By: Christian J. Marrero Díaz
April 12, 2012
Personality Feature Story
“Jovenes Cristianos del Parque” (JCP) is a Christian organization that is composed of college students fromthe University of Puerto Rico, Maygüez Campus. It is run by students and for the students. It was founded in the first semester of 1978, by a group of students who shared a passion for the teachings of Jesus Christ. They used to gather in the construction site of what would later become the “Parque de los Proceres”. During the second semester the “Parque” was inaugurated, and they decided to gather every Thursday. The group decided to never identify itself with any Christian denomination, and that lead to their success in their goal of reaching more lives.
By the start of the 1979-1980 academic year the group consisted of 40 members, but that number increased rapidly to 50, then to 60 and then to 70. The growth of the group lead to the election of a directive that would consist of a group of five to six people. This directive did not have a president at first but it became more formal afterwards.
It wasn’t until the academic year of 1980-1981 that they registered the organization in the Mayagüez Campus. They called it “Jovenes Cristianos del Parque”, or JCP, for short. After they registered, they started gathering in the facilities of the Campus.
The years passed and more and more traditions were incorporated. One of them is “El Prepa”, which is a play for freshman students. It is a comedy play that parodies famous movies and in the end has a Christ-centered message. This play has been used as an instrument to reach lives since 2002, and many of the members that compose the organization today are the result of this initiative. Also as a tradition, sometimes a group of students gathers in the third floor of the student center to talk, share experiences, eat together, and help each other in any way necessary. Another one of their big traditions is that, after the first service of the year, they go to Cabo Rojo Plaza to spend time together and catch up.
Many have found a home away from home in JCP. For example, I interviewed Melissa Chalas, a member of the organization, and she said: “I am a result of ‘El Prepa’. To me JCP is a family which has made me grow and understand many things. It is a ministry that shows the love of Christ to the fullest, no matter your color, sex, or religion.”
“What would you say to those who don’t know about your organization?” I asked.
“I enforce you to go and not just because I want the group to grow, but because it is a place where you will grow as a person and your relationship with God will reach different levels.” Melissa said.
“What is the main message?” I asked.
“The most important thing is love, because God is love, and not just any love, but an agape love that surpasses any type of fault or weakness. It is unconditional love.” Melissa said.
If you are interested in this organization, they gather around the Nursing building every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and are willing to have you. Be aware that if you go you will be initiated in their own unique way.