Students meet weekly to socialize and share beliefs.
By Luke Riela, Staff Writer -- email@example.com
Walking into the Wednesday night Fish gathering, one may be surprised to see groups of people chatting, not about the Bible, but about their classes and their high school senior pranks.
This casual socializing that precedes the singing and Bible study at every weekly Fish gathering is not merely something to do before the meeting begins. It is an essential part of the congregation.
Fish is a non-denominational Christian fellowship whose name originates from Matthew 4:19 in which Jesus says "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Fish strives to answer that call by creating a supportive community at UP.
According to sophomore Mathew Hill, Corrado Hall's Bible study leader, the Fish gatherings are focused on forming a tight-knit community of attendees. The people attend meetings to share their thoughts and learn from one another. Sophomore Jamie Hall emphasized how friendly and inviting everyone was.
"Not very often can you get into a group where you feel comfortable talking about your religion," Hall said.
The socializing starts at 8:45 every Wednesday night in Buckley Center 163. At 9 p.m., the group of 30 to 40 people joins in song and then the biblical discussion begins. The group is currently focusing on passages from the book of Matthew. In these discussions, they do not only talk about religion, but they also investigate it by inquiring about the text. The gathering is open to people of all faiths interested in exploring Christianity. Hill wants people to be able to communicate and support their beliefs, whatever they may be.
"One of the biggest things we do in Fish is question what we believe," Hill said.
In the Fish gathering, participants learn about religion and personal faith from hearing others' opinions and voicing their own.
After the discussion comes to an end, the gathering concludes with the singing of hymns.
Even after the weekly meetings, the 13 Fish leaders still have tasks to complete, from managing Fish's finances to heading a dorm Bible study. However, when it comes to the Bible studies held weekly in nearly every hall on campus, everybody gets a chance to lead.
Junior Kam McHenry, Christie Hall's Bible study leader, pointed out that there is no hierarchy in the conversation. The abbreviation for Christie Hall's Bible study, after all, is CHUBS because "U are in the middle," reflecting the mindset of Fish in general.
"It's a comfortable, mature group," McHenry said.
Like the attendees of the Wednesday Fish gathering, the guys at the Bible study became accustomed to simply talking for the first 30 minutes of the meeting. The Bible study offers a more personal way to "delve deeper into the faith," as McHenry put it.
Fish also hosts activities that don't focus on religion, such as volleyball games and free ice cream socials throughout the year. The most popular activities are the dodgeball tournaments, with the next one scheduled for Nov. 5.
"It is good to surround yourself in a sort of fellowship," Hall said.