This week is faculty and staff appreciation week, sponsored by our Office of Spiritual Formation. Led by Rev. Angulus Wilson, the department has been sending out notes and visiting the faculty and staff or the university and led a College Hour worship time focused on the theme. The worship team was composed of staff and faculty, most of the graduates of FPU. And Rev. Wilson did a bit of preaching.
At the center of the time was a video of student appreciation for their professors. What an uplifting piece! Not only because it thanked professors for their personal attention to students, but because they helped students learn—in the sciences, in general education history and Bible class, in business, in social work, in math, in psychology—and they recognized that they are here for this purpose. Check out video of the service (find the video for November 14 under the “on demand” tab, and jump to 26 minutes and 45 seconds to see the student video embedded in the service).
But don’t miss the brief sermon/personal statement by Rev. Wilson who told of the teachers in high school, at Fresno City College, and at Fresno Pacific who helped him turn his life around, learn how to be a successful student, to enter a profession, and to find his calling. It comes up right after the student video. Angulus’ story is dramatic. Not many will have such a story to tell. But he portrays so well the power of a good teacher to touch the lives of students personally, spiritually and academically that he demonstrates through his own experience what our faculty strive to be available for, to do and to be. We often do not know the whole story. We know only small bits of the need and hear about how students have received what we have taught and what we have said sometimes only long afterwards. (We teach by faith, I suppose.)
Angulus closed the service with a prayer for the faculty and staff—students had already prayed in pairs for their professors. He prayed for professors to have wisdom and understanding, to be able to teach well, for their scholarship and thanked God for how hard they work in their teaching and advising of students. He prayed for their families. He knows that the commitment of a professor at Fresno Pacific is a commitment of the whole family. It is a calling that pervades all of our lives. We are here late for concerts, games, study sessions, and dramatic performances. We are here early for meetings and classes. He prayed for wisdom and discernment for us as we as professors work with students. He prayed for the staff who make it all work, and support the mission of teaching and learning.
He got it more than just right. No Dean or Provost could have gotten it better (and we are supposed to be able to articulate our purpose and profession whenever we are asked in whatever depth required). The calling to the professoriate is a high calling, and at a Christian school it brings with it the added burden and privilege of guiding students in learning and in life with all of its struggles, deepest yearnings and highest aspirations. In the service this morning, we experienced how the co-curricular program, the spiritual side of the campus, is an integral part of the learning of a Christian university. Students and all who were at the service experienced being part of a people dedicated to learning as a religious calling, a Christian community of learners together as the Fresno Pacific University Idea says, and to service as the final outcome of that learning.
Thank you Office of Spiritual Formation and Rev. Wilson.