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Spring 2008 | Volume 31, Number 1 | Campus

A New Day for SPU Chapel Program

Worship, relationship, investment

Director of the SPU Office of University Ministries Stephen Newby.
Stephen Newby is the new director of the Office of University Ministries and Center for Worship at SPU.
“If you’re a Christian believer, it’s time to step up and get involved,” Stephen Newby told students at the beginning of Autumn Quarter. “And if you’re not, please come gather with us, and we’ll all learn more about the amazing story of God’s love and work in the world. It’s a brand new day!”

Newby, director of Seattle Pacific University’s newly formed Office of University Ministries and Center for Worship (OUM/CFW), is helping to lead a re-imagined, campuswide program in Christian community formation. The program provides all members of the SPU community — students, faculty, and staff — with opportunities to gather together, to develop deeper relationships, and to serve the world. But Newby has a special vision for students.

“SPU is a place for students to worship and practice reconciliation,” he says. “It’s an opportunity for them to learn to love God and to love their neighbors as themselves. And it’s a place where they can get involved in ministry in a most extraordinary way.”

SPU’s mission to engage the culture begins in worship and immersion in the Christian story, explains Newby. Campus community gatherings include Tuesday morning Chapel as well as Wednesday night “group”; Friday morning prayer and communion; Sunday “Nights of Worship”; and a variety of forums and lectures.

As part of these gatherings, the staff of OUM/CFW joins with the School of Theology and guest speakers to offer a program of ongoing biblical and theological education.

During Autumn Quarter, for instance, Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies Robert Wall presented a three-part Chapel lecture series on knowing Scripture. “We learn Scripture to learn God, so that in our obedience God’s Spirit re-forms and transforms us into faithful followers of God’s resurrected Son,” Wall said to several hundred listeners in First Free Methodist Church.

Relationship-building is the second of OUM/CFW’s three emphases. “Everyone needs opportunities to know others and to be known by them,” says Newby. “Our theme for the year is ‘Being the People of God.’ Indi- vidual lives are transformed when people learn how to live in relationship with one another.” Opportunities include small groups, cadres, intentional-living communities, and one-on-one mentoring relationships.

Enriched by Christian community and meaningful relationships, students, faculty, and staff are able to invest in God’s work in the world, says OUM Associate Director Matthew Koenig: “This investment is encouraged through The 37five Project, which empowers students to distribute $37,500 to nonprofit organizations in the local community and beyond.”

In Autumn Quarter, $375 grants went to a collection of agencies, such as the Union Gospel Mission and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “It gives you a chance to get together with others, listen to what God is telling you, and give a part of yourselves to others who need your help,” says freshman Kim Schwannecke, who joined a team to raise support for an orphanage in Nepal.

Newby’s enthusiasm for his new job stems, in part, from a close involvement with SPU students as assistant professor of music and director of the Gospel Choir. “I have a vision in which students embrace the word of God — and live it,” he says. “When I see our students engaging in campaigns for children with AIDS or raising money for building water wells in Africa, I’m seeing spiritual revival. I think they’re ready for something real, for a new day. Not just at SPU, but in the world.”

—Photo by Nick Onken

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Department Highlights

New Leadership
SPU welcomes new theology dean, Doug Strong, Ph.D.

The “Oscar” for Educators
School of Education wins national “Model of Excellence” award.

Faculty, Students Offer Hope in Rural West Virginia
Faculty and graduate students helped local educators.

A New Day for SPU Chapel Program
Students receive a chance to distribute $37,500.

Reconciled Concert Welcomes John Perkins
SPU’s Gospel Choir and Wind Symphony joined for an exciting concert.

Challenge Your Mind in April
SPU is the place to be in April 2008 — with three major lectures.

Palmer’s Secrets for Preaching Great Sermons
Rev. Earl Palmer speaks to area church leaders.