Two of the University's most prominent undergraduate Christian organizations, whose membership had been delineated largely along racial lines, merged this fall, following a lengthy discussion over the previous academic year.
At Reunions this past May, Princeton Faith and Action, a campus Christian leadership ministry, and Legacy, a mainly African-American Christian fellowship group, co-hosted a number of religious panels, services and meals. This fall, Legacy ceased to be its own entity on campus as the group completed the process of merging with the larger PFA.
The merger came after talks were held between PFA and Legacy over the course of the 2012-2013 academic year, former Legacy Vice President Aria Miles '14 said.
"It was really important that whatever decision was made was very well-informed and thought out. It was stepping on toes and could shuffle people on both the PFA and Legacy side, but there was actually a large number of people who thought it was a great idea and could be beneficial to everybody," Miles explained. “From a Christian perspective, we should be one body in Christ anyways."
She added that both the freshmen and upperclassmen have handled the transition very well.
Prior to the merger, the two organizations differed in their size and mission. Legacy, founded in 2010 by Jared Aldwin Crooks '11, was a much smaller group than PFA, largely because it focused on targeting the African and African-American minority within the student body and sought to celebrate the black worship experience, according to PFA student leader Christopher Clement '14.
"At the end of the day, it's all about Christ and all about God. But you can go to different churches and have different preaching styles," said Clement, who has been involved in both organizations since his freshman year.
PFA, on the other hand, has a more general mission to provide "training, fellowship and support for Christian students as well as resources to help non-Christian students learn about Christianity," according to its website.
According to PFA member Hannah Cumming '15, Legacy founders did not intend for it to remain permanently separate when it was founded, but the group ended up becoming a more independent entity because of its specific demographic.
"[The merge] strikes a good middle ground," she said.
Jackson Dobies '14, current president of PFA, declined to comment on the merge.
Legacy was more intimate and allowed people to share their own testimony, Clement explained. Yet he acknowledged that the group's narrow focus made it difficult to be effective. In addition to the Friday "Encounter" services held by PFA, the merged group holds "Tru-Thursday" services that were part of Legacy.
"Wefelt that it would be much more effective if the two organizations weren't as divisive,"Clement said of Legacy's decision to merge. “It's so much better now, if you ask me, that we've done that. It's so much more effective, because a lot of people now can come to both types of services."
At merged services at the end of last semester, the two formerly separate groups still lacked complete cohesion, Clement said.
"You could come to a service and still see that a lot of the blacks that worshipped in Legacy were all sitting together," Clement noted. "It was very divisive and problematic, but this year seating is different and we have been joint for long enough that people feel much more comfortable with one another. We had our first Tru-Thursday two weeks ago and it was extremely diverse."