Bible Study Group
Most people see Saturday nights in college as a chance to kick back and party, but for a small group of devoted students, it’s a chance to express their faith.
Every Saturday night from 6-7 p.m., the SFUAD Bible Study Group club meets in the Southwest Annex for reflection and discussion on the Holy Bible.
The club, which has existed for approximately a semester, gives students a chance to practice their faith in a safe and considerate environment with like-minded artists and individuals.
“It was a joint venture with a group of us, starting this club,” says Chimezie Onuoha, the club president. “It’s about your relationship with God and not what we approve of or what we think it should be…it’s more about you and God.”
The club tries to be understanding and accommodating of people’s busy schedules, so the number of members fluctuates a bit. This evening, there are five.
“Numbers aren’t the most important thing, it’s more about the people who show up,” says Onuoha.
The evening begins with a solemn prayer led by Onuoha, thanking the Lord for the previous week and for keeping everyone safe in the snowy weather.
The group then branches out into reading verses and discussion topics, such as judgment. Onuoha quotes specific Bible verses to kick off the conversation. Other members then contribute stories and opinions, most using their Smartphones to look up Bible passages.
Although they’ve only occasionally had non-religious individuals or people of a different faith come to the club, Onuoha says everyone is welcome.
“We welcome with open hands,” says Onuoha. “We’re not here to judge, we’re just here to create a community where you can learn about Christ. We’re just inviting you all to join us in this session of Bible study and get to know us.”
Priscila Torres, a junior film major, joined the club partly as an escape from the stresses of college life.
“It gives you a balance,” she says. “Sometimes you’re frustrated because you’re dealing with a project and just coming into Bible Study and talking about these things helps you vent your problems.”
Ty Cayatineto, a first time visiter but long time admirer of the club, is excited at the possibilities the club can open up on campus.
“I think we can make a big impact at this school and be a beacon for anybody struggling,” he says.
Although other members have said the reaction to the club on campus has been positive, Cayatineto says he’s seen some of their posters torn down.
“I’m curious to see if other world views had similar advertisements around campus if they would be treated the same,” he wonders.
Beyond the club, members see their faith as a way of expressing their art, such as through parables.
“For everyone’s art, there’s a world view to it,” says Onuoha, with Cayatineto adding that “all throughout history, the majority of artwork has been influenced by beliefs.”
Staff advisor Daisy Quezada, who is also an administrative assistant in the art department, has been happy to support the students’ initiative in creating and organizing this club.
“The students that approached me seemed extremely thrilled about bringing this to campus,” says Quezada. “I was excited; why not bring a bible study club to campus! The diversity on campus has expanded tremendously within the past few years and bringing something that could add to this growth in my eyes is wonderful, especially when it has students who are so enthused about it.”
Quezada mentions that during the College of Santa Fe days, there was a small parish on campus for students to go on Sundays and that religious aspect of the college was lost in the conversion to Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
“It’s wonderful that the students can begin to create a conversation amongst themselves to help them grow spiritually,” she says.
Before ending for the night, Onuoha asks members of the group for prayer requests for the upcoming week. People pitch in suggestions and the evening ends with another moment of prayer asking the Lord for His blessings in the upcoming week and in everyone’s endeavors.
“It’s good that we have something like this happening on campus,” says Torres, who, coming from El Salvador, likes having something that connects her to home. “It helps to be with God.”