Friday, October 15, 2010

Starting the Year Off Right

In addition to my blogging here, I have been asked to contribute a weekly entry to the official Fuller Blogs site.  Check it out, but if you just want to see only my stuff, you can do that, too.  Better yet, if you have Facebook, you can follow the site (and Transforming Seminarian, also!) via the NetworkBlogs app.  I'd really appreciate if folks would confirm that I'm one of the authors on the Fuller site (and if you know one of the other authors, let them know, too), as that will give me greater flexibility in promoting it.

The following is an entry I posted to Fuller Blogs just over a week ago.

Before the Festival of Beginnings. Before Fall classes start. Before new students have started to arrive on campus, Fuller kicks off the new academic year with the annual Faculty/Staff Welcome.

The event has two major components. The first is a breakfast, usually held in the breezeway of the School of Psychology building (officially called the C. Davis and Annette Weyerhaeuser building, but pretty much no one actually uses that name much). The Deans, Vice Presidents and other administrators traditionally act as servers, providing coffee and orange juice for staff while they eat, and President Mouw and his wife, Phyllis, go from table to table to personally welcome the people who work behind the scenes to make sure that Fuller does the work it is called to do.

As people eat and enjoy the fellowship of fellow staff members from all over campus, there is traditionally some kind of game or activity present to get people thinking about some aspect of Fuller that the administrators want to highlight that year. A few years ago, this involved trading cards featuring people who have figured prominently in Fuller’s history. This year, we were given small potted plants, intended to tie in with the theme chosen for the year: “Joyful, Patient, Faithful.” This is (as those who attended the Festival of Beginnings during Week 1 may remember) a reference to Romans 12:12. We were then encouraged to go to one of several tables set up in the breezeway to decorate our paper pot however we saw fit. I made mine look somewhat like a Jack-o-Lantern, considering that Fall was just about to begin.

After breakfast, everyone goes inside Travis Auditorium to enjoy the second major component of the annual welcome event: corporate worship. Again, the theme chosen for the year is highlighted, as everyone sings praise songs and hymns and President Mouw gives a brief welcome sermon discussing ways in which we find joy in the hope of God, patience in times of hardship, and show our faithfulness as a praying community. One would hope that it would go without saying that worship is at the center of everything we do at Fuller, but I find that this is only true if we are intentional about making it so. The Faculty/Staff Welcome event is just one of those intentional times. If it’s not too much of a conflict of interests for me to say so (my wife is Director of Chapel, after all), I’d suggest visiting the Fuller Chapel page on Facebook to find others.

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