A joyful Jubilee 2010

Singing songs of worship with people from around the country may not sound like the typical weekend for a college student, but that’s how the members of Allegheny Christian Outreach (ACO) spent theirs at the Jubilee Christian Conference in Pittsburgh last weekend.

Sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO), a ministry organization on campus, Jubilee is an event that students of ACO look forward to each year. It is a retreat designed to help students grow in their Christian faith, complete with three days of praising, singing and simply having fun with other students of faith.

This year, 2,500 students from around the country attended the conference.

On Friday, Feb. 19, over 40 students left Allegheny and traveled by bus to Pittsburgh, 16 of whom had never been to the retreat before.

Other attendees, according to ACO members, were impressed by the large showing from such a small liberal arts school.

Students stayed in the Westin Hotel and ventured to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for times of worship.

An eclectic mix of speakers lectured at the weekend seminar, ranging from writer and comedian Susan Isaacs, to Hope International President Peter Greer to Chris Klein, the founder of Clay Vessel, Inc., a Christian ministry.

ACO Advisor Mollie Little spoke about the importance of the messages preached at the conference.

“If we go to Jubilee just to have a good time, it doesn’t matter a whole lot,” Little said. “We have to process what we learn.”

Students from ACO, who were eager to talk about their weekend, said that they got more than laughs out of the seminar.

Becky Saylor, ’12, enjoyed practicing her faith with other students.

“It was cool because there were people from all different places but we were singing the same songs and praising the same God.”

A few students explained how they were particularly affected by the speakers during the main sessions, which occured in the convention center.

“Susan Isaacs talked about how God is with us even when we’re not riding a high,”  said Sam Schulz, ’11. “We can talk to him when we fail and when we succeed.”

Others were likewise impacted by the smaller, breakout sessions in which students could follow a particular lecturer that interested them. Casey Harvey, ’10, commented on how she benefitted from one of these smaller sessions.

“Chris Klein was really cool to hear because even though he had cerebral palsy, he gave his speech with the help of a machine and you could tell he was very smart,” Harvey said.

Little also felt impacted by Klein’s strength in his disability.

“We often think about what people can and can’t do, but his speech really opened our minds,” she said.

Others were motivated to attend sessions which they were unfamiliar with, yet wanted to learn more about.

Jessi Schatz, ’12, spoke about her experience attending a seminar about the environment.

“It wasn’t a subject I knew much about, but I figured ‘why not?’” she said. “I branched out of my comfort zone and now I know how to help the environment.”

Along with providing students new, positive experiences, the conference helped students put things in perspective.

Risa Nakajima, ’11, explained how Jubilee set her priorities straight.

“I need to remind myself he’s in control, sometimes I forget in the midst of schoolwork and stuff,” she said. “I’m excited to be back to do things for God.”

For more information on Jubilee, visit jubileeconference.com.

Meetings for Allegheny Christian Outreach are held every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in Ford Chapel.