Joe Mertz Center sponsors Urban Plunge in Chicago

Huntington, Ind.—The Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service recently sponsored the Urban Plunge, a mission trip for 14 Huntington University students.

Advisors included the Rev. Bob Henry, assistant director of campus ministries, and his wife, Sue.

The team drove to Chicago on Nov. 14 and stayed two nights at Emmaus Ministries. The ministry’s purpose is to reach out through relationship building and provide hope in Christ for men involved in sexual exploitation.

Freshman Jordan Peterson, a psychology major from Fond Du Lac, Wis., rakes leaves at Su Casa.
Huntington students mingled with Taylor University students for the first night, Immersion Night. The group had a one-hour briefing with an Emmaus staff member before they were divided into pairs and sent to the streets where Emmaus does outreach. The pairs then took the subway to “Boystown,” a gay-and-lesbian-friendly community in Chicago. From 10:30 p.m. until around 1 a.m., the teams walked the main roads, sat in coffee shops, and those who were 21 and older entered bars to make conversation and build relationships with the people they encountered.

“It was cool to interact with people from a different side of Chicago,” said Ashley Lamb, a junior communication studies major and a first-time participant in the Urban Plunge. “So many times I think of the grand parts of the city, and I forget about aspects like poverty and racial and sexual issues.”

Ashley Lamb tries out the playground equipment while Sue Henry rakes leaves at Su Casa.
Saturday was spent working with Su Casa, a home for displaced Latino families, on outdoor projects in the community such as a raking leaves, mulching and cleaning up the area.

The group attended Living Water Community Church in downtown Chicago on Sunday.

“The experience was definitely different than what I’m used to,” said Lamb of Decatur, Ind., “But it was great to see people worshiping without abandon and really loving each other.”

A mural at Emmaus Ministries in Chicago

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Huntington University is a comprehensive Christian college of the liberal arts offering graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. U.S.News & World Report ranks Huntington among the best colleges in the Midwest. Founded in 1897 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Huntington University is located on a contemporary, lakeside campus in northeast Indiana. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).  


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