Church attendance dwindles, keeps going through summer

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LifePoint Community Church

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While religious organizations such as H2O and CRU serve many students during the school year, their congregation dwindles during the summer months.

Because of this, both the location and atmosphere of services change during the summer.

While H2O’s services stay the same, they host less people than during the school year, Bryan Wiles, a pastor at H2O, said.

“For us, it doesn’t change what we do, but it does slow things down,” he said.

With this shortage of students, Wiles said the congregation draws from more than just the University.

People in the community come to the church, such as young families who attended the University.

“Pre-students” come during their orientation at the University as well, Wiles said.

The congregation often consists of older students during the summer as well, Wiles said. Freshmen and sophomores usually don’t stay around during the summer, he said, so much of the summer congregation is made up of juniors and seniors.

Senior Dani Smith likes the fact that there are less people because it allows her to get closer to people at church.

“There’s less people, obviously, but you’re more closely connected to people,” she said.

While many students leave during the summer, Wiles said the staff at H2O serves throughout the year.

“Thankfully for us, we have staff that are here year round,” he said.

During the summer, H2O is not able to use the Union ballroom for its services, so it must look to places off campus. This year, it’s using LifePoint Community Church.

Wiles said it’s a smaller, but more intimate space than the ballroom. He also likes the permanence of the church. When H2O does services in the ballroom, they have to put up and tear down the things they use. Wiles said they don’t have to worry about that with the church at LifePoint.

Smith said she thinks the church is better for the summer because the ballroom would be too big for the amount of people who attend in the summer.

H2O intern Julia Manolukas said H2O has contributed to the church by making it a backdrop for the stage.

Manolukas said she likes the church as well.

“I really like it. It’s fun to go from the ballroom to the church,” she said. “[The church] blessed us by letting us use it.”

While H2O staff member Shawn Salada likes the church, he thinks the Union is the best place for H2O.

“Just as a church we’ll always prefer the Union because we exist to serve students,” he said.