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Denominations vary at Baylor

March 27, 1997

Kevin Johnson / The Baylor Lariat

Kent Hodskins, a Friendswood junior, plays guitar for the Campus OutReach Equipping group Wednesday in the Bill Daniel Student Center. Hodskins is a CORE coordinator.

By Chad Jackson

Lariat Reporter

Easter is right around the corner, and University students and faculty will celebrate this time in different ways. Though the University is a Baptist school, the campus has a wide variety of religions and Christian denominations.

What reaction do students have to the University's Baptist affiliation?

When Lindley Stigall, a Memphis, Tenn., junior who is Presbyterian, decided to attend the University, she did not realize the importance of denomination there. 'I didn't know there would be so many Baptists,' she said.

Stigall said that the number of Baptists surprised her when she arrived her freshman year. She said Baptists talk more about their faith than Presbyterians. She said this made her feel uncomfortable in her early experiences at the University.

'I felt Baptists were excluding because there are so many at Baylor,' Stigall said about her first impressions. 'They relate different to each other.'

Stigall's impressions changed since her freshman year. She found a church that made her feel comfortable. Meadowbrook Baptist changed Stigall's perspective that Baptists are exclusive.

Mary MacHutta, a Dallas sophomore who is Catholic, said that people do not understand Catholics. This is unusual for her because she attended Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade and was accustomed to the majority of her classmates holding the same beliefs.

MacHutta said people usually ask questions about her faith during Lent.

'Students don't know enough about [the Catholic faith] and make assumptions,' she said.

MacHutta said that she does not feel uncomfortable at the University, despite these misunderstandings.

Dr. Stanley Campbell, a history professor who is Baptist, said most of the students on campus probably do not think about the denominational distinction. 'I hope I live in the real world and in the real world it doesn't make a whole lot of difference,' he said.

There is a good variety of denominations on campus, Campbell said. 'I feel that the diversity is good.'

Gavin Black, an Arlington junior who is Baptist, said, 'I haven't noticed a lot of tension.'

He said that being at a Baptist school gives a lot of opportunities for Christian involvement. The activities are not exclusive to Baptists, though, he said.

There is significant emphasis on religion at the University, said Brian Rodecap, a Decorah, Iowa, junior who is Lutheran.

'Baylor presented a different feel ­one I've never felt before,' Rodecap said. The public school Rodecap grew up in had much more diversity than Baylor, he said.

Rodecap said he feels uncomfortable sometimes, but he does not let it bother him. 'I just try and accept it as something that happens.'

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