I grew up in the suburbs of southeast Pennsylvania in West Chester about 40 minutes from Philadelphia. As a result, I never experienced living in a city before coming to Hoboken to attend Stevens Institute of Technology, nor did I experience how my faith would adapt to these circumstances. It was not the balancing of academics or the homesickness of PA that was a problem but I wondered if I could make new friends and also wondered where I would go to church.
The first night at Stevens was one of anxiety and sadness. I missed my girlfriend, I missed my bed, I missed my friends at school, and I missed the suburban environment. I did not realize how much my life was going to change.
Although I was frightened and worried about what the city environment could bring, I ended up making relationships that would change my perspective on the very things I was worried about. One day, I was walking around my school and found Stevens Christian Fellowship (SCF). I wanted to get integrated with faith because I needed a community and I also needed to find a Church. When I was growing up, it was so important to be in a faith community — that is how I made friends and grew.
I walked into Stevens Christian Fellowship and they welcomed me with open arms. Every last person in that community became and still is one of my friends and they made a lonely freshman, a loved one. As I got integrated, I found Hoboken Grace in the fall of 2019. That week, Pastor Chris started doing a series on the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Like many newcomers to Hoboken Grace, I was new to this type of unique service. On the other hand, I felt the words were speaking to me and all that I was going through. Actually, I read the entire book with another member of SCF in the weeks Pastor Chris was presenting it. It was an enlightening moment that welcomed me to Hoboken Grace.
As time went on, I got to know Hoboken like the back of my hand and it was thanks to both the Stevens Christian Fellowship and the Hoboken Grace community. I am able to attend Hoboken Grace services, events, and groups alongside students that are going through the same things as me and that is something very special. Although I still missed my girlfriend, I introduced her to Hoboken Grace as well, and she got more involved in her own Christian community back home.
Hoboken Grace has brought me an environment that I feel has always loved me and my friends. Both pastors, Anthony and Chris, have come to Stevens and have spoken to our students, and that is very special. Now, I’m here in 2022 wondering where I would be without such an amazing faith community.