The academic buildings on campus are associated with students from various majors. Woodruff Hall has business students and Stafford is known for those studying education, mathematics and nursing.
But while Jeffords is known as the science building, on Sunday mornings, its auditorium becomes a sanctuary of the Lord.
Members of Faith for Life, a local church group associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, gather into Jeffords Auditorium for their weekly service.
The church group was growing and there just wasn’t enough room for them in their so-called “office,” located behind Birdseye Diner on Mechanic Street.
“I was driving around when I saw one of the university’s event signs out on the street and I thought, hmmm, the school would be a good place to move to,” said Pastor Brandon Rogers.
“We started at the office location in October of 2014 and made the move into Jeffords in June of 2015. We outgrew the building quickly,” said Rhiannon Barnett, the Collegiate Missionary for the church.
Before Faith for Life moved to Jeffords Auditorium, members knew they wanted to stay in Castleton because that’s who they’re there to reach: the community and the campus.
The church consist of 35 to 40 adults and about 10 kids, Rogers said.
“We got in touch with Lori Phillips, and she started showing us places around campus. Then we found Jeffords,” said Barnett.
Faith for Life has even been able to reach out and include students and faculty.
Before his time with Faith for Life, sophomore Ryan Mulder was used to his church back at home in Canada that consists of 500 members.
“It’s totally different, but it’s nice. It’s very quaint and personable; you get an intimate setting,” said Mulder.
In his freshman year, Mulder knew that he wanted to join a local church. He started looking more into it and found flyers around campus this year. Without a car, he was looking for somewhere close.
“It’s very convenient,” said Mulder.
After one visit, he’s been there ever since.
Also a regular is Academic Dean Tony Peffer.
“It’s very casual and good mix of college students, teenagers, older people, and with kids,” said Peffer.
“It’s a great environment … because there are no bad seats,” Peffer said with a giggle.
According to Gallup, a research-based consulting company, Vermont is the most non-religious state in America.
“My experience with Vermont is often different than its image. I don’t know about percentages, but I know a whole lot of people who go to church and who are people of faith,” said Peffer.
Faith for Life is trying to start another church in Hubbardton.
“We strongly believe in church planting where we keep growing and starting new churches,” said Rogers. “I would like to extend an invitation to the college campus. Anyone is welcome.
“We usually have beverages and snacks before the service starts. So anyone that would like to come and introduce themselves before; I would love that.”