Boston Church of Christ Recruiting on Campus

The Harvard Crimson/January 13, 1993
By Marion B. Gammill

Members of the Boston Church of Christ (BCC), which is forbidden to recruit on campus, said yesterday that they have been actively encouraging Harvard students to attend an introductory meeting.

The religious group, which has been called a "cult" by critics, is not a part of the Harvard-Radcliffe United Ministry since its practice of proselytizing violates Ministry policy.

BCC member Damon K. Roberts '93 said he and other members had been telling both friends and acquaintances about the January 24 meeting and the church in general.

"There are no rules about it, as far as I know," said Robers. "I do know something called freedom of speech. I'm not aware of any restrictions - and if so, I probably wouldn't hold to them anyway."

Kimberly E. Neat, a first-year Divinity School student who was passing out BCC flyers on Mass. Ave., confirmed that undergraduates are recruiting for the meeting.

Sister Mary Karen Powers of St. Paul's Catholic Church, the Harvard Radcliff parish, said the group is not likely to enter the ranks of the Ministry in the near future, a step it would have to take in order to gain sanction for campus recruiting.

Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said that the University "has had difficulties with Harvard students who have been members in the past."

"I know we're very critical of the operations of the Boston Church of Christ," said Thomas M. Ferrick, the University's Humanist chaplain, "because its influence on students is a bit overpowering and it has been known to use deceptive practices."

  1. Stewart Barnes, the University's Episcopal chaplain and one of the authors of the

Ministry's official guidelines, said students should be wary if "one is often being less than explicitly honest about who they are…[and does not have] the sense of boundaries, or respecting individual privacy."

Barnes, who often counsels students on matter of religion, cautioned against drawing conclusions about al BCC members.

"I've known [some] undergraduates who are part of the Boston Church of Christ - I've had no reason to doubt their sincerity or integrity," Barnes said.

"But to be a member of the United Ministry you have to respect religious commitments other than your own," he said.

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