The Supernatural Culture Club’s weekly meetings at Kendall Campus begin with students forming a circle and members leading the group in prayer. A loud worshiping song plays in the background. At a recent meeting, 13 student members in the circle closed their eyes and spoke about their relationship with God.
“Pray for everybody. Everybody needs somebody to be prayed for,” said Devin Perfumo, 21, a business administration major and the club’s president. “Even though they are not praying for you.”
Students in the group took turns talking about hardship and how their lives have changed since they joined the club. After prayer is done, student Jesús Lopez, 25, lectured about the power of God.
Perfumo then spoke about having faith in God and finding peace. Members looked engrossed in the teachings and sometimes quietly responded. Approximately 17 to 25 students join Perfumo for meetings every Wednesday at noon in Room 4105.
The club members said they aim to feel the presence of God through their fellowship they aim to feel the presence of God.The group wants to be known as a spiritual rather than a religious club.
“I would say supernatural over religion because religion is limited to words and doctrine, while supernatural is something that we experience,” Perfumo said. “That’s really what the club is. It’s an experience with God, not just talk.”
The club does identify itself with Christianity, but does not limit itself to a specific sect of the religion. Many of the members, like Perfumo, attend church. Perfumo said the club’s goal is to help students be redeemed by what Jesus has done and believe Christ’s power. The group is led by Perfumo’s strong, friendly and persuasive personality.
But Perfumo did not start out as a religious leader.
When he was 16, Perfumo was a drug using rock and roller.
He said the lifestyle was toxic, coming home to a broken family and almost taking his own life. Perfumo said he sought direction and meaning from God and experienced unexplainable moments of revelations from strangers that led him toward a relationship with God.
While a student at Miami Killian Senior High School, Perfumo wanted to use what he learned from God to help others in his same situation. He began to try to help kids suffering from depression and drug abuse. He took a boom box out to Ron Ehmann Park where he said these kids gathered. Perfumo said he prayed for them. Many of those people are now members of the Supernatural Culture Club at MDC.
The club was previously called Shine, with only nine members. Once it changed names a year-and-a-half ago the club gained popularity. Perfumo has been involved for two years. The previous semester’s leaders asked him to run the club. Perfumo attends El Rey Jesús, a Christian Apostolic and Prophetic church, and looks at the club as a way to give students a spiritual experience with God on Campus.
There are numerous other religious clubs on Kendall Campus, including Cru, Catholic Student Ministry and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
But it is unique from these other clubs because Perfumo said they shy away from organized religion. Perfumo called organized religion “black and white without the life.”
“Religion is when you take God out of doctrine,” he said.
In a 2014 survey conducted by UCLA Cooperative Institutional Research Program, one in four freshman students selected no religious preference, which is up from one in six in 2005.
Lopez, a business administration major, said that study makes sense. He said he doubted if God was real but always had a belief in a higher power.
“I believe that a lot of people are prone to grow away from religion, I understand that,” Lopez said. “I understand what it is to be in their place. Everybody should have an opportunity to get to meet the person of God because God is a person. All you got to do is get to know him.”
Perfumo thinks there are many people around campus that love God and might like the Supernatural Culture Club’s approach. He wants to aid students who seek a relationship with God feel the same connection.
“I think it’s that they can really express their love for God and not be judged for it,” he said. “It’s an environment that kids could come and the passion that they have for God can be shared.”
Computer animation major, Jislan Carrasquillo, 21, who has been a member since 2013, said she has felt a lot closer to God ever since she joined the club. She also goes to church.
“It’s been a blessing and given me a lot of bravery [to explore God],” Carrasquillo said. “The people in the club have been a great support to help train me in my walk with him.”