A passage from Acts 2:42 reads, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

The Acts 2 Christian Fellowship — simply known as A2 — has come to adopt and follow this idea since their conception over five years ago.

Originally known as “Asian Baptist Student Koinonia” or “ABSK,” A2 was created to appeal to all backgrounds, regardless of race or religion. The first two A2 groups started at Stanford University and San Jose State University in 1997. A2 was extended to UC Santa Cruz in 2001, and though the Santa Cruz branch hasn’t seen much student growth since its beginning, the fellowship remains strong and productive.

Steve Kim, a third-year business management economics major, has been involved with A2 since his freshman year.

“Since Santa Cruz is not really a religious institution, I look at A2 as a place to bring myself back to my Christianity,” Kim said. “Coming to A2 really helps me keep in touch with my peers and refocus my life.”

Every Thursday at 7:30 p.m., A2 students meet in the Redwood Lounge to not only study the messages of the Bible, but also to eat, sing, play games, discuss life questions and build close friendships. Albert Lee, the staff adviser of A2 Santa Cruz, emphasized the importance of reaching out to others who are interested in the messages of Christianity.

“In addition to studying the Bible, we foster the building of lasting friendships,” Lee said. “We also encourage our students to invite friends who are interested in learning about the Bible and about Christianity.”

A2’s plans for this quarter include studying the book of John, one chapter a week. The meetings are largely interactive — students are divided into groups to discuss the selected chapter of the week and share their insights and conclusions with the other groups. Lee said these meetings aim to foster an understanding of the text in a historical context as well as the author’s intent.

Though Lee said that the group is largely Christian, he recognized the importance of appealing to the less religious demographic of UCSC.

“We want to encourage people with no church background to visit to find out what the Bible and Christianity are all about,” Lee said. “We do look to the Bible as ‘truth,’ but we recognize that everyone needs to make their own choices and come to their own conclusions about their own faith and beliefs.”

Accompanying Albert Lee to every meeting is his wife Janice Lee, who has been with the fellowship as long as Albert. Though she noted that being with A2 has been challenging as a result of living in San Jose, Janice clarified that the experience has been well worth the effort. 

“We feel blessed,” she said. “We gain so much from doing this. What encourages us is the students, and the fact that they are coming every week. 

It gives us joy.”

Janice also emphasized the importance of having a religious perspective less common on campus.

“We are open to any religious background. We just want more people to be exposed to Christianity,” she said. “[Reaching out to Santa Cruz students] would be [A2’s] next goal. We want to focus on our [A2] students, but we’ll eventually want to spread out.”

Steve Kim reflected upon Acts 2:42 as he talked about what he thinks is the purpose of A2.

“I look at the passage as a way to reach out to a lot of freshmen,” he said. “Some kids may not want to party on Fridays or Thursdays, they want to get out of those kinds of activities, so I see A2 as a way for kids to get out of that and … have a place to relax. A2 is a place of fellowship.”