Three percent of Florida’s population is currently enrolled in college.
These young adults are in the process of making the most important decisions of their lives, including those of education, career, family, faith, and ethics. These college students and others around the planet move on to be the vast majority of world leaders. However, because of their transitional nature, many aspects of society have a difficult time reaching out to or having an impact on young adults specifically. This is where not-for-profit / mission organizations like campus ministry come into action.
Protestant Campus Ministry (PCM) at The Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne is an independent, ecumenical outreach for the Florida Tech students, employees, alumni, and greater community.
The chaplain and director of eight years is Rev. Darice KW Dawson who received her B.A. in Human Development Services from Eckerd College and Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary. Darice was ordained as a Presbyterian Church (USA) Minister in 1996 but serves all Protestant Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation.
PCM’s vision is two-fold. First, we are here to supplement the unique spiritual needs of the Florida Tech community by offering opportunities such as weekly free Monday dinners on campus served by a variety of local churches; Study / Work Breakers for university-goers to take a break by talking with the chaplain, taking with some free goodies and information, and answer the current event / ethical question of the week; Bible Studies where we are currently viewing clips from popular movies, looking at them scripturally, and discussing the implications for our lives; monthly unique worship services; variety of community service; social activities; pastoral care; student leadership; a professional, youth, and “grandparent” mentoring program; and church referrals.
Second, PCM works to partner with the Brevard Community through the goal of offering Christ as a positive option to these 5,000 students from all over our world. PCM offers to the larger community supply preaching; presentations on many diverse topics; advertising to campus local church or hospitality events; and ethical, well-rounded, intelligent students assisting with specific projects and technology as requested. Ways Brevard can get involved with PCM includes praying for our continued success, groups serving twice yearly Monday Dinners; contributing regularly to the current budget; funding a student’s international mission trip; grant writing; becoming a member of the Board of Directors; organizing fundraising events; and donating toward orientation Thrival kits.
Brevard County’s faith community faces some challenges occasionally. We are a geographically long, spread out population with various generations attempting to coexist together. PCM attempts to integrate young adults out into these other age groups, while encouraging others to reach out to campus as well. There are also many internationals in Brevard County, many of them within Florida Tech.
PCM seeks to minister to as appropriate and be hospitable to these folks from other countries, so they may feel at home in this community. Our county and Florida Tech are unique in that engineering and other technically-oriented fields are prominent. Churches and ministries have a special opportunity to reach out to those who advance creation in intellectual endeavors. Finally, parish churches and non-traditional ministries like PCM have different identities, but my hope is that we continue to grow together in the same goal of most effectively meeting the varied Christian needs of our area in Florida.
We are a growing county, and Florida Tech Protestant Campus Ministry strives to continually meet needs of our college students and well as connect with the broader community, so we may work together in maintaining and growing Brevard’s identity as a healthy, spiritual, joyful, successful place to thrive. Let us know how you would like to get involved!