Million Voices aims to offer unique worship experience

Voices aimed to change TCU’s perception of worship echoed in the Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium Sunday night.

Megan Davidson, campus minister for the TCU Wesley Foundation, said those involved with Million Voices — a new spiritual and social justice oriented worship service — hoped to become a permanent part of TCU’s community, both as an event and a movement.

Davidson said she came to TCU two years ago and immediately recognized most religious gatherings were denominational.

“I want to gather a whole bunch of people together who all have unique voices and create a community who love and serve God,” Davidson said.

Joy Roberson, pastor for college and young adult ministries, said Million Voices was the combined efforts of the TCU Wesley Foundation, University United Methodist Church and White’s Chapel United Methodist Church. Leaders from these organizations concentrated on creating a unique experience for students seeking to worship on TCU’s campus, Roberson said.

Roberson said she had worked with college students in a religious context for 12 years, and in her experience an open environment was the best environment.

“We decided to incorporate multiple traditions,” Roberson said. “Local churches of the same denomination should not compete on campus but reach out to students in different ways.”

During the worship service the Rev. Jason Hamilton, senior pastor at University UMC, discussed problems and circumstances encountered by most college students.

“We wanted something that was deeply rooted in mission,” Hamilton said. “So everything that we do here ties back to mission or social justice. Every week we’ll take an offering that will go specifically to a cause that has a felt need in the community.”

Alix Vail, a freshman secondary education major, said she attended and enjoyed Sunday night’s service.

“I thought the pastor created an identifiable message that relates to situations in our everyday lives,” Vail said.

Roberson said Million Voices has two main objectives: to create a religious safe space, free of commitment, and to link faith with social activism. In line with these objectives, collection at Million Voices aimed to be as transparent as possible.

In addition to a collection for specific causes, Million Voices also practices a “reverse” collection.

Davidson said, “TCU Wesley contributes one dollar for every person in attendance. The money is then contributed to someone in need within our community.”

Thirty-two people attended Sunday’s service and $32 went to a local cause discussed during the service, she said.

Davidson, Roberson and Hamilton said they were unique leaders with one goal in common: to avoid the typical church service.

Hamilton said, “This is an opportunity to come on campus and show what faith can be when you remove all the extra baggage and the layers surrounding it. We’re doing a stripped-down, non-religious version of church.”