By Ashton Smith, Assistant Faith Editor
Every other Thursday at The Ritz in downtown Shawnee, students gather together to worship. However, the event isn’t just for the students of OBU, the Shawnee community is invited to this bi-weekly gathering.
“Every Canterbury different students lead worship, making it a varied, special event,” Emily Wall, a junior who is part of the Canterbury team, said. “No Canterbury is ever the same, so it is a joyful, genuine atmosphere of worship. I love that it is off campus because it feels like a very intentional gathering of believers; there is no chapel credit, there is not campus recognition, but it is a coming together of students who want to worship our God.”
Although Canterbury isn’t exclusively for OBU students, it does cater to the particular audience of college students. When the semester begins to hit hard, students can take a step back to refocus their minds during this event.
“Canterbury is a ministry that was created with the sole purpose of establishing a time for students to get away and have an intimate time of worship,” Noah Graves, a sophomore also on the Canterbury team, said. “In the midst of classes, clubs, sports, relationships, and much more, it seems easy to get stressed or overwhelmed; therefore, Canterbury takes you off-campus to which you can remember the grace of our Creator and to give Him glory.”
Canterbury also has special, fun events for the attendees, to help draw in more students to the community. Whether it be for a holiday or just prayer for the nations, there is no shortage to what is offered at Canterbury.
“This Valentine’s Day, there is a Canterbury, so come celebrate the best kind of love, the eternal kind from Christ, with us this Valentine’s Day,” Wall said. “Closer to summer, we will do a commissioning Canterbury for those who are serving the Lord internationally or in different ministries this summer. You can see our Canterbury schedule on the OBU calendar if you want to look ahead at the dates this semester.”
One of the most unique aspects about Canterbury is that it is led by the students of OBU. Through this, students can become more connected to the school and to the community that is created through the event.
“There is a team who prays through and asks different students to lead worship sets,” Wall said. “Typically, sophomores/juniors lead in the fall and freshmen/seniors lead in the spring. If a freshman is interested in leading, he or she can email Emily Wall or Caleb Newton to at least get that communication started.”
What it boils down to is that Canterbury is simply a gathering of Christ-lovers who want to give praise and worship to God in any way possible. By simply coming to one of the gatherings or getting more involved with the Canterbury team, one can help this initiative move forward.
“Canterbury hopes to accomplish the same goal every time… give praise and honor unto the Lord,” Graves said.” In the future, we would love to see an impact this event has on the community of Shawnee, especially since it is located in one of the highest-poverty-rated areas in all of Oklahoma.”