BY CHRISTYANNE SAN JUAN
Photo courtesy of DesertCru. DesertCru president Rachel Martinez greeting students at Club Rush.
College of the Desert is well-known for welcoming all students. This message is promoted by all members of the college, and is especially embraced by the members of DesertCru, a Christian community that has been active at College of the Desert for over twenty years.
DesertCru began in the 1990s, when Christian clubs started becoming more popular in community colleges and universities around the country. The club falls under the umbrella of an organization known as “Campus Crusade for Christ.” Brian Brody, a former COD students established the club at College of the Desert and began inviting members to join him in Bible study and general celebration of Christ. One of these members, John Barnwell, began to commit to a stronger role within the group, and supported Brody in growing DesertCru into the diverse and inviting community that it is today.
Brody and Barnwell graduated from COD and still assist current and incoming members of DesertCru in maintaining a strong Christian presence for college students living in the area.”We wanted to find the right students to keep DesertCru going,” Barnwell said. “It was really important that we let these students know that the love of Christ can be found wherever they go.”
Barnwell believes the friendly, open environment at the college is as a primary reason why DesertCru has been active for so many years. With the wide array of students and the inherently affable college setting, it became a perfect place for members of the campus ministry to be able to meet other students and include them in their fellowship.
Inclusivity is a principle that is encouraged and enforced by all members of DesertCru. Despite its origins in the Christian community, Barnwell maintains that the club welcomes students, teachers, and faculty of all faiths and beliefs to join in their club meetings. DesertCru meetings include group prayer, Bible studies with pastors invited from local churches and listening to Christian music.
This year, after being re-chartered by the Office of Student Life, DesertCru is welcoming 130 new members. Barnwell shared the club’s plans for the year. “We want to meet hopefully twice a week. Once we get a classroom for us to meet, we want to give students a place to pray and join us in Bible study.”
DesertCru is one of 2,300 campus ministries under Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru), a Christian parachurch organization with over 101,000 members nationwide. The organization is committed to “the centrality of the cross, the truth of the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and the global scope of the Great Commission.” Christian clubs such as DesertCru offer a multitude of services for students, including spiritual guidance through resources and programs tailored for people from all cultures in every walk of life.
To join DesertCru, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/desert.cru/ or contact John Barnwell at 760-831-4331 or Brian Brody at 760-409-2903.