Relearning the Language of Courage, Faith, and Hope; Reflections from the Wait Fellowship Visit
I came to the Wait Fellowship visit a day early in order to attend the Food, Faith and Justice Conference. I thought this would provide an opportunity to observe the interaction between the School of Divinity and surrounding communities. The conference contained a mixture of students, local leaders, and advocates, all of whom provided their own insights about social justice. Some were involved in other (than food) avenues of social justice, but everyone spoke the same action language of the conference: courage, faith and hope.
The following day was packed with classroom visits, lunches and gatherings with faculty and students, and ended on Friday with an introduction to the Art of Ministry and a campus tour. Although weather prohibited the tour, everything was well planned and executed. The visit culminated, for the individual, on “the interview”
I attended two classes on Thursday. Both classes were vibrant and they were more interactive with the sharing of thoughts, concepts, ideas and understandings rather than a question and answer dialogue. Because of the diverse student population and wealth of knowledge of the instructors, the classes provided a breadth of wisdom. I began to see how the Wake Forest learning environment is transformational given the dynamic teaching method and personal exchanges between the faculty and students.
Thursday mid-day we attended weekly coffee hour. During the course of things, I was descended upon by fellow Disciples of Christ and was touched. I did not reveal my denomination to anyone with the exception of the admissions interview yet they welcomed me. This brought about a feeling of inclusivity. I also mentioned during the acceptance interview, that I was getting married the following Saturday. This became a catalyst for conversations and friendly banter wherever I went. I was also impressed that everyone remembered the names of us visitors, even if we met just once. I felt welcomed as a part of the community and that folks at Wake Forest have a genuine interest in people.
Following coffee hour we had lunch with Dean O’Day and the faculty. I observed the interaction among the faculty and saw how comfortable they were with one another, much like the comfort in the classroom I experienced earlier that morning. There was a great sense of camaraderie. The side-bar conversations I had with some of the professors reflected the legitimacy and authenticity of my observations in the classrooms. Everyone I met at Wake Forest was genuine. There was a palpable and subtle language in the spirit of Wake Forest that indicated it is a people place. I was tremendously moved by the spirit and I realized that it was the method and process of the visit which brought about this spiritual movement. I felt that something good was happening at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity and I wanted to be a part of it.
At dinner on Thursday night, it was obvious that all of who were invited to the Wait Fellowship Visit had become more comfortable. We were now speaking the Wake Forest language. Our language was uninhibited and motivating as opposed to our initial language of apprehension and uncertainty. I believe that because of how the visit was organized and the inclusive, genuine community of Wake Forest, we were all speaking the same language at dinner. The “interview” was no longer the centerpiece of our discussions. Wake Forest had become the focal point.
That Friday, as things were wrapping up, I made a conclusion about the language on campus. Everyone was saying,
welcome to Wake Forest, where you are invited to share all of your hope, courage and faith with everyone, for everyone.”
Cura Personalis, Pro Humanitate.
Go Demon Deacons, go MDiv… hoo-rah!
Incoming Student, Fall 2013
Highlands Ranch, Colorado