Our Mission

It is the mission of the Newman Center of Keene, NH to minister through accompaniment, partnership, and education 

to the college communities of our area, no matter where each person we encounter may be in his or her spiritual formation.  

 

It is therefore our mission and privilege to create relationships, a space, and an intentional community in which it is safe to explore, 

to question, to worship, to make mistakes, to learn, to pray, to be one’s true self, and to discover how that true self is a vital part of the Body of Christ so that we can—individually and as a community—act as Christ to all.  

 

 

What You'll Find Here:

 

          Whether you're a cradle Catholic or exploring your spirituality,

          you're welcome to join us! Begin again!

 

  • A Place to Dig Deeper into Faith

    Retreats - Adoration Chapel - Bible Studies 

 

Meet a Few of our Students:

Justin
Class of 2016

Major: Environmental Studies

Hometown: Melrose, Massachusetts

 

How did you find out about the Newman Center?

At a Student Involvement Fair on campus

 

How has your college experience changed since being a part of the Newman Center community?

I've found a place to be myself and go and serve others

 

Favorite Newman Center experience:

Going to West Virginia on our Mission Trip!

Valerie
Class of 2017

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Portland, Maine

 

How did you find out about the Newman Center?

Freshman year, I attended Mass every Sunday. Then I met the Campus Minister and was introduced to the rest of the group.

 

How has your college experience changed since being a part of the Newman Center community?

I feel more connected with the parish and community members. I know I have a place off campus to hang out with friends and I have support from them and Cindy, the Campus Minister.

 

Favorite Newman Center experience:

Visiting a monastery in Vermont. We spent the day in reflection and walked the grounds while enjoying Fall weather. We also sat in on their afternoon prayer, which was relaxing and a spiritual experience.

Brittany
Class of 2018

Major: Elementary Education & Sociology

Hometown: Hampstead, NH

 

How did you find out about the Newman Center?

After coming to a Student Mass

 

How has your college experience changed since being a part of the Newman Center community?

I've made so many close friends who have a similar love for God!

 

Favorite Newman Center experience:

Coming to Adoration after being away for awhile and being welcomed back, and realizing that this is where I belong.

Accompaniment

 

"How many students do you have?" It's the most frequent question I get, usually posed by well-meaning people leaning into my office doorway on their way down the hall. I smile, because it's a complicated question, and reply, "3,400. I serve the entire campus!"

 

Twenty or thirty years ago, all that was required for Campus Ministry to work was a space, a weekly event, and a person to lead it. "Build it and they will come" was the motto. These days, things are different--in Campus Ministry, in the Higher Education system, in the Church, in the world. Students today are entirely different than the students of the 1980s and 90s, and here are just a few examples of how:

 

  • 50% of local college students are "First-Generation", meaning that they are the first in their families to attend college

  • the cost of a Bachelor's degree has increased exponentially since the '80s, which means that today's students are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, participating in work-study to help with financial aid, and taking overload course loads to finish their degrees early 

  • on top of that, many--if not most--fields in the current job market require at least a Master's degree for entry-level jobs, which means that students are loading on internships and other resume-builders to get into grad school 

  • New Hampshire recently overtook Vermont for the title of "Most Unchurched State", which means that only 20% of people claim to be "Very Religious". A recent Pew survey also shows that over a quarter of people identify as "spiritual but not religious", and that number is even higher among the Millenial and GenZ demographics.

 

All of this combined means that "We're getting together on Sunday night, wanna join?" is an outdated, ineffective model for Campus Ministry. Over the last few years, Campus Ministries across the country--including this one--have been shifting toward an Accompaniment model.

 

Accompaniment is about meeting students where they are--spiritually, physically, emotionally--and joining them on the journey. It looks less like planned events and more like one-on-one meetings over coffee, conversations held in hallways after meetings, and walking down Appian Way during the morning rush wishing the campus community a good day. Accompaniment has strong and noble roots within the Jesuit tradition, it is a major theme of St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, and it is perhaps one of the best words to describe the day-to-day events of Jesus' earthly ministry.  

Partnership

 

A major part of Accompaniment-based ministry is Partnership--joining others in working together for a common goal. Since 2012 and even before, the Newman Center has cultivated important partnerships in many areas on the Keene State College campus, including:

 

  • the Student Affairs Division

  • the Student Involvement Office

  • Keene State Counseling Services 

  • LiveWell KSC

  • the Office of Multicultural Student Support and Success

  • the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

  • the Redfern Arts Center

  • multiple academic departments

  • campus administration, faculty, and staff

  • and more

 

Because of these partnerships, Campus Ministry promotes Spiritual Wellness and religious diversity in dozens of on-campus efforts and events each year, including: semesterly Reading Day Relaxation Breaks, where students learn how to integrate Spiritual Health into their stress management; co-sponsored events, such as our "Ask a _____" events, where the campus community is able to ask questions to local religious leaders; sharing religious resources at Orientation and Welcome Days and Student Involvement Fairs; a special art exhibit of our collected postcards from the Postcard Confessional at the Redfern Arts Center, and more. In Spring of 2019, the Campus Minister was awarded the Staff Partnership Award from the Office of Multicultural Student Support and Success, demonstrating the importance of Partnership across campus. 

Education

 

Because we live in an increasingly secular world, and a particularly secular area of the country, fewer and fewer students are coming to college with a basic knowledge of spiritual wellness or any religious doctrine. This affects students' mental health, crisis coping, and feelings of belonging and wellbeing, as well as the way that they may study such important topics as literature, philosophy, politics, and world history. Imagine trying to read Milton's "Paradise Lost" and not knowing who Adam and Eve are, or reporting on religious conflict across the world without understanding the differences between them. 

 

This is the reality for many students, and so an important part of our ministry at the Newman Center is to provide educational access and resources to our wider community as requested. We provide this through a large lending library of (mostly Catholic) books donated by a generous parishioner from St. Bernard Church, and through consultation and guest lectures from the Campus Minister. Click here to contact her about Education outreach requests.

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