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  #1  
Old 10-30-2005, 07:41 PM
hoosier hoosier is offline
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IU Frat row home to campus ministry

(This never says which GLO house they got)

Frat row home to campus ministry
Christian student group lives in former greek house
By_Jessica Levco _|_Indiana Daily Student | Wednesday, October 26, 2005

When Stephanie Michael attended IU five years ago, she lived in a residential house with her Christian Student Fellowship friends. Worship services took place in academic buildings, but professors complained their singing was too loud. When more students found out about CSF, they wanted to live in the house, too. The CSF base was growing, but there wasn't enough space for everybody.
So, Michael prayed for divine intervention.
Michael said her prayers were answered in 2002 when God opened the doors to a bankrupt fraternity house on North Jordan Avenue. This year, CSF welcomed its biggest class of 24 freshmen to its home. With advertisements on radio stations and mailings to different churches, Michael said the ministry will keep getting bigger. From being a member of the Christian Student Fellowship to an intern for the ministry, she's been able to witness how quickly the program is growing.
When she first walked into the abandoned fraternity house two years ago, Michael wondered where God was.
"It wasn't poisonous, but it felt dark," Michael said. "I could sense that bad stuff went on."
Michael led a prayer walk through the $1 million house.
"We had to ask God to purify it," Michael said. "Anything bad that happened there before, we asked it not to be present."
Various church groups helped clean up the abandoned fraternity house. They found a room with mirrors on the ceiling, a stained pool table and a coffin. Wooden doors were cracked, each heating and air conditioning room unit was destroyed, and the carpet was covered with vomit stains.
Now, four years later, greek paddles have been replaced with wooden crosses. A Bible is standard in every bedroom. In the student lounge, "Deliver Me!" is written in crayon on the window pane.
Christian Student Fellowship is a 100-member ministry. Sixty people live in the house, but the remaining 40 are still actively involved in worship services and mission trips.
Michael, a native of Nappanee, Ind., works 60 hours a week, ready to take on any task. She gives house tours to potential members, updates the Web site, and incorporates different multimedia programs into the weekly worship service. She also helps with social activities, planning Hawaiian-themed parties and coffee hours.
Since kindergarten, Michael wanted to be an archaeologist. At IU, she majored in classical civilizations and anthropology. But during October of her senior year at IU, she said God was pushing her away from graduate school.
"I knew I always wanted to do missionary work, but I thought I'd wait until I was older," Michael said. "But something told me I should start working for the Lord soon."
After she graduated in 2004, she accepted a two-year internship at the ministry. As a 23-year-old, she lives at the house and receives free room and board. Since she's constantly surrounded by her work, she sometimes takes a break at a coffee shop or drives out for an afternoon at Lake Lemon.
"Since I live there, it gets hard to separate myself from my job," Michael said. "There's always something that needs to get done, but sometimes, I just have to stop and tell myself that it can wait until tomorrow."
But while she's working, Michael always seems to be smiling.
"She has a contagious laugh," said house director Bill Kershner. "I've never met anyone so energetic. She loves spending time with people and she cares about what you have to say."
Michael focuses her attention on 34 women in the house. She leads Bible studies with small groups of women, but also gives relationship advice. Kershner said Michael strives to be a woman of God because she plans to save sex for marriage.
"Virginity is biblical and it's my gift to share with my future husband," Michael said. "There's no point in throwing it away."
When it comes to the "sex talk," Michael tells the women abstinence protects not only their bodies, but their hearts. In the CSF house, dating is allowed, but if a couple is in the same room, the door must be open.
"'How far is too far?' is the most common question I get," Michael said. "We want people to live with integrity. We don't want people to cross the kissing line -- not too many people are going to have sex with the door open."
Currently, there are six couples in the CSF house. But Michael warns the women not to be too absorbed with their boyfriends. She thinks it's important for them to figure out who they are and what they want out of the relationship.
Brooke Abram, 20, is in a five-month relationship with a fellow CSF resident.
But if she and her beau break up, she said, it wouldn't cause problems in the house.
"Well, Jesus has complete control over our relationship, anyway," Abram said. "And even if we did break up, I wouldn't want to break up the community spirit. We wouldn't be childish or hurt each other's reputation."
Besides offering relationship advice, Michael helps students deal with attending a secular school. She said Christians are discriminated against on campus and encourages students to talk to their professors if they feel as if they were a victim of a religious slur.
"IU preaches diversity and that's great," Michael said. "But some professors will make snide remarks about Christianity. If you're the only Christian in the class and you're trying to debate, you can't get a word in because everybody else gangs up on you."
Sophomore Ben Moody speculated everybody would gang up on him if he lived in the dorms. He said he would be singled out for being a Christian.
"I'd always be that one person not doing anything," Moody said. "I wouldn't watch movies with nudity. I wouldn't talk about sex."
But Molly Redfearn, a non-CSF resident and practicing Christian, said her freshman-year dorm experience didn't make her immoral.
"It's all about the choices you make in the dorms," Redfearn said. "It's not like every night someone is going to ask you to do something illegal or horrible."
Pat Connor, executive director of Residential Program Services, said students living in the CFS house are missing out on an opportunity to be exposed to students of different cultures and religions. Connor said living in a residence hall can broaden a person's perspectives.
"Taking a world view, if we believe that we want to be a society that understands each other, it can start here at IU," Connor said.
Moody said by living next to all of the fraternities and sororities on North Jordan, life never gets dull. When he rides the B Bus with greek students, he overhears conversations about weekends that didn't involve studying scripture.
"I'm only missing what I don't want to do," Moody said. "I don't want to be hung over, throwing up and making out with three different girls. These actions don't say, 'God, I love you.'"
He never rides the bus without carrying his pocket Bible.
"Without it, it's like going into battle without a sword," Moody said.
Meg Troxel, a senior at Alpha Delta Pi sorority, said the CSF residents are the best neighbors she could ask for.
"Last year, one of my sorority sisters car got trapped in a snow bank and a few guys from CSF came over and helped push it out," Troxel said. "They've even come over to our philanthropies and we go over to their cook-outs."
Since the house is located on University property, alcohol is prohibited. Though a 21-year-old is allowed to drink elsewhere, he or she can't bring alcohol into the house.
On one particular Friday evening, a group of five guys sat around a pool table and finished the final round of Iron Cross, a non-religious form of poker. While the cards were dealt by a resident who won more than $40, nobody talked about religion. But that doesn't mean it's not in the back of their minds.
"We don't drink or party because we have Christ in our lives," said Matt McCarty, a former CSF resident. "This is good enough for us."
Michael said the CSF house provides a place for Christians to grow and develop their relationships with Jesus. She said she loves her internship, but looks forward to the small group discussions. She doesn't lecture when she leads a discussion, but provides a place where residents can be open and honest about their feelings.
"What I like best is seeing the light bulb go off in their minds during a discussion," Michael said. "I like it when I get to see when a person's faith becomes real to them, not just because that's what they grew up with, but when they know why they believe in it."
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2005, 08:57 PM
HoosierPhiSig HoosierPhiSig is offline
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the house that article speaks of is Alpha Sigma Phi's old house. I've heard people say that at one point, it was the largest fraternity house in the nation.
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2005, 09:12 AM
mmcat mmcat is offline
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more power to them....it's always good to hear a success story.
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  #4  
Old 10-31-2005, 12:11 PM
LightBulb LightBulb is offline
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didn't read the whole thing, but...

Cool. There are several Christian groups that have houses around here (though there is no "fraternity row" to speak of - the houses here are roughly the same size [four or five people live in them] as they are scattered through the neighborhoods surrounding campus).

I think it's cool that they're living together in such a big place and doing bible study as well as social activities like cookouts and chillin with their sorority neighbors. Good for them. If I went to school there and didn't live in a sorority house, it sounds like a place where I'd like to live.

(Though I think it's a little much to say "I can sense that bad stuff went on"... they are, after all, friends with their neighbors on Greek row. )
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Old 10-31-2005, 12:29 PM
HoosierPhiSig HoosierPhiSig is offline
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well the thing that sucks now is that Alpha Sigs came back 2 years ago and now have nowhere to live cause their national sold the house...rush hasn't been kind to them because of it

this is the house. it goes back deceptively far. It's also on a hill, so it's alot larger than it looks in that pic.


Last edited by HoosierPhiSig; 10-31-2005 at 12:34 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-31-2005, 12:42 PM
Rudey Rudey is offline
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So are they building a commune or a monastery?

-Rudey
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