Nurturing Faith through Community

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Sarah Driediger
Faith plays a central role in Sarah Driediger’s life. It has helped her meet new people, grow as a person, and reflect on experiences. Sarah is a first-year virtual resident at Conrad Grebel University College studying Biomedical Sciences. Several members of her family attended Grebel before her, and while growing up, they told her many exciting stories about the College. When in high school, she attended Ontario Mennonite Music Camp, where she lived in Grebel’s residence, participated in fun camp activities, enjoyed music instruction, strengthened her leadership skills, and deepened her faith, all in a supportive environment. After that invigorating taste of life at Grebel, Sarah knew exactly where she wanted to live when she began her university studies.

Sarah lives in Ottawa and though studying virtually can be isolating, she never felt that way with Grebel as a touchpoint. “The Grebel community, leaders, and staff have been very welcoming and always make a point of reaching out and saying hello when you join a Zoom call,” she said. In addition, the Weekly Waves and virtual Chapel services have helped her meet new people and feel connected to the community.

Through Chapel, Grebel has helped Sarah nurture her faith. Chapel Committee, Chapel Choir, and Chapel services were three of Sarah’s favourite activities this year. She, along with those in attendance have been blessed with profound stories and messages from a multitude of speakers that included students, staff, and guests alike. She has especially appreciated the opportunity to connect and reflect on her own personal experiences in small breakout rooms during the services. Thanks to her musical talent, Sarah was invited to prepare recordings of herself singing worship songs to share with gathered participants during these services. Sarah considers these moments to be some of her most meaningful experiences at Grebel.

It can be difficult to make friendships and meet people in an online setting, but Sarah has appreciated the effort put into retaining the heart of the community regardless of whether or not students are virtual or in-person. Relationships are important, especially to those moving away from home to the first time or to those suffering from the stresses of isolation.

“There are so many unique ways to be involved in the community, even as a virtual student not living in Waterloo,” Sarah said. “Grebel offers a wide variety of events that are open to virtual and in-person residents alike. You get a chance to talk and build connections with students from different programs and faculties, students in first year all the way up to fifth year, as well as staff and faculty at Grebel.”

Looking forward to the future, Sarah said “I can hardly wait to move into Grebel in the fall!”

Written by Jace Jaeden Ellis