Bradynn Belcher, reporter

Morgan Whitley, editor

MOUNT BERRY, Ga.- Common Worship, a Christian group at Berry College, offers students a space for worship, fellowship and rest.

Common Worship is a student-led worship organization that began in 2017. The group meets on Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. in a different location each week. President of Common Worship, Sarah Kate “SK” Smith, says that the organization exists to give students an opportunity to worship God with each other outside of Sunday mornings at church.

“Common offers a space to enter into the presence of God outside of a Sunday,” Smith said. “We exist to glorify God through worship and story sharing. We really focus on rest, simplicity, community, prayer and authenticity.”

Dr. Jonathan Parker is the faculty advisor for the organization, but he says that his only role is to support the students and act as a liaison between Common Worship and Berry College.

“My role as the faculty advisor is to support the group and their relationship with the university, but I don’t do any of the directing of the services or processes that they do,” Dr. Parker said. “It is incredible to me that the students can do so much on a Thursday night and I’m the only adult that is there to help them, and I do nothing.”

The Common Worship leadership team is comprised of seven members that refer to themselves as “The Table.” Each Table member takes on a different role to coordinate service efforts. All member’s roles vary from overseeing set up, music, location, small groups and coordinating speakers.

Sophomore Hayden Brackett is a member of The Table. He was asked to join at the end of his freshman year after he showed an interest in becoming more involved with Common Worship. He is now in charge of setting up the service and taking everything down on Thursday nights.

Brackett describes The Table selection as an intimate process to ensure that the people who make it to the table have the same goals as the rest of the members in growing Common Worship. 

“We try to make sure that people who end up on The Table are people that we want to be there and that they have the same vision and want to serve God,” Brackett said. “It is a pretty intimate process.”

To become a Table member, an existing member will nominate someone based on their continued involvement and willingness to serve in Common Worship. The Table will then undergo an informal interview process with the prospective member until the group decides whether to add the potential member to the team.

“[They are] incredibly hardworking and servant hearted,” Dr. Parker said. “In Christianity, one of the things we talk about is if you love one another, then serve one another. I think our leaders really exemplify that.”

Students who are not on The Table but still want to be involved can play worship music, participate in small groups, be guest speakers, and help with set up and tear down on Thursday nights. One large part of The Table’s job is to pick a place to have service on Thursday nights. The group meets in a new location every Thursday, and Smith says that this is beneficial because it not only allows different groups of people to come each week, but also makes these places special.

“I think on a very practical level, it enables different people to come each week,” Smith said.  “Being in different locations and being able to worship in a space where I also have other activities throughout the week really reinforces God’s presence in those places throughout the week.”

Brackett says that changing locations gives him another aspect to look forward to each week.

“Changing locations every week keeps places really special,” Brackett said. “I personally really look forward to certain locations. It keeps places fresh.”

Common Worship meets every Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Students do not need to sign up to join.

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