds Sarah Pounds

Sarah Pounds, News Editor

The COW party is hard to describe.

“We are not religious rush,” Mercer University’s Dean of Chapel Craig McMahan said, dismissing any similarities between the party and Greek recruitment.

There were a lot of freshman in the room though, and the hope is that these ministries can become like families and support systems for both new and old students.

The COW party — or Christian Organization Welcome party — at its core is a crash course in religious life on campus. A representative from each organization shares a little bit about their group, including when and where they meet. Then the microphone passes to the next person, until all of the campus ministries have been spoken for.

There is a message. There is music. There is fellowship.

The COW party has been happening in the RLC for “about 15 or 16 years,” Chris Fuller said. Fuller is the minister for the Baptist Collegiate Ministry and his organization meets in the Religious Life Center every Thursday night.

This cross-shaped structure is also where the All God’s Anointed People Evangelizing (AGAPE) group meets every Monday.

But in the future, the COW Party might not happen in the RLC. The building may not even be called the same name.

McMahan said that there are plans in place to repurpose the RLC. He didn’t specify what those plans entail but confirmed that there is a major change coming.

“We’re working with the administration, and they’ve been very cooperative in terms of trying to find us a place that’s going to be suitable (and) that will support the activities and ministries that we have,” McMahan said.

He said that he doesn’t know the time frame for the project.

“I think everybody wants to see religious life land in a good spot, and so, if you’re a family, and you have three bedrooms, and all of the sudden you have a third child, that’s a good thing. But somebody’s got to squeeze together a little bit. So we’re just looking at how to do that well in a way that provides some new work here on campus but also doesn’t in any way diminish the work of the campus ministries,” he said.

When asked what sort of program or work was coming to the facility, McMahan didn’t specify.

“It is my understanding that it will be a completely different kind of thing going on in here. And that, I really don’t have enough information to say what that is,” he said

“We are not at a point where we are ready to announce repurposing of the Religious Life Center. There are still discussions going on about the future use of that building, as well as potential new locations for Religious Life Center programs, should they be relocated. The bottom line is that plans have not been finalized, so it would be premature to talk about what may or may not change,” said Larry Brumley, vice president of marketing and communications .