While celebrating the weekend’s Homecoming festivities, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) also celebrated its 65th anniversary on campus.
BCM hosts weekly worship services, small group study and service trips. It is “a safe place for those searching for hope, meaning and love,” Director and Chaplain Matt Wofford said.
When the university allotted land for religious services on campus in 1949, BCM took the opportunity to construct a facility for the organization.
That facility has been used regularly for meetings, services, recreation and study. By participating in the Florida Baptist Convention’s “Cooperative Program,” which takes donations from Florida churches in order to operate, BCM has been able to fund staff and programming.
Since becoming active on campus, the organization has aimed to build an inviting environment for every student.
“We are open to all students, despite belief or background,” Wofford said. “We like to say, ‘All are welcome,’ and we really mean that.”
To celebrate its presence on campus, BCM scheduled various homecoming weekend activities, beginning with an alumni reception Thursday. The organization also invited its alumni to participate in the Homecoming parade and activities, and to tailgate at Sun Life Stadium Sunday before watching the game together as a group.
Celebrating 65 years on campus has allowed BCM’s community to look back on how those involved have touched lives.
“In preparing to welcome alumni, I had to dig up old photo albums, letters and other memorabilia,” Wofford said. “With that search I saw faces of students who were involved over the years … the common thread was that they all were a part of 65 years of putting themselves, their time and their focus into perspective with what really mattered.”
A large part of BCM’s presence on campus consists of its outreach. This includes finals study breaks, free snow cones in the Breezeway, and serving free coffee and donuts with the Chaplains Association on campus. The group also participated in Hurricanes Help the Hometown during homecoming.
To make a difference for national and international issues, BCM partners with local churches to run projects like Operation Christmas Child, which sends shoe boxes filled with goods to children around the world for Christmas. The organization also plans service trips during spring break to a destination in Florida and one during the summer to South America.
Wofford said he looks forward to continuing the organization’s impact on campus as current and future students keep leaving a legacy.
“Having the celebration during Homecoming weekend gave us, as an organization, a great opportunity to invite alumni back to celebrate as well as involve our current students in seeing how they can work toward leaving a legacy on campus,” he said.