A Christian human rights group celebrated the launch of its first campus chapter on Thursday.
After 15 years of serving as an advocate for the worldwide persecuted Church, International Christian Concern (ICC) established its first ICC campus chapter at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. The campus group held its first meeting Thursday afternoon.
"We are so excited to celebrate the launch of the first ICC campus chapter at UMCP," said ICC president Jeff King. "College students around the country have been trying to do this for years and seeing this finally happen is a huge boost to religious freedom."
He added, "I think college students are a large untapped resource in helping their vulnerable brothers and sisters around the world."
Since 1995, Washington-based ICC has sought to raise awareness, advocate and assist persecuted Christians worldwide. Its campus chapter aims to help educate college students about the persecution of Christians around the world. Students at the university also plan to partner with the ICC to raise donations for orphans as part of the group's special blessing campaign.
"Many students were not aware of the issue of religious persecution," said club president Jessica Ford. "They thought that worldwide religious freedom was like here in America. When they realized the terrible circumstances some Christians live under, they wanted to assist and learn more."
Ford noted that although there are about 27 Christian clubs on her campus, they all focus on Bible study or a specific denomination.
"To date there isn't one with the mission of helping persecuted Christians overseas," she said. "We are changing that."
According to ICC, there are around 200 million Christians worldwide who suffer interrogation, arrest, physical violence and sometimes even death for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Over the years, ICC has worked through government leaders in the U.S. Congress, State Department, and the White House to change legislation, bring pressure on persecuting countries, and to secure the release of the imprisoned.
The long-time advocate for the persecuted Church urges Christians to pray and advocate on behalf of suffering believers.