Dr. Reverend Marcus Allen of Mount Zion Church recounted when he first moved to Madison, the 2016 incident at Camp Randall when someone came to a game dressed as Barack Obama while wrapped in a noose. After the incident, Dr. Rev Marcus Allen talked to the members of his congregation who had connections with the campus and asked them: what could they do as a church? They decided to bring church to the campus. This is how they got to October 2018, two years later, hosting their first Relevant Campus Worship Service.

After the planning, alongside Impact Badger Campus Coach Kesha Wilkinson, the Campus Worship Service hosted its first service with a room filled with students and members of Mount Zion Church. The Mount Zion Praise Team graced the crowd with worship songs and were followed by the University Gospel Choir who shared a few selections.  

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Then Pastor Allen brought a relevant sermon about the transitions of life. The sermon had many heartfelt moments, a lot of truth and a lot of “Amen Pastor”’s from the crowd. What else can you expect from a Black church?

Wilkinson shared how these worship services are so important because they are the first, no other church has created such a space for Black students here at UW-Madison. “I am excited for another space for Black students to gather, in addition to Impact Badger, to worship,” Wilkinson expressed.

The people at Mount Zion also cooked a meal for the students who attended, which aids in the extended vision for the worship service according to Allen. “We want to provide a place where African American students can see the Black people in the community,” said Allen. “We want to have worship and be a connection outside the campus.”

The service resonated with the students that attended. Samaria Bruce, a sophomore at UW-Madison shared, “As Black students on campus, it is good to have another Black organization as a source of support and encouragement.”

Samone Hall, also a sophomore at UW, expressed how she is not an extremely religious person and did not plan on coming to the service but with the encouragement of friends she found herself in a seat. She plans on coming back.

The Relevant Campus worship service with Reverend Marcus Allen is only getting started. They will meet every first Mondays at The Upper House at 6 p.m. and a home-cooked dinner will be provided. The next one will be November 5.

Pastor Allen said the goal is for people to come to these services and engage with the Church and the Black community. He concluded, “Our ultimate goal is for people to come to Jesus, that is the number one because that is who we are we are Christian.”

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