Founded more than ten years ago, Mohawk Solid Rock is a club whose purpose is to bring Mohawk College students together to discuss important themes from a Christian perspective. The group meets every Wednesday evening. Meetings are conducted by chaplain Melissa Kuipers, and address topics that resonate with students.
These topics include insecurities involving college and studies, personal problems, and situations that concern the world as a whole, such as inclusion and sustainability. Sometimes there are special guest speakers, and members are invited to discuss and share thoughts and experiences. There are no restrictions on who can attend.
“The club doors are always open. Anyone who wants to participate, who wants to join us, or who has questions and wants to know more about it is welcome,” club president Madison Hock said. “In addition to the usual Wednesday activities, there are occasionally other activities on other days, usually on Saturday. We did hikes, movie nights and casual meetings for coffee.”
Their most recent activity was a movie night with members and anyone else who wanted to join.
Kuipers said the club brings many benefits to those who participate. She says that in her two years working with the club, she has seen the impact of the meetings on the students.
“During the pandemic, we were meeting online or in very small groups with social distance off campus and I could see that for them, just being together somehow was so important,” Kuipers said. “Many students were new in Canada, did not know anybody in the country, and the group helped them to feel less alone.”
“Something that I heard from both religious (people) and atheists is about how our society gives us little space to talk about deep, life-meaning questions,” she continued. “And so I see that clubs like this can provide a space where people have the opportunity to ask them, to search the answer to questions on why we are here, what is going on with the world and what does it mean to be part of healing the wrong in this world.
“So I think for a lot of students, they are feeling like questioning if what they are studying, what they are doing with their lives actually matters, so having a place where they can talk about it, even if we don’t have the answers, we can discuss it together, and that is really important for them.”
Club member Michael Tong started participating in October after visiting the Clubs Fair because he wanted to have more activities at the college than just his regular classes. He said his choice was Solid Rock because as a Christian, it was the club where he knew people would have something in common with him.
“One of the biggest benefits I get from club meetings is the opportunity to talk with others in a friendly environment,” he said. “I feel that my speaking skills have noticeably improved since joining the club. This was important for me because I was never outgoing in high school, and I wanted to change that in college.”
“The free food doesn’t hurt either,” Tong added.
Kuipers says everyone is welcome and any person will be treated with the same caring and respect.
The Wednesday meetings have varied discussions on subjects that resonate with students.
“We talked about living with disabilities and anxiety, which are subjects that matter both for those who suffer from it and for the others who can learn how to care for and respect people who suffer from it,” Kuipers said. “I think it is very important for us to remember that a fundamental part of being Christian is to care about others. Finding ways of caring for the ones near us is essential for our spiritual health, so we provide a space where people can both learn and benefit from this.”
She adds that even though the club provides a lot of emotional and spiritual support, it is always important to seek professional help as well. During the meeting about anxiety, the group was reminded that the college offers counseling services and that it is important to always see a professional if you feel something more serious is going on.
“Science and psychology are major gifts from God and we should use them,” she said. “We are going to support each other, but there are also professionals here to support you in a way only they can.”
According to the chaplain, being a Christian is about caring for those who are being mistreated and it is important to remember that people should care for others, and let every person know that they are loved.
Mohawk Solid Rock welcomes anyone who wants to join their meetings with open arms, friendly club members, kind words and free dinner every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in room G010. Other group activities are posted on Instagram at @Mohawksolidrock.