Sleeping in Solidarity on the Hill

Sarah Harder, Weather Vane student newspaper

On Tuesday nights, a small group of students gather on EMU’s hill to take part in “prayerfully sleeping” on the hill, which is a branch of peacekeepers. The group generally has a discussion about an issue related to a specific country or conflict with a focus on refugees.

“We take time to do something that isn’t comfortable to remember other people who aren’t in comfort,” first-year and co-leader Rebekah Enns said. There are three leaders altogether: sophomore Lucas Schrock-Hurst, first-year Taylor Weidman, and Enns.

She said the group does it because they desire to be intentional in the world and have a global focus. “It helps us remember that God’s call for our lives is to challenge the society that creates the need for refugees,” she said. “Shelter is something that a lot of people don’t have.”

They also have discussion topics such as “Listening and Conflict,” and sing songs like “My Soul Cries Out.”

The weekly event began as a program with Peace Fellowship, but due to a lack of student involvement and leadership, almost fell through for this semester. Weidman, Enns, and Schrock-Hurst came forward as leaders early last month, and organized the hill meetings.

First-year participant Austin Showalter appreciates the chance to get out of his comfort zone. “It’s kind of fun. It is good to put myself in a place that I’m not usually in,” he said. He sees one of the goals of the group as “raising awareness” about homelessness.

Prayerfully sleeping on the hill takes place every Tuesday night from around 11:30 p.m. until 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Believe it or not, they actually try to sleep for a good part of that time!

The group will continue to sleep outside for as long as they can, but when the weather gets really cold they will move into the discipleship center. An average of five to ten students attend per week.

Enns and the other leaders welcome any student to head up the hill on Tuesday nights to experience what sleeping in solidarity with the homeless is all about.