Newman club seeks dialog between Catholics, Protestants

Unity as defined in Ephesians 4:3-6: “Striving to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace…” is the calling card of the Newman Club here at Eastern University.

Named after Cardinal John Henry Newman, this group strives for unity between Catholics and Protestants and to have Catholic students come together and worship.

“I enjoy having a chance to grow deeper in my own faith and to be able to share that with others,” sophomore Shawn Machia, one of the founding members of the club, said.

According to junior Bethany Musser, another founding member of the club, the idea of the Newman Club was raised among the Catholic group on campus last semester.

The club could not be formed last semester because SGA was out of session at the time.

On September 7, 2005, their first meeting was held. The club began with, and still has, a core group of seven members, according to Musser.

Five of these members were involved in the club’s founding.

These founding members are Kimberly Depatie, Shawn Machia, Anja Eltgroth, Bethany Musser and Jonathan Barker.

The group does not yet have established leaders. Instead, the group practices “communal leadership,” according to Musser.

One of the Newman Club’s purposes is “to prepare a place on the campus for Catholics to come and deepen their faith and understanding,” Musser said.

A second purpose of the club is “to provide a place for ecumenical dialogue,” Machia said.

This is a productive aspect of the club, according to senior Anja Eltgroth.

“A 15-minute conversation sometimes can clear up something someone thought the Catholic church taught,” she said.

Helping other Christians understand Catholicism also leads to providing a place “to grow and understand more about Catholicism,” Musser said.

On September 11, the Newman Club took action on this ecumenical purpose by having a prayer vigil.

“We wanted to have Christians, both Catholics and Protestants praying together,” Musser said.

The club holds two meetings a week. On Sunday at 3, they hold a prayer service. Every Wednesday at eight thirty, they hold a study group of various Catholic doctrines, according to several club members.

Eastern University is a community of people of diverse backgrounds and various denominations. The Newman Club is here to serve as a source of knowledge and understanding of Catholicism. “It’s about growing closer together as Christians and in doing so growing closer to Christ,” Eltgroth said.

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