Hundreds of Penn State students and community members gathered Wednesday night to pray for a revival of the State College community during a student-led prayer vigil hosted by Alliance Christian Fellowship and CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ).
Adam Jepson, the associate director of college ministries at Penn State, spoke with The Christian Post about the prayer service that started at 10 p.m. and lasted for hours at the Lion Shrine, a statue of the school's mascot near the recreation building.
The prayer vigil addressed the child rape scandal involving former PSU defense coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who was arrested Nov. 5 on 40 federal and misdemeanor charges related to the alleged abuse of eight boys over the course of 15 years. The scandal also involves former Nittany Lions football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired Wednesday for allegedly covering up Sandusky's alleged unlawful actions.
Jepson told CP, "We prayed for the campus, we prayed for the victims, we prayed for the people who might be involved in the cover-up, we even prayed for Jerry Sandusky."
"We were really praying that God would bring healing for the victims," Jepson said during a phone interview Thursday.
Tom Bradley, PSU's new interim head football coach, replaced Paterno. At a press conference announcing his promotion from defensive coordinator, Bradley said the new position comes with "very mixed emotions."
The PSU ministry leader told CP, "There are going to be a lot of changes with leadership. Campus fellowship has been praying for a long time for a revival that would rock this campus. We do think it would happen through this situation. We are praying that the Lord would have His way."
While CRU meets regularly on Wednesday nights, the scandal prompted a special vigil and convergence of the campus's prominent Christian organizations.
ACF member and junior Kinesiology major Madeline Grande told the Daily Collegian, the campus newspaper, "We always talk about how we love having the groups together because the more groups, the stronger we are."
Grande also told the Daily Collegian, "Being united under God is important for this campus Grande said, especially in this 'time of darkness.' "
Paterno's firing prompted a student riot on campus Wednesday night. The prayer vigil was held about a quarter-mile away from the riot.
According to Jepson, vigil attendees consisted of about 200 students and 150 community members who joined the student groups in prayer, totaling approximately 350 people.
Jepson told CP, "Keep praying for Penn State. Pray that the leadership that steps up and replaces the people [dismissed from PSU] will have the Lord's anointing."
According to its website, Penn State Cru is a community where the gospel captures hearts, transforms lives and launches men and women into a lifelong adventure with Jesus Christ.
The Alliance Christian Fellowship's mission, as noted on its website, is to become sold-out followers of Jesus Christ through worship, edification, fellowship and prayer.