Chi Alpha’s annual Fall Advance

Chi Alpha had their annual Fall Advance overnight event on Friday, September 20 through Saturday, September 21, 2019.   
Fall Advance is an opportunity for all members of Chi Alpha (as well as those not of membership, but still interested) to come learn about the Christian faith and build a community based on the foundations of that faith. Throughout the Fall Advance (named so instead of “retreat,” as the event is meant to represent moving forward with beliefs) there are games, live music worship, and opportunities to learn over the course of the two-day schedule. 
Fall Advance has grown substantially. In fact, several universities brought the total participating colleges to 5, including a new branch from Frostburg University. Other universities represented were West Virginia University, Fairmont State University, Buffalo State College, and Queens College. 
West Virginia University student Emily Lehr commented on the constancy of Fall Advance stating, “This is my third Fall Advance, and I come because community is important and it’s nice to spend a weekend to recharge and rest with people who believe the same things that I do.” 
For most of the event, the students were placed in their Life Groups or Small Groups – these are the groups of students that regularly meet and study the Bible together on/around campus. Fall Advance is used as a bonding opportunity for those who are part of a pre-existing group, as well as an opportunity for those who are not, to connect with groups.  
Throughout the weekend, different sermons, also known as “Breakouts,” were given by guest speakers that spoke on a range of topics.  
In the Breakouts, the speakers equated following Christ to the everyday routines most college students participate in. This was demonstrated by Matt Carpenter’s sermon series “What’s in your wallet?” and his Breakout example of how following Christ is like preparing a cup of coffee. Carpenter also used many other examples of life experiences to illustrate how faith and religious practices can be relatable.

Some of the staff agreed. For instance, this year’s director of Chi Alpha, Charlie Rosser, indicated that the most important part of Chi Alpha is sharing the experience of following Christ in a way that people will relate to and remember.

Students were provided the opportunity to be baptized or re-baptized. Both are a practice some consider to be a life-changing moment for everyone involved. Fairmont State University students Jon-Michael Dennis and Aaron Schafer both cited it as their favorite part of Fall Advance. Jon-Michael Dennis stated, “As a spectator this year, my favorite part of Fall Advance was being reignited with the power of Christ and watching everyone get baptized.” As a participant, Aaron Schafer stated, “My favorite part was being baptized.”

Another Fairmont State University student, Laura Morris, emphasized the personal benefits of attending the Fall Advance by stating, “I think my favorite part was listening to all the different speakers and learning new things about Jesus and about how I can get closer to Him.”
Charlie Rosser explained a primary objective of Fall Advance as being a “cool experience with the Lord” that students can include in their daily lives.
 If you’re interested in joining Chi-Alpha and want to learn more about the organization, speak to a member/representative. Many of them can be found in the courtyard between Wallman Hall and the Turley Center or at Trinity Assembly of God Church each Thursday. Be sure to note that Chi-Alpha’s Winter Retreat is approaching soon!