This month marks the third year that Wesley Seminary at IWU has gathered cohorts of students on campus, and it was a joy to welcome the largest group of students yet. In the heart of their very first day of gathering was a Convocation worship service.
Like all of Indiana Wesleyan University, our stated purpose is to be a Christ-centered academic community. The Convocation service is one practical way we are seeking to live out this purpose, and to embody the values that are important to us.
Does your worship embody the values most important to you?
- We value…faculty that enrich the lives of our students intellectually and spiritually. Our own “faculty band” led in musical worship, both instrumentally (Kwasi Kena on keys, Abson Joseph on bass and John Drury on drums) and vocally (Safiyah Fosua, Joanne Solis-Walker and Bud Bence). Faculty also shared in the reading of Scripture, the proclamation of the Word and the serving of communion. Their full engagement invited us all to enter in.
- We value…a vision that takes us beyond ourselves in service to others. Following the framework of Acts 1:8, a vision update highlighted how we as a Seminary are living out the Great Commission beginning with our central campus and continuing to the “ends of the earth” (a cohort met in Auckland, New Zealand in May).
- We value…strong relationships with our community. Rev. Misael Garcia, Pastor of Hispanic Ministries and Missions for Bethel Church near campus, offered a prayer of intercession and blessing over the vision God has entrusted to us and the students God has brought to us.
- We value…multiethnic worship where different “tribes and languages” gather around the throne of God (Revelation 7:9). The Scripture reading and prayer were offered in Spanish as well as English, recognizing that nearly 20% of those gathered had a “heart language” other than English. Our worship leaders included African American and Latino participants as well as Anglo.
- We value…the Word powerful proclaimed. Dr. Safiyah Fosua shared what she called a “meditation” based in Luke 4:14-21 and entitled “Coming in the Power of the Spirit” – let’s just say her meditation powerfully impacted us as a prophetic message regarding the high calling of ministry and where the power comes from to faithfully fulfill it!
- We value…being a redeemed community who humbly recognizes God did for us what we could not do for ourselves. Culminating the service with the celebration of communion helped us to remember the price and source of our right standing with God.
Our students shared many appreciative and affirming comments regarding the experience of worship embedded in the beginning of their intensive educational experience. While the primary value of the Convocation service was our connection and submission to God, we’re grateful it also embodied the values God has led us to embrace. Does your worship embody and demonstrate your values?
Later in the week we were able to visualize our values in another way. We conducted a “topping off” ceremony, placing the final beams in our new Seminary facility. On those beams were the signatures of students, faculty & staff, and friends of the Seminary, shaping the phrases “The world is my parish” and “Go…and make disciples.” As they were placed, a spontaneous expression of gratitude arose in the song “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” Our values, verified by our signatures recorded on those beams, will be a constant reminder for us when we move into the new facility next April.