Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Many Faces of Gordon [at SoulFest]

Well, here we are, with three days under our collective belt and another one well underway. As our blue "This Is Different" Gordon College t-shirts have yielded cyan-saturated throngs of SoulFestians, and as our street teamers repeatedly become the life of whatever party they enact upon an unsuspecting crowd, perhaps I should take some time to reflect on the deeper significance of it all. What does Gordon bring to SoulFest, aside from colorful shirts and unexpected prizes?

Submitted for your consideration:

On Stage
Chances are if you've been at SoulFest for more than a couple hours, you'll recognize Dan Stevens ’07 (pictured above). This Gordon alum is the face of the festival's Inside Out stage, and also helms the College's daily giveaway. Dan takes his Revival stage time opportunities to outline some of his favorite things about Gordon, most recently waxing poetic about the food in Lane Student Center: "Gordon College: Good food, good prizes, happy SoulFest."

Dan is also one half of In The Car Media, a Beverly-based video production company Dan runs with David Ells ’07 that made the past two year's SoulFest video pieces.

In The Tents
I learned about the amazing work of Boston nonprofit Amirah last SoulFest, when I spoke with Sarah Durfey ’08 at length about her role in the Hub's abolitionist network. Sarah is a board member for the organization, which operates a safe house for women escaping human trafficking. This year, Amirah has it's own booth up here, and they're a Revival stage sponsor right alongside Gordon, and Sarah is up supporting their efforts as a volunteer at their table. Her work here, of course, is in addition to her full-time role as director of the Abolitionist Network at Emmanuel Gospel Center in Boston.

As Speakers
I've had the privilege to sit in on three great talks given by Gordon faculty and staff. Thursday we heard Professor of Chemistry Irv Levy speak on the changing landscape of the "green" movement. He cautioned the audience to be conscious consumers, not being indiscriminately taken in by "greenwashing"—putting green or "natural" labels on products with no verifiable advantage for the environment or human health—but instead to do some research and find out how we can each reduce, reuse and recycle most effectively. 

Susanne McCarron, program coordinator for the College's Core curriculum and The Great Conversation, discussed the growing trend of fatherlessness and the challenges it poses to children and their mothers. McCarron stressed that this is an issue churches need to be aware of, and one that we need to react to with an increased focus on pursuing mentoring opportunities. 

And today, I listened as Associate Professor of Christian Ministries Bob Whittet reframed what many would see as the misfortune of New England Christianity—namely, that there are demographically fewer of us than in much of the rest of the country—as a tremendous opportunity to be examples and light-bearers of Christ. He encouraged us to be bold, remembering that through the Cross and the Resurrection we have been made worthy, even when we face challenges to our faith.

In short, Gordon at SoulFest as many faces. They're silly, they're serious, they're compelling. They're all different.

Photo: Dan Stevens ’07 running Gordon's daily giveaway on the Gordon-sponsored Revival stage.

John Mirisola ’11 is a Gordon alum and staff writer for the College. Follow along this week as he blogs about all things Gordon College at SoulFest.

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