The United Ministries in Higher Education in the Terre Haute area is a campus ministry serving the needs of students, faculty, and staff on the campuses of Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. In recent years this ministry has received funding from and has served on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. Additionally, there is one local supporting congregation of another denomination: Trinity Lutheran Church. As of the end of 2009, Presbyterian and United Methodist funds were no longer provided from their regional headquarters.
Several streams of campus ministry have come together to form the present ecumenical ministry. Following is a brief sketch of the history of this ecumenical effort.
The Wesley Foundation
A Wesley Foundation program, on behalf of the Methodist Church, was organized in October of 1943 for college students. Centenary Church was home for the Foundation until 1960, when it moved to 321 North Seventh Street. A new building (our present location) was erected on that site in 1965 for the Foundation. According to a brochure on the Wesley Foundation, dated September 1944, the objectives were “(1) To lead students to become followers of Jesus Christ and into such vital personal relationship with God as will become intelligently effective in human living; (2) To develop a supporting group in which individuals will mutually strengthen one another in Christian living . . . ; (3) To help create a new world order . . . embodying Christian ideals and conserving the highest human values. . . .” It is striking how relevant these goals are even today. In 1968 M. Duane Sinn became the Wesley Foundation’s campus minister; he served until 1981.
The Westminster Foundation
The Central Presbyterian, Washington Avenue Presbyterian, and Westminster Presbyterian Churches had a joint Westminster Foundation, which sponsored programs for college students from about 1961 until 1963. Faculty from ISU would take turns serving meals to students on Sunday evenings, lead Sunday School classes, and have other activities during the week.
The United Campus Christian Fellowship
About 1965, the Westminster Foundation was able to obtain some judicatory funding and, with the contributions of the local congregations, joined with the Disciples of Christ, the United Church of Christ, the Evangelical United Brethren, and the Episcopal Church to have an ecumenical campus ministry called the United Campus Christian Fellowship. The UCCF provided campus ministry on behalf of those denominations. For many years this ministry was housed in the facilities of Central Christian Church across from the ISU campus.