Life of the Spirit

Eyes close.

Hands rise.

Bodies sway, as voices lift in song.

At the front of the small auditorium, two young women lead the informal chorus, accompanied by young men on acoustic guitars.

The 20-some members of the Pacific Christian Fellowship will spend this Wednesday evening as they spend most: singing songs of praise, praying together and discussing the Bible.

They’ll get together at other times of the week, too, in men’s and women’s small group meetings, for service projects, and in casual weekend activities. On Sunday, many will attend the neighborhood house church known as Refuge of Christ, which grew out of the student club.

In between, they’ll go to class, eat and gossip about the latest episode of Downton Abbey, like the rest of their peers.

There’s a common perception that faith takes a backseat in the years of late adolescent, particularly for students on college campuses. But that’s not really true, according to research. One seven-year study by UCLA, for example, found that while participation in religious ritual may decline in college, spirituality increases as students look for their place in a larger community.

This past summer, Pacific University opened its Center for Peace & Spirituality, in part to support students in that search.

Mar. 13, 2013