New Normal at Southwestern
KEENE, TEX. – In these uncharted, unprecedented and chaotic times, I pause to think about our faith. It is in our University mission statement, “to inspire knowledge, faith and service through Christ-centered education.” We talk a lot about knowledge and a lot about service, and when the academic year and world around us is running smoothly, faith seems to just come naturally.
But when chaos is rampant, what role does faith play? Donna Berkner, Ed.D., our vice president for academic administration, implored the faculty in a meeting to pray daily for discernment and be open to the Holy Spirit like never before.
During times like this, we are reminded that through the chaos, God is with us and He cares for us. When the world around us seems to be focused on fear and worry about tomorrow, faith provides a confident calm about the future; it provides a reliance on God who is in control. Faith allows us to live without fear and to be sheltered in His care though COVID-19 is all around us.
At Southwestern Adventist University, we, like everyone else, have had to stay strong in our faith and find ways to encourage our students who are now adjusting to online education and studying from their homes across the Southwestern Union and beyond.
Every day, we share virtual devotionals to continue supporting our students’ spiritual journey. Our administrators, faculty and staff members personally reach out to every student each week to check in, encourage and pray for them. A “Fighting Food and Housing Insecurity Fund” has been set up to support members of our campus family during this difficult time. Our deans host virtual challenges and events to keep campus life vibrant. While socially distanced, we remain strong in our faith and socially engaged as a campus.
I appreciate the Bible promises that keep us centered on what is most important and encourage us to be calm and not afraid amid life’s problems. I am proud of the faculty and staff who are working hard to keep our students’ faith strong. Faith can be our strength when we feel weak, faith can be our hope when no solution seems possible, and faith can be our calm when chaos surrounds us.
By Ken Shaw, President