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Student Climbing Rock Wall at Cal U - NewsStudent Climbing Rock Wall at Cal U - News


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Posted on September 2, 2010

The new academic year began with a sweet tradition.

During the opening days of the fall semester, more than 800 dozen cookies, baked and donated by members of 17 area churches, were distributed in the Natali Student Center by STAND, Students Taking a New Direction.

STAND is an inter-denominational campus ministry with a membership of between 80 and 110 students each year. It is led by minister Pete Ware, who is sponsored by the Coalition for Christian Outreach and the United Campus Ministry Council.

This was the fourth consecutive school year that began with free cookies.

"The neat thing about this from the local churches' perspective is they're not just making cookies," said Ware, who is in his third year at Cal U. "I know those in the churches pray for the students and faculty as they are making the cookies, so there's something deeper to this then just baking."

The appetizing tradition was started by missionaries Greg McKim and his wife, Debbie. McKim is pastor of Crossroads Community Church in California, which holds Sunday morning services at Coffee Connections, a coffeehouse on Third Street in the borough.

Among the many people McKim singled out for their assistance with the project was Cal U's Dr. Dan Engstrom, associate dean in the College of Education and Human Services.

Ware emphasized that the cookies are served with no pressure to join the group. He also noted that Cal U's Campus Ministry has added another professional minister, Rebecca Verly.

"This is a place to help students grow and explore their Christianity," Ware said. 

"We want students to have a Christian faith and to think about the school's core values," Ware said, "what it means to be a good citizen, a person of integrity and character."

Starting the new school year by handing out free cookies has become a community endeavor, McKim said. "A lot of churches are involved, and it has morphed into something bigger, which is what we wanted to happen."