RLC branches out


by Andrew Goodell

Religious Life Counsel is working to foster spiritual growth oncampus through their established worship services, as well asseveral new programs.

Lectio Divina is one new RLC program. It is based on an ancientpractice in which a person reads one piece of Bible scripture to agroup four or five times. Between each recitation there isreflective silence.

According to the Chaplain and Director of RLC, the Rev. AngelaGafford, the purpose of Lectio Divina is to provide a meditativespiritual tool for students.

“We wanted to provide a still and quiet environment …listening for what God may be saying to you in the scripture,”Gafford said.

Student Chaplain of Outreach junior Jess Bowen said that LectioDivina was initiated by RLC because all the other worship servicesare held in the evening. This is a way for RLC to accommodatestudents who aren’t able to attend evening services or just needsome peace of mind in the middle of the week.

“It’s more of a reflective service,” Bowen said.

Although it isn’t a new worship opportunity at Simpson, SundayNight Mass has increased in popularity.

“We don’t fit in the Small Chapel anymore,” said Chaplain andDirector of Church Relations, the Rev. Christopher Waddle.

This year, Simpson’s Catholic worship service has the benefit ofconsistency. The Rev. Jim Kirby from Dowling Catholic High Schoolin West Des Moines leads each week’s mass.

RLC is also finding success in the service groups they areassociated with. These groups include The Breakfast Club, ShalomZone and Habitat for Humanity. They provide a variety of volunteerservices from increased child literacy to homes for the lessfortunate.

Students who are involved in these RLC-related groups go toTrinity United Methodist Church and Gatchel United MethodistChurch, among other locations, to volunteer in the Des Moinesarea.

“Students really enjoy being able to offer help and get offcampus,” Gafford said.

According to Bowen, there is no specific target audience thatRLC looks to involve in their activities.

“Really, all the groups are continuing to evolve and change tomeet the needs of the campus,” Bowen said. “We want to havesomething that appeals to everyone.”

Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of studentsinvolved with RLC are Christians, the organization has an open-doorpolicy.

“It’s for those who would claim religious life or experience asan interest,” Gafford said. “It’s not necessary to identifyyourself with any particular religion to participate. All arewelcome.”