Values Education | How Chowan University Infuses Christian Faith into Everyday Life
Chowan University is known for having “Faith in your future.” Much more than a tagline, our mission is to provide an education that transforms ordinary students into extraordinary graduates. We do this in good faith and optimism for each student’s success, offering opportunities for students to encounter God in different ways, such as worship, service, missions, and art. Our faculty and staff come to Chowan to teach, advise, and engage students in the classroom, on the fields and courts of competition, and throughout extra-curricular activities. Faith in action underscores all that we do. It is not enough to teach students how to think; we teach students how to live with honor and conscience using their head, heart, and hands. The transformed lives of our students give value to what we do at Chowan University.
Even though Chowan has grown over the last 175 years, our faith still underscores all that we do. Here are a few examples of how Chowan infuses faith into our everyday campus life:
Campus Minister and Campus Ministry
Our campus minister, Rev. Mari Wiles, is in her 17th year of leadership. Campus Ministry at Chowan University is a pastoral mission that covenants to honor God and edify the University community while sharing the light and truth of God’s salvation by modeling the ethics of Jesus Christ, rendering grace-filled pastoral care and crisis management, promoting justice and unity as local and global Gospel citizens, nurturing relationships among the University family, and helping others seek, meet, and follow God.
Campus Ministry Chaplains
Chowan’s Ministry Chaplain program seeks to promote a level of Christian support for students to grow and learn in a safe environment. Student Ministry Chaplains (MCs) are in residential halls/floors with an emphasis on freshman halls to provide guidance and compassion for their residents in a pastoral presence.
Connecting Students with Local Churches
On new student check-in, Campus Ministry coordinates volunteers from local churches and organizations to serve our students and their families lunch. During this time, local churches meet and welcome our new students, which is the beginning of them finding a church in our community.
Providing Physical Space for Spiritual Life
In the last five years, Chowan has added two dedicated places of worship on campus – The Farris Prayer Room, located on the quiet lower floor of Whitaker Library, and the Cross of Christ Chapel, an outdoor chapel located on the beautiful bank of Lake Vann. In 2023 the university will open its first freestanding chapel.
Faith in the Classroom
At Chowan, we challenge students how to think and how to live with honor and conscience using their head, heart, and hands. All students take Religion 101 which is an introductory examination of major biblical texts and narratives and their interaction with such issues as history, culture, religious practice, theology, ethics, social values, etc., while also considering the different methodologies employed in the study of religion and religious texts in a liberal arts setting. Students also have the opportunity to take Chapel as a course. Designed by our campus minister, chapel offerings will provide a variety of perspectives of faith and opportunities for worship. While our offerings have changed into a variety of forms, the goal remains the same – to allow and encourage our students to grow deeper in their faith.
Chowan provides opportunities outside of the classroom for students to engage. Students lead Wednesday Night Worship as the university encourages our students to get involved beyond campus and be a part of local church worship on Sundays. There are Community Bible Studies throughout the week. There are musical groups like Chowan Gospel Choir and Daughters of the Most High, and small groups such as Team 4:13, a ministry that provides peer chaplains on our sports teams.
A Life of Service
Service is a large part of the Chowan experience. Local and national outreach gives students a chance to demonstrate kindness and concern for people in our community through initiatives like poverty alleviation and disaster relief. Our international mission trips take students, staff, and faculty to places like Cuba and South Africa for hands-on service projects like construction or children’s ministry.
Chowan Christian Service Association (CCSA)
The Chowan Christian Service Association (CCSA) provides opportunities for students to learn and serve in Jesus’ name through tuition scholarships and mission endowments. Membership in the CCSA is open to dedicated Christians who are interested in and committed to helping students fulfill their call to ministry. CCSA Scholarships are given to deserving students preparing for Christian vocational service. CCSA Missions Endowment aids Chowan Campus Ministry in funding mission experiences.
From the classroom to the courts and everywhere in between, Chowan seeks to provide a transformational experience for our students with the Christian faith as the foundation. We encourage our students to come as they are with a readiness to understand more about the incredible plans God has for them. Our prayer is that our Hawks will enter ready to learn and leave ready to serve.