The Scripture of Scranton (SOS) club introduced a new way to honor God at The University this week. The club held its first Praise and Worship session of the year Oct. 17 in Moskovitz Theater.
The Praise and Worship meetings are non-denominational and consist of prayer, song and reflection. The group first gathers either in Moskowitz or the Sacred Heart Chapel. Sophomore Grant Owens and senior Carlyn Ball act as worship leaders and guide the group in an opening prayer. A full band consisting of three guitarists, a percussionist and two vocalists then plays three contemporary worship songs, such as those by artists Chris Tomlin, MercyMe and Hillsong.
Everyone in attendance is encouraged to participate in song. Eric Cross, sophomore and president of SOS, said the group was cautious at first.
“Everyone started out timid,” Cross said, “but then enthusiasm built as the night went on.”
A leader next reads a reflection that is relevant to the students’ experiences of the week — for example, the first session’s reflection related to the stress of midterms.
A spiritual reading follows the reflection. The band then performs three more songs. Praise and Worship concludes with a closing prayer.
The idea for a praise and worship program at The University came together last semester through the collaborative efforts of several interested students. Senior Emily Giannelli mentioned the idea in an SOS meeting, then brought it to Rev. Rick Malloy. Coincidentally, Owens approached Campus Ministry at the same time with a similar idea.
A small group consisting of Owens, Ball, Giannelli, Cross and several other members of SOS met in Sacred Heart Chapel for several weeks to hold worship sessions, work out organizational kinks and create an itinerary for weekly meetings.
Praise and Worship has become an official program run alongside SOS. About 20 people attended the Oct. 17 meeting, which is nearly three times the number of participants from last year.
“We’re much more organized. We know where we want this to go and I really think it’s heading in that direction,” Cross said.
Cross hopes that in the future more people will see the Praise and Worship meetings as a way of praising and growing closer to God in an exultant and jubilant manner. He believes students at The University can receive a lot of enrichment if they are willing to abandon their insecurities about this form of worship.
“I feel like a lot of people are afraid to try, either because they are afraid of where they are in their faith journeys, or of expressing their faith in this way,” Cross said, “but if they do give it a try, they will be very satisfied and happily surprised by it.”
Sophomore Christine Molitoris attended the most recent Praise and Worship meeting for the first time, and called it “a break from the stress of the week.”
“It’s a way to praise God through not only prayer, but song,” Molitoris said. “I could really feel the connection between the members of the group.”
Praise and Worship is held from 9 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. every Thursday in Moskovitz Theater or The Sacred Heart Chapel. Email Eric Cross at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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