At Goshen College, Mennonites are the religious majority. There are, however, various groups of students who practice other religions, and small majority of students identify as Pentecostal.
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, Pentecostalism is a denomination of Christianity that focuses on, “individual experiences of grace, spiritual gifts (such as faith healing), expressive worship, and evangelism”.
The denomination has various core beliefs, including emotional worship, a literal interpretation of the Bible, and personal faith statements that allow the Holy Spirit to manifest within believers.
Pastors, who also act as teachers, mentors, and motivational figures, lead Pentecostal churches, but the churches often focus on congregational governance, as stated by ABC TV.
Jessica Morrin, a student at Goshen College and member of the Pentecostal faith, explains her beliefs and deters various preconceptions about the Pentecostal faith.
Q. What are some preconceived notions or assumptions about Pentecostals that are untrue?
A. There are many different kinds of Pentecostal just like in every other religion, so I can only really tell you about my church. We don’t handle snakes. We don’t swing from chandeliers. Some girls think that in order to come to my church, they have to wear skirts and not cut their hair—which isn’t true. Some people have said that women are disrespected because their thoughts aren’t heard. This is also untrue. Women are not disrespected and can make their own decisions just like anyone else.
Q. What do you value about your faith?
A. I can’t simply choose one thing I value about my faith. I value everything about my faith.
Q. Describe how your experience going to a Mennonite institution as a Pentecostal student has been for you.
A. I feel like because I go to a Mennonite institution, I am accepted more than I might be in some other places. Goshen College has many different religions in it. I think everyone just accepts that. The most I get is questions about why I wear skirts all the time and why my hair is so long.
Q. Have you enjoyed it?
A. I loving being at Goshen College because I feel so accepted by the people here.
Q. How do you feel others view/react to your faith identity?
A. I’m not really sure what other people think. I would say that they act out of curiosity. I am more than willing to answer any questions people may have as best I can. If you would like more information or clarification, my church’s web site is newlifegoshen.com. The website talks more about what we believe, and it also has some videos of the pastor on it. If you or anyone else would like to experience a service for yourself, the church address and times are 501 North Indiana Ave., Goshen, IN. 46528 at 10am and 12pm.