Jubilee Conference 2014 – by Albert Mhangami

March 26th, 2014

On the 14 of February I went with a team of students from Messiah College to the Jubilee Conference for 2014. Our team went under the guidance of Mr. Scott Hwang, and was made up of a pretty diverse group of students. Our little van carried in it a world of English, African, Jamaican, and American ideas joined together in the hopes of learning something new. These hopes were pretty high, and understandably so. The prospect of going to a conference which aimed to get representatives of Christian students living and learning in separate communities all over the USA to come and worship and learn together, even for a few days was way too good to pass up. So good in fact, that we were willing to give up our valentine’s day for a six hour drive to Pittsburg.

When we arrived we immediately noticed the dedication of the CCO, as they had gone to great lengths to provide amazing housing and facilities to address the huge mob of students. We stayed at the Westin Hotel Pittsburg and our rooms were but a staircase away from the seminars and conference events. The days were broken up into three main sections, morning seminars, afternoon worship, afternoon seminars and finally evening worship. There were numerous seminars and describing the detail alone of the brilliant subject matter, would take a rather stocky book’s worth of pages. We were frantically racing to and fro, trying to hear talks and discussions on faith and college, law and the moral conflicts of modern day slavery, economics and much more. The speakers were notable members of their different realms of influence, from professors, to chaplains, to think tank staff from Mars chocolate company. The wisdom they poured out in the little time they had gave you little time to reflect and left you wanting to ask more, to probe deeper into the logic of how they had come to the conclusions they had. At the end of most sessions I found myself reading over what I had jotted down and being rather embarrassed by the amount of times “Oh that’s what they meant”, came out of my mouth.

The worship was brilliant and you couldn’t help feeding off of the energy of the band and the swarm of jumping students surrounding you. Much to my entertainment Mr. Hwang found himself as hyped as we were and burst out dancing on one occasion. After worship the entire auditorium would sit down and after being advertised numerous books to buy (which I can’t decide whether it was a positive or negative addition to the main service) we would hear brilliant ideas, sermons and testimonies of how “Everything Mattered”. The phrase “Everything matters” was plastered everywhere and was the theme of the entire conference. Although the phrase seems extremely vague it was amazing how it was quite the opposite. The core of the conference was to bring all schools of thought, all realms of interest and all vocations and hobbies to the realization that whatever their function in society they mattered. The speakers elegantly tied together how whatever we found ourselves with the ability to do better than most people, or whatever we found ourselves loving to do; that was an outlet for ministry and a stronghold for our Christian influence on society.

What an amazing truth that “Everything matters”. I left the conference with a great sense of accomplishment and am glad that I had the opportunity to go. I gained a lot from this conference and was pretty impressed how the speakers and organizers managed to reach out to scholar and athlete alike. One speaker Mr. Andy Crouch found a way to place scientists and musicians on the same boat, tying the brilliance of Bach to the complexity of physics. It was amazing to say he least and an adventure worth its weight in gold. I hope to attend next year, and am confident my colleagues share the same sentiments.

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