By Sarah Tanner
PUC’s newly christened Community Speaker Series (familiarly called “Community”) held its opening convocation in the PUC church in early October. Previously called Colloquy, the goal of Community is indicated in its title: to build a network of close-knit relationships between students and faculty across the campus. Essentially, it seeks to build “ONEPUC.”
After a Community Brief video featuring athletic director Richie Silie detailing the upcoming week’s events, President Bob Cushman took to the stage to welcome new staff, faculty, and students, as well as recognize members of this year’s graduating senior class. Each group was asked to stand for applause as he recognized their role on the PUC campus.
As the audience settled into their seats, Student Association President Megan Belz read from Matthew 22:37-39 and prayed over the church family. With the message of love at the forefront, a video of chaplain Kent Rufo played in which he reminded the campus that they are all members of one body who are committed to each other as the PUC family.
President Cushman then returned to the stage with a short but impactful message that spoke to the heart of PUC’s goals as it looks toward a new academic year. He reminded listeners that humanitarian issues sit at the forefront of the college’s concerns and that PUC has a specific place in today’s time and culture.
He affirmed there is, indeed, a place for “everyday superheroes,” saying, “Love is a superpower we need in our world today.… We can serve as guardians and stewards of love.”
“Who is our neighbor today? Who do we need to take care of?” he asked. “Jesus is calling us to love without respect to our differences.… Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything in return.”
He closed by recounting the various ways in which staff, faculty, and students have found recent opportunities to serve their community members, and then he invited contemporary Christian performing artist Elias Dummer to the stage for a final song, which he performed accompanied by members of PUC’s Vox Pro Musica.
Students were then invited to gather on the expansive lawn in front of the church to form the letters PUC, and an aerial photograph was taken by an overhead drone. As the school year unfolds, there is no doubt students and staff will remain committed to building a stronger community throughout all their campus relationships.