As the co-founder of two ministry groups that aim to make religion accessible to all people, Jordan Zepher ’14 will leave quite a legacy at Campbell. And the lessons from Campbell she’ll take with her? That even doubt can strengthen faith.
Jordan Zepher came to Campbell University knowing that it housed a community she wanted to be part of. As a recent graduate with a degree in religion, she’ll leave behind a legacy for both Campbell’s student culture and the community as a whole.
She, for example, helped start SHINE, the first female-led campus student ministry group at Campbell, which focused on service and ministry and oriented around building relationships, objective accountability, and faith through actions.
In addition, she was a team member for the White House Interfaith Service Challenge and spent a summer as an intern at Love Wins Ministries, an organization that supports poor and homeless residents in Raleigh. She also coordinated events to raise awareness on campus and in the community about the issue of human trafficking.
Plus, Zepher was one of the founding members of G-Force, a student led interfaith and social justice club on campus. Its mission is to welcome and include students of other faiths and denominations, as well as to invite the community to participate in their events. “God loves these people because they’re human,” Zepher said. “We’re small, but we’re making a difference.”
For these activities, the North Carolina Campus Compact, an association of colleges and universities committed to fostering campus-community engagement, recognized Zepher with its 2013 Community Impact Student Award, which honors outstanding students who are making a difference in their communities.
For Zepher, she said her primary focus has been on finding ways to make religion accessible to all people. G-Force, for instance, is one step toward that goal. “God is love,” she said. “And as Christians, that should be our number one aspect to communicate to others.”
These experiences and activities have helped Zepher figure “out why my faith means something. I figured out what I want to do and what I want to add to the world.”
At Campbell, she added, “God has been evident in my faith journey here, as well as my life in general. I’m so thankful for my professors and for the people here who have both pushed me and challenged me to do things I never thought I would do.”
One memorable example takes the form of an encounter with Ken Vandergriff, one of the professors in the religion department. “I remember being so upset and lost and I was questioning the claims I’ve held for all my life,” she said. “He told me that most people have doubts and wrestle with the Bible if they’re lucky.”
The assurance that having doubts ultimately strengthen faith made all the difference to Zepher. She’s never forgotten the conversation. “I know with all confidence that I am a Christian,” she said.
She’ll carry this confidence with her as she takes her next steps and attends Boston University’s seminary program. “Campbell has been what it needed to be for the four years I was here,” she said. “I feel that my encounters here with both faculty and students have prepared me for seminary, but also my life in the world.” —Rachel Davis, with material adapted from an earlier press release about the N.C. Campus Compact award