Alum Anticipates Casey Weekend August 21-23

In June, Wayne Kenney '67 and Ruth Tuthill Kenney '70 returned to their adopted hometown of Seattle after 12 years in the state of Pennsylvania. Along with the other benefits of life in the Pacific Northwest, they eagerly anticipate being able to spend time with their two sons, Don Kenney '96 and Dale Kenney '97.

For the Kenneys, an appreciation for family extends to the annual gathering of the SPU family at Casey each summer. This year, for the first time, the event has been moved from Labor Day weekend to August 21-23. All alumni and their families are welcome. For information or reservations, call 206/281-ALUM.

A Chosen Family
By Wayne Kenney

"You can choose your friends, but not your family!"

There are small families and large families. One couple in our community celebrated their anniversary with 64 family members in four generations, all living within 10 miles of one another. Some extended families are so large and so scattered that they can only gather once a year at a retreat center.

Some families are small. The national average of 2.5 children doesn't yield much of an extended family. For such as these, a family gathering means stretching out the dining table and putting the little kids around a card table.

Whether large or small, listen to the conversation among family members. You'll hear stories and laughter about past experiences and adventures. Strong families love to entertain and serve each other. They can engage serious conversation, debate ideas, and share the personal challenges that come in health, career and faith.

I remember going to family reunions as a kid. What fun it was to gather every August at the old farmhouse in northern Michigan. The sound of a car pulling into the driveway brought an excited announcement of which aunt and uncle were arriving. Sunday breakfast in the big kitchen was an event! And the Sunday afternoon banquet picnic laid out on boards and sawhorses on the lawn was a feast indeed!

At any family gathering, you may hear the familiar lament that you cannot choose your family. You're stuck with some relationships you would never have chosen. True enough. But my inspiration for writing this is that we can make some choices about family. First, we can choose to value and nurture our own family. We can choose to close the distance of miles through phone calls and travel. We can listen and talk, encourage, trust and pray. We can move. After twelve years in Pennsylvania, Ruth and I are coming home to Seattle. It's a family decision first of all. We're choosing closeness and proximity.

It is also a matter of getting closer to our chosen family: Seattle Pacific. And high on our list of things to do this summer is attending the "SPU family reunion" at Camp Casey.

We have good memories of the Alumni Weekend at Casey. Our first experience was in '69. Married just two months, we were the youngest alums and took some gentle teasing. But we made friends then that continue today. In '83 and '85 we introduced our sons to the SPU family at Casey Weekends. Now, after 14 years, we're looking forward to the '98 Alumni Weekend at Camp Casey.

Here's a family you can choose, too. Choice people; a chosen family. It's a family reunion of the finest kind!

A Year to Remember: The Marston Men of 1973-74

In 1973-74, Seattle Pacific's Marston Hall went co-ed for the first time and 30 men either volunteered for or were assigned to one floor of the formerly all-women's dormitory. The men's leader was 21-year-old R.A. (resident assistant) Greg Asimakoupoulos.

Twenty-five years later, Asimakoupoulos has done an informal survey, discovering that as many as half of those Marston men eventually took up careers in ministry-related fields, a fact he finds extraordinary.

"There was a spiritual revival on the entire campus that year," says Asimakoupoulos, who is now director of creative communications for the Chapel of the Air in Wheaton, Illinois. "But on that floor, there was something unique happening, a hunger for spiritual things."

Darrell Dahlman, worship director at East Hill Four Square Church in Portland, Oregon, agrees. A freshman assigned to the men's floor in Marston, he remembers it as a pivotal year. "There were a lot of changes everywhere -- Watergate, Vietnam -- and we understood that we needed to be accountable."

David Hicks, associate pastor at First Free Methodist Church on campus, recalls a special camaraderie among his Marston floor-mates. "But then, we were surrounded by women," he laughs, adding that the men invented a "fraternity" called the Alpha Guys.

Both Hicks and Dahlman credit Asimakoupoulos with leadership by example. "He modeled the Christian life for us in every way," says Hicks. When the year ended, everyone moved on, yet something of that time remains in the lives and vocations of the Marston men.

"I really don't think that year was happenstance," concludes Dahlman. "I believe what happened then was divine."

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