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Walla Walla, WA
Friday, December 8, 2023

Churches on Campus

February 16, 2023
Gleb Drumi

Students’ Perspectives on Remembering Service and God During Christmas

Gleb Drumi

Walla Walla University offers not only a top-notch education, but also a variety of spiritual worship opportunities on campus for students. These spiritual opportunities include worship through music and communal singing that creates a sense of unity. Students can not only volunteer, but also serve as leaders and participate in one of the three on-campus student churches. The leaders and pastors of these churches are WWU students, including those who are not studying theology but have felt a calling to serve as church leaders. There are three student churches at WWU: Nuestra Iglesia, Circle Church, and Berean Fellowship church.  


Andy Anaya and Emily Martinez are co-pastors of Nuestra Iglesia. Emily Martinez, a senior English and secondary education major, shared, “I decided to be one of the leaders for the church because I saw [a] big necessity in more representation of Latinos and Hispanics on campus.” Taking a leadership position can be challenging. However, it is also a learning experience through which “we can see a lot of growth” and receive “a lot of really good feedback from people who joined us,” described Martinez.  

Something unique at Nuestra Iglesia is the inclusive atmosphere established right from the start with a greeting song. Martinez shared that Nuestra Iglesia’s greeting song can be translated as, “You are welcomed no matter who you are and where you come from, you are welcomed.” During this welcoming music, everyone can shake hands and give hugs; this creates a feeling of belonging for everyone who comes to the church. [1] 


Benjamin Watson, a senior theology and languages major, and Madelaine Hoffer, a junior business administration major, are co-pastors for the Circle Church.  

As a freshman, Benjamin Watson looked up to Tommy Tamaleaa and Emily Gobel, who were serving as co-pastors at the time. Ever since his first year of college, Watson had felt a calling to serve as a pastor at a student church. Watson expressed that the role of a co-pastor holds great significance to him, not just in terms of the position itself, but because it allows him “to help make the experience of the Circle Church special for everyone.” [2]  

Madelaine Hoffer shared that “my goal this year is not just to keep growing, I am hoping that Circle Church grows and becomes a place where people can feel like they can get involved.”  Worship through songs is a big part of Circle Church. Hoffer described that one of her favorite songs that gets her into the worship mood is Gratitude by Brandon Lake. Gratitude is a “very touching song,” pointed out Hoffer. It is a song that gets you in the mood to worship and connects with God. [3] 


Almonds Sebirokwa, a sophomore religion and pre-physical therapy major, has taken the leadership role as the Berean Fellowship pastor. This student pastoral position comes with many responsibilities and high leadership accountability. Sebirokwa shared, “I do my best to serve others and ensure the continued smooth running of Berean Fellowship.” Sebirokwa pointed out how the position of a pastor has always been scary because, “I have never felt worthy to be in a position of leadership, especially spiritually.” Nevertheless, through being a pastor of Berean Fellowship, Sebirokwa shared, “I am learning that none of that matters” and “if you are willing, God will use you.”  

Something that makes the Berean Fellowship unique from other churches is the worship through songs. Sebirokwa said, “Our style of worship musically is definitely very active and interactive.” [4] 

At WWU, you can take advantage of numerous leadership opportunities, including serving in student church leadership. These opportunities for worship offer spiritual growth and development for students.   


  1. Interview with Emily Martinez, 02/07/2023. 
  2. Interview with Benjamin Watson, 02/08/2023. 
  3. Interview with Madelaine Hoffer, 02/08/2023. 
  4. Interview with Almonds Sebirokwa, 02/12/2023. 
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