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Faculty and Guests Host Special Presentations at Homecoming

In the midst of Homecoming festivities and fun on October 4-6, the Cairn community also had the opportunity to be challenged intellectually, professionally, and personally through three special guest presentations.  Speaking on topics ranging from art to education to urban ministry, the presenters shared years of rich experience and expertise with engaged audiences.
In the Connie A. Eastburn Gallery, artist Bryn Gillette led a tour of his “12 Doors” exhibit, a series of paintings vividly depicting renewal of Haiti and its foundational institutions.  Each piece in the series addresses one of the seven traditional sociological “spheres of influence”: family, education, the arts, business, media, government, and religion.  Discussing the purpose of the paintings, Gillette talked about the role of the artist as advocate and visionary, “speaking Kingdom words.”  Ultimately, he explained, he desires that the series inspire hope as a permanent exhibit in Haiti, after being exhibited and sparking conversation in various US venues correlating with each of the “seven spheres.”  He concluded his tour by presenting two prints as gifts:  the first to his father, the second to Cairn art professor Andrea Fiori.  This latter print, depicting the sphere of the arts, was given in tribute to the Professor Fiori’s Introduction to Painting students last spring, whose insights during a workshop with the artist profoundly influenced the piece.
Meanwhile, in the Chatlos Chapel, Department of Social Work chair Lloyd Gestoso (’92) introduced alumni John Ashmen (’74).  Since 2007, Ashmen has served as the president and CEO of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, North America’s oldest and largest network of independent, faith-based crisis shelters and addiction recovery centers.  The presentation provided an overview of the history and work of rescue missions in the US, describing the essential role of Christian hospitality in the rehabilitation of lives.  This hospitality to those in need, he insisted, is the responsibility of all Christians—a universal calling and obligation to bridge divides between people.  Case studies of homeless men and women reinforced the message that the poor are simply “people like us”—so much so that we often live side-by-side with them unaware.  Lecture attendees were equipped to further raise awareness in their communities, including suburban and rural areas, with a free gift of AGRM’s recently published multimedia small-group study,Invisible Neighbors.
Finally, in Lewis Holmes Hall, Professor Emeritus Dr. Marti MacCulloughdescribed the needs of Christian educators that drove the writing of her recent book, By Design, published by Cairn University last January.  After a brief overview of well-intended but ultimately non-transformative approaches to incorporating the Bible into the Christian classroom, Dr. MacCullough proposed an alternative: biblical worldview integration.  In order for teachers to teach their subject matter through a “biblical worldview lens,” however, they must first see their profession through that lens themselves.  To this end, attendees received a free copy of By Design—a textbook and professional development resource that guides Christian teachers through the articulation of a coherent, biblically sound philosophy of education.
Through these exhortations in the areas of art, ministry, and education, over 100 Cairn alumni were challenged both in and beyond their vocations.  In their diversity, compassion, and interdisciplinary nature, the presentations were a fitting contribution to the University’s past 100 years of commitment to biblical truth in all areas of life.


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