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College of the Church??

forgottenmuch987forgottenmuch987 Registered User Posts: 176 Junior Member
edited November 2008 in Saint Olaf College
I've read over and over again that St. Olaf is a College of the Church. I'm a nondenominational Christian, and I just worry about finding a religious group that I can fit into.

How involved in the church are most students? Will you find plenty of other Christian denomination groups besides Catholics and Lutherans? What percentage of students go to daily chapel? Is religion heavily involved in the classes?

Thanks a lot!
Post edited by forgottenmuch987 on

Replies to: College of the Church??

  • John2698John2698 Registered User Posts: 383 Member
    There is a student-run (Lutheran) congregation, but most students are not involved. I would not say there are "plenty" of other denominations on a campus of 3000 students, but you can easily find a religious group you can fit into, either on campus or in Northfield itself. Probably 5% goes to chapel regularly. It usually consists of student or faculty speakers, guest speakers, or special music. It does help build community on campus. Religion does not affect classes at all, except of course in the Religion Department, where a couple of courses are required to graduate, but even in that department there are a variety of courses. For example, you could take a Bible class, but also a class on a world religion.
  • OleWannabe88OleWannabe88 Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
    From a current student's perspective:

    Forgottenmuch, As a current student, you'll actually probably be in the majority at St. Olaf if you consider yourself a non-denominational Christian, and will find plenty of opportunities to meet people with similar views. There are several small group bible studies run through St. Olaf's chapter of InterVarsity, (as well as some individually organized by students) and they don't slant towards Lutheranism at all. Most of the kids in the one I attended last year didn't associate with Lutheranism. We had a Catholic, a Methodist, a Mennonite, a Lutheran (me!) and several non-denominationalists. There is also a large group Bible Study that meets once a week that has more of a non-denominational feel as well, though of course everyone is welcome.

    A LOT of kids attend church off campus, the majority going to one of two non-denominational churches in the town of Northfield. There are buses that take you there, and I know a lot of kids who have found their "group" through this church experience.

    As far as daily religious life, John2698 is right that most kids don't attend chapel regularly, but most go at least sometimes, depending on if a favorite prof is speaking or a musical organization is performing. However, I do disagree with his statement that religion does not affect classes. Professors don't actively go out of their way to discuss religion in classes outside the religion department, but you can bet that conversations about faith and religious toleration will come up in your classes from time to time. And at St. Olaf, most people will agree that they are not attacked for their beliefs and are generally respected for their religion. It's really a nurturing community where you can come to your own conclusions about how to fit religion into your life.

    Hope I've been some help, feel free to ask other questions!
  • morvorenmorvoren Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    My son visited St. Olaf in September and loved it, and he is an atheist and from New York. Could not be more different than a lot of the kids, and yet he found it a warm, welcoming place for a lot of different people. The young student who took him to lunch was Catholic and said she felt totally at home, although she had worried about it in the beginning. My sense is that a lot of people go to chapel and a lot don't. My son thought it was the most friendly place he visited and it is among the top three on his list.
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