On Monday, August 25, 2014, Cairn University began the academic year with its traditional Convocation Chapel. As the University enters its second century of educating students to serve Christ, students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Mason Activity Center to kick off the new year by worshiping together.
The Convocation Chapel began as faculty members entered in pairs to the hearty applause of students. After the procession, Scott Cawood, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs, welcomed new and returning students, as well as faculty and staff, with the encouraging reminder: “You are here for a reason.” The Cairn community was encouraged to prepare their hearts and set their focus on Christ through prayer (led by Provost Dr. Brian Toews), worship (led by Dr. Benjamin Harding, Dean of the School of Music), and the reading of Scripture (by Rebekah Zimmerman, committee member of the Senate Development team).
President Dr. Todd J. Williams rose to welcome all present and address students for the first time this year. Inevitably, he pointed out, although some students will effortlessly excel in academics and others will thrive socially, “everyone will have spiritual struggles.” Focusing on God’s repeated charge to Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:1-9), Dr. Williams reminded the University community that we share Joshua’s reasons to respond to the challenges ahead with courage and faith.
First, “be strong and courageous,” Dr. Williams charged, “for there is work to be done.” Just as Joshua was called to lead Israel into the Promised Land, we too are called to participate in God’s work as students and members of the University community (1:6). Second, like Joshua, we are called to display the strength and courage to exercise obedience and meditate on the Word of God day and night (1:7-8). Finally, we are reminded, the source of strength and courage, both for Joshua and for the Cairn community, is the presence of God with us wherever we go (1:9).
The President’s message was followed by “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” the University hymn. As the upcoming year has begun, let us remember that all that we have been, all that we are now, and all that we will be are a result of God’s great faithfulness.