Asbury Outreach Coalition Serves in Community
WILMORE, Ky. — In the kitchen, a group of Asbury University students dished and served a hot meal for homeless guests, packing them sandwiches to go. In the fellowship hall, an Asbury team led worship, and an Asbury student shared a sermon. Throughout the afternoon, Asbury students sat down with members of the homeless community in Lexington, Ky., to hear their stories and to share their own.
With Asbury students leading everything from meal preparation to worship, Feb. 12 was “Asbury Day” at Church Under the Bridge, a ministry to Lexington’s homeless community. For a core group of students, though, it was also an ordinary Sunday — part of their weekly commitment to share the love of God. View photo gallery below!
Students volunteering with Church Under the Bridge are part of the Asbury Outreach Coalition (AOC), a student-led umbrella group that coordinates ministry and service throughout Central Kentucky. This semester, AOC includes five student-led groups that serve on a weekly basis and one that serves monthly:
- Church Under the Bridge — Students prepare and serve meals, lead worship and fellowship with Lexington’s homeless community.
- Bluegrass Youth for Christ — Students lead discipleship groups with middle and high school students in Lexington schools.
- Eastern State Hospital — Serving a psychiatric hospital, students share snacks and fellowship with a different hospital unit each week.
- Thompson-Hood Veterans Center — Students fellowship with residents at a care facility for U.S. Armed Forces veterans, located in Wilmore.
- Wilmore Elementary Lunch Buddies — Students share a weekly lunch with elementary students who have been identified as needing extra attention from a positive adult.
- Kentucky Refuge for Women — Open to female students only, this ministry meets once per month, sharing meals and fellowship with women coming out of human trafficking or sexual exploitation.
Mobilizing student groups to give back to the community, AOC carries on a long tradition of service at Asbury. Through evangelism, humanitarian work, education and much more, Asbury has always been a launching point for students who want to make a difference. Kaylyn Moran ’05, staff advisor for AOC, says service is the natural overflow of Asbury’s identity as a Christian university in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.
“Service is an integral part of living a holiness life,” Moran said. “For a lot of students, as they discover the theology of Asbury, it becomes a natural overflow of their growing faith. Service has always been part of the culture at Asbury, and it’s something that unites us all.”
Morgan Callen ’20, leader of the student group serving at Church Under the Bridge, says serving has been an outstanding way to participate in Asbury’s community, to make new friends and to share the love of God. Serving is a learning experience, as well. Callen says volunteering isn’t just about what students can give — it’s also about recognizing the image of God in others.
“We feed the homeless, but it’s a lot more than that,” Callen said. “It’s a chance to build relationships with people we wouldn’t otherwise get to know. There’s a guy that I talk to when I go there every week, and I’ve realized that our friends aren’t limited to those who are like us.”