The usually peaceful quad on Shippensbug University’s campus was filled with large banners that read, “Church is a joke. Jesus is a living person” and “Go to Jesus not ‘church.’” Another banner promoted a website, www.ifanyoneisthirsty.com.
The bold statements caused many students to stop and ask questions, which is what the brother and sister duo wanted to happen.
Abraham and Sarah Woroniecki stood in the chilly October air on Wednesday promoting Jesus, answering questions and waving their huge banners.
Students gathered around both Woronieckis questioning their motives and their beliefs.
“It just really comes down to Jesus,” Abraham said. “We’re here to talk about him. It sounds so common because of the culture we grew up in.”
Woroniecki explained the culture of America is Christian, whereas if they were in another country such as Japan, the culture would be Buddhism. With the majority of the students on campus being Americans, Woroniecki thinks most students have at least heard of Jesus.
“Because of all the church and all of the religion [in America], I’m not saying something no one has ever heard before,” Woroniecki said.
For Woroniecki, though, he wants people to do more than just hear of Jesus.
“To find out who Jesus is requires a humility that says, ‘I don’t know who he is. I’ve heard about him, but who are you?’” Woroniecki said. “I’m trying to encourage people to come to a point of humility saying, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard of Jesus but I don’t know who he is because I don’t know what he offers.”
Woroniecki’s message differs from other preachers who have used the free speech area in front of the Ezra Lehman Library. Having done this type of ministry his whole life, Woroniecki said he ran into other preachers. His intentions are not to put on a show, but to simply tell the world about the gospel.
“It’s about love and trying to really care about the people out here,” Woroniecki said.
In order to be heard, Woroniecki did shout his message, which drew the attention of students and United Campus Minister Rev. Jan Bye.
Bye observed from a bench in the Quad. She appreciated the different approach the Woronieckis had. Although she had not spoken with Abraham or Sarah, she recognized the calmer nature of their message compared to others who have come to SU.
Bye said any students with questions should feel free to contact her. Her email is JMBye@ship.edu.
Matthew Ramsay, a Coalition for Campus Outreach (CCO) minister at SU, thinks yelling Bible verses and thoughts about God make it even more difficult for people to understand the complex nature of the Bible.
“I think that God and Jesus and the things said in the Bible are very difficult to accept on their own, especially if folks yell and point to the really hard things of scripture first, it makes it really hard to engage in the truth of scripture on its own,” Ramsay said.
Some students mocked the Woronieckis’ banners with a homemade sign created on a sheet of printer paper that read, “If you don’t know Jesus, go home.”
The Woroniecki family has evangelized in every state and stopped at SU after being at Penn State University. Abraham said he has been sharing the message of his family all 27 years of his life. The family has traveled to numerous countries around the world.