RENEW! welcomes all

Jasper Dewitt II, Staff Writer

RENEW! is a Christian student organization that focuses on the study of faith through word, song, fellowship and brotherly love.

RENEW! got its name from Romans 12:2, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” During meetings they hold Bible studies and practical discussions about how to apply biblical concepts to their everyday lives. RENEW!’s adviser, Elaine Baldwin of the Mass Communication Department, also an ordained reverend, serves as facilitator.

RENEW! originated as a result of a student delivering a speech in Baldwin’s Basics of Oral Communications class in fall 2009. During the speech the student expressed some personal challenges, and he later reached out to Baldwin to discuss the religious issues that he was struggling with.

Encouraged by his conversation with her, the student discussed his problems with another student who was also a Christian struggling with similar issues. Eventually they told other students who also wanted to engage in and expand the discussions.

Due to the growing interest, it became evident that the group needed to become an official student organization so that they could meet in accordance with university policies.

In November of 2009 RENEW! was officially sanctioned by Student Affairs, and the next spring RENEW! started meeting weekly.

“I love RENEW!. When I attend the meetings I feel real love that I have not found in other student organizations,” Chiquetta McClary said.

With a new semester underway, RENEW! met for the first time on Tuesday, August 31 and is moving forward with planning for the new year. They are also gearing up for an April 2011 event called The Worship Experience. The exact date, time and place will be announced in upcoming months.

The first annual Worship Experience last spring included students singing, dancing, and giving testimonies of how their lives were touched by RENEW!.

O’Neal Simpson not only danced in mime, but he also shared his RENEW! experience.

“When I joined RENEW! I felt like I had a purpose,” Simpson said. “They always had my back, and I never was looked down on.”

The Worship Experience was led by Music Director, Minister Kim Mack, and also featured psalmists and musicians from local ministries.

Former Miss South Carolina Shelly Bryson King ministered in song.

“What a true blessing it is to witness college students praising God and telling others about the goodness of the Lord,” King said.

Byron Bostic, the president of RENEW! expressed his thoughts on the success of the group.

“I am humbled by our collective eagerness to learn and apply biblical truth,” Bostic said. “We have truly developed into a community of friends where we encourage one another to excellence, whether in our college life or in our life beyond the college campus.”

RENEW! meets every Tuesday in Leatherman Science Facility (LSF) 104 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Students are encouraged to come at any time and stay for as long as they like.

RENEW! is open to all students, and anyone who is interested in joining can attend a meeting or find more information on the group’s facebook page.