The beginning of the school year means the return of a Conway faith-based tradition more than a decade old. College Day, hosted by the University of Central Arkansas’ Interdenominational Christian Council offers spiritual and educational guidance.
Students experiencing Conway for the first time, as well as those who are new to faith-based groups in the area, were given an overview Aug. 24.
E.C. Maltbia, pastor at True Holiness Saints Center in Conway, spoke on the importance of having a moral compass that guides what is right and that opens doors for future growth.
"It’s important for the students to follow principles," Maltbia said after the event, stressing that these principles will keep them on the right track to success.
The sermon "The Journey of Success," offered three key issues to avoid as students start the fall semester: distractions, disturbances and delays.
Maltbia called the college experience a "road trip to a destination known as graduation."
"Our goal is to encourage them to keep Christ at the helm," he said, adding that the connections they build at True Holiness and the ICC will last long after graduation.
Maltbia called this year’s turnout the "largest crowd to date" and added that event organizers stopped counting after about 525 people.
"The turnout speaks to the hunger for [students’] faith," he said.
Representatives from all three higher education institutions in Conway spoke about the importance of staying focused on obtaining a degree – Tom Courtway, president of the University of Central Arkansas; Terry Kimbrow, president of Central Baptist College and Rev. J.J. Whitney, chaplain at Hendrix College.
Shawanna Rodgers, executive administrator at True Holiness, said the ministry provides a "safe base" for addressing concerns of the student population.
"They will be exposed to things they haven’t been exposed to," she said. "We give them positive tips as it relates to studies, finances and refund checks."
Conway Mayor Tab Townsell provided introductory remarks, praising Conway’s higher education efforts and opportunities for students to stay active in the community.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway and Regions Bank sponsored the event.
Judah Chorale, a student choir at UCA, led worship and praise at the event with guest performer Steven "Spud" Howard, a finalist on BET’s "Sunday Best" gospel music competition.
Maltbia referred to True Holiness as a "home away from home" that allows students to escape the stresses of college life and focus on enriching their faith.
The College Day event reflected a small portion of what True Holiness offers to students throughout the semester.
Maltbia routinely speaks to college students and hosts events at the University of Central Arkansas, Central Baptist College and Hendrix College.
The first ICC collegiate ministry meeting of the fall semester is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sept. 4 at UCA’s Ferguson Chapel.
Services at True Holiness’ church location, 198 Highway 268 E. in Conway, are at 11 a.m. each Sunday.
(Staff writer Brandon Riddle can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)