Friday, August 28, 2009

Taking on The Wall

Gordon’s Outdoor Education Immersion Semester began this past Sunday with 10 students, nine from Gordon and one from Colorado Christian College. Along with their two instructors, Nate Hausman and Matt Loy (both Gordon College Outdoor Education graduates), the students are spending the first two and a half weeks of their semester at the La Vida Base Camp in upstate New York. Their time in the Adirondacks will focus on community development as well as preparation for their 25-day rafting and backpacking trip to Idaho. Upon completion of the Wilderness Education Association national standards course in the Frank Church Wilderness, the group will return to Gloucester, Massachusetts, for two and a half more months of community living and classes focusing on outdoor education, leadership development, and the relationship between humans and nature. (Photo: a recent afternoon on the low ropes course; students in the midst of completing The Wall).


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

“Greek Chorus” Comes to BCA Jensen Theatre

Wednesday, August 26, theatre director Karin Coonrod ’76 will bring her expertise and enthusiasm back to the Wenham campus as part of the 10-year anniversary celebration of the Barrington Center for the Arts (BCA) and in partnership with the Center for Christian Studies.
Coonrod, who teaches at Yale School of Drama and is the founding director of Compagnia de Colombari, will present a lecture on the significance of the Greek comic chorus, using scenes from Aristophanes’ The Birds. Gordon College theatre students who participated in her four-day summer workshop will perform scenes under her direction.
The lecture and performance are open to the public free of charge and begin at 7:00 in the Barrington Center for the Arts. Read more...


Friday, August 21, 2009

Reaching the North Shore and Greater Boston Area through Service

For the last six years Val Buchanan, director of the Gordon in Lynn program, has been forging relationships between Gordon College and the City of Lynn. This fall, though, the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) will officially launch with Buchanan at the helm, expanding her work from Lynn to the North Shore and Greater Boston.
The office’s purpose is to create, organize and support programs of service learning and community outreach, furthering the mission of Gordon College “to graduate men and women distinguished by intellectual maturity and Christian character, committed to a lifestyle of service, and prepared for leadership roles worldwide.” Students, faculty and staff work within mutually beneficial community-based partnerships, the majority of which are in Lynn but also across the North Shore and Greater Boston area. Gordon college is one of the few Christian colleges outside of Boston so we're able to do activities like this. OCE seeks to foster healthy relationships with neighboring communities while developing faithful student leaders through guided civic engagement.
“Students who come to Gordon want to work toward empowering people, alleviating poverty, addressing social concerns, welcoming the immigrant, advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves, and visiting the sick,” says Buchanan. “Students want to not only make this impact in the future; they want to start now while they are in college. This is faith in action! My hope is that the Office of Community Engagement serves as a place of connection and support for all students, staff and faculty who wish to engage in service and learning all over the Greater Boston area.”
The Office of Community Engagement includes the following:
Gordon in Lynn (GIL)
Gordon in Lynn focuses on weekly academically based service-learning (ABSL) opportunities, primarily through the freshman Great Conversation service-learning classes. In addition, GIL continues to expand its ABSL work with faculty and students in upper-level classes through various contextual research projects, experiential learning opportunities, and internships. Finally, GIL continues to oversee Barton Hall, a living/learning community focused on the intersection of community, faith, and urban engagement.
Community Outreach Ministries (COM)
COM assists students leading their peers in volunteer service. These cocurricular opportunities are available throughout the entire North Shore and Greater Boston area, including Lynn. COM currently has six student-led ministries, although the number of student ministries each semester depends upon student initiative.
College Bound
College Bound is an educational/enrichment program for children from Lynn’s Curwin Circle, a subsidized housing development. Gordon students tutor and mentor children from kindergarten through middle school. College Bound partners with the national federal work-study program America Reads.
Advocacy and Awareness
OCE supports students, faculty and staff engaging in social justice causes through raising awareness and advocacy efforts. This could include hosting speakers, concerts, films or one-time service projects.
OCE is the campus liaison for Massachusetts Campus Compact. MACC is a coalition working to make higher education institutions vital agents of civic renewal. Through MACC, OCE administers two national educational awards. These service-for-scholarship programs include AmeriCorps VISTA and Student Leaders in Service.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuition Tales

Communication arts major Amanda Thompson ’11 of Cohasset, Massachusetts, is a finalist in an online scholarship contest, the Sallie Mae Tuition Tales videos. With five days left of voting, Amanda could win a scholarship. Please help her by registering and voting!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shack 0183

In Africa where does the need end and the blessing begin? Gordon College senior Emmanuel Arango, a biblical studies major (pictured, right), reflects on his SMP (Summer Missions Program) trip to South Africa:

Today while walking around the township of Kayamandi we met this lovely lady. Her name is Leah. Kayamandi is home to 28,000 members of South Africa’s Xhosa tribe, and today, like many winter days in Kayamandi, it rained a lot.
This is no problem for most Americans because we live in actual houses, with roofs that work. Unfortunately for Leah, whose husband died years ago, tin shack 0183 is not waterproof, and when it rains everything she owns gets soaking wet. When our team first met Leah, the entire inside of her shack was covered with water. The ground was soaking wet despite the sea of buckets covering her floor. So we did what any group of people would do. We went into town, bought plastic to cover her roof and spent the entire afternoon making sure Leah didn’t have to live in a leaky shack, sleeping in a wet bedroom. It’s my opinion that nobody should have to sleep in a soaking wet shack with rain constantly pouring in; but definitely not a sweet lady who’s old enough to be my grandmother.
Nobody may care about what our team did today. But Leah cares because she can sleep dry tonight. People may think we made no big difference since there are several thousand shacks that are still leaky and wet. But there’s one that’s not, and to Leah we made a huge difference. Others may think making a real difference means building her a real home. But to Leah tin shack 0183 is a real home. It’s her home; she’s lived in this shack for over 10 years, and it’s always been leaky until today.
To repair Leah’s shack cost about $12 and two hours of our time to listen to her story and fix her roof. All it really takes is caring enough to help meet people’s needs. Everyone can make a difference in one person’s life.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From a Classroom in Tarija to a Classroom in Wenham

Foster's Daily Democrat recently ran an article on incoming freshman Naara Arnold, a native Bolivian and her journey to attend Gordon College:

Bethany Church missions director Bob Whittet and a team of volunteers walked into a field in Tarija, Bolivia, in 2000 and saw potential through the dust and recently harvested corn stalks.
Nine years later, a school local Seacoast teens helped build is thriving in one of the most impoverished countries in South America, and one of its students is preparing to become the first Bolivian student to attend Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where Whittet is an associate professor of Christian ministries.
For 19-year-old Naara Arnold it is the realization of a dream to study art, and for Whittet it is fulfillment of a career spent helping local teens learn through giving to others.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Serving Inmates in Their Darkest Hour

She started as a housewife without a clear sense of what she should be doing with her life and ended up a chaplain serving state prisons. Pam Moore ’87 has been involved in ministry since she left Gordon and says some of the finest people she’s known have worked in prisons and are doing their best with a limited amount of resources. How did she get there?
“I came to Gordon in 1982 as a young housewife with two small children, knowing I was being called to ministry but not knowing what that would look like. Gordon gave me an excellent education that challenged me intellectually, emotionally and spiritually and prepared me for studying for a Master of Divinity degree in pastoral counseling at Ashland Theological Seminary—finishing with honors while being a wife and mother and preparing for chaplaincy. I got a job as a staff pastor in a local church while simultaneously getting involved in pastoral counseling opportunities. I received my Ohio licensure as an LPC and was working in the field when I felt the Lord’s call to chaplaincy. I followed his call and was ordained and nationally endorsed as a correctional chaplain for the Assemblies of God denomination in 2000, serving state prisons in Ohio and New Jersey.
“I am a Protestant chaplain, employed by the state of New Jersey. I serve Protestant inmates, but I do supervise and facilitate other religious groups. I perform all the ordinances of the church on a regular basis, including an occasional wedding and memorial service. Pastoral counseling and overall pastoral care are daily duties and part of my calling as a chaplain. I also design and teach Christian education classes and Life Change programs, and I lead worship services and oversee religious services volunteers. I also assist communities in reentry training for when an inmate is released back into the community and am involved with helping inmates reenter as well.
“The most rewarding part of my job is the people I minister to. It is a great privilege to be allowed into someone’s darkest, most painful part of their life journey—to be able to stand with them in it, to share the love and hope of Christ with them; to watch them turn toward God’s light and away from darkness is a joy beyond words. I love these people dearly.”


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gordon Leaders Speak About Modern Day Slavery on YouTube

Gordon’s Media Production Manager Anita Coco (left) has been concerned for some time about today’s global problem of human trafficking. So she teamed up with Sarah Durfey ’09 to start a modern abolitionist club on campus. They also joined David Batstone—who was Gordon’s 2009 commencement speaker—to become volunteer leaders and organizers in his international organization known as the Not for Sale Campaign.

Recently, Anita and Sarah spoke on camera with Chris Gilbert, an adjunct communication arts professor at Gordon and local filmmaker. (Their video interview is part of a series of stories Gilbert has shot with some of his former students, Chris Peters ’09, Kristin Schaertel ’09 and Jon Phelps ’08. The team—Lonideo, or local video—has covered a number of other local stories these past summer months, many of which have also aired on BevCam, the cable access television channel in Beverly, Massachusetts. Check out Anita and Sarah’s story on the Lonideo channel on YouTube!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Bruce Webb: Reflections on Charity and Truth

“As our economic troubles deepen, we are inclined to look inward, focusing exclusively on the damaging economic and psychological effects of the loss of a job or a home—and this is understandable. Yet the difficulties we face—real and damaging as they are—cannot compare to those of the world’s poor who struggle on a daily basis for mere survival. Christians must be ever mindful of Jesus’ call to ‘serve the least of these.’” Read more of this essay by Bruce Webb, professor of economics at Gordon, in Comment Online, the journal of CARDUS, a think tank.