Snapshots from Gordon’s Virtual Homecoming

When it became clear that Gordon would need to adjust business as usual for the fall semester due to the global pandemic, the College made a quick pivot to host Homecoming and Family Weekend in a brand-new way: virtually. Seeking to keep the best elements of a Gordon Homecoming on the menu, the College collaborated with faculty, staff and friends to produce not only a classic Homecoming experience, but an event that would reach a wider audience than ever.

The result was Gordon’s first-ever virtual Homecoming, prompting more than 1,000 people to register for online events that ranged from guest speakers and faculty talks to art shows and a theatre arts performance. Even though the weekend is over, you can still view the events on Gordon’s Homecoming YouTube playlist. To offer a preview of what you can enjoy, The Bell gathered some Homecoming highlights. Read about the events and enjoy them for yourself:

Sheila Wise Rowe | Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience

As a longtime counselor, spiritual director and educator, Sheila Wise Rowe has ministered internationally to many black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). Over 25 years, she’s heard a lot of stories, many of them dealing with racial trauma. In January, she published some of these stories, along with her own, in Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience, to serve as a guide for addressing pain and suffering caused by racism and show how doing so can pave the way for true reconciliation.

At the start of her Homecoming address, Rowe explained the toll that racism can take on a person’s mind and body. The list of symptoms that can stem from racial trauma is long and includes fear, aggression, depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, nightmares, difficulty concentrating and addictions. Yet sometimes when BIPOC voice their experiences of racism, said Rowe, “We’re told, ‘That’s not what [you experienced]’ or that we should get over it. The pain we’ve endured gets minimized.”

Rowe said she has observed a habit of rushing ahead to reconciliation and skipping past the step when people impacted by racism share their stories and experiences of trauma. “Reconciliation is the heart of God, and we should pursue reconciliation,” she said. “However, when we rush, when we do these perfunctory activities—which can be very moving, like washing people’s feet—there is a way in which it doesn’t address the trauma that people carry. It’s unresolved. And it affects our ability to have a true reconciliation.”

Hear Rowe’s advice for healing and reconciliation >

A Conversation with Keith and Kristyn Getty of Getty Music

Joining President Michael Lindsay for a conversation all the way from Northern Ireland, renowned hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty shared pieces of their journey from university students to award-winning musicians.

The Gettys’ path to hymn writing grew from a desire to bring the beauty of Scripture into modern Christian music. “We’re living in an exciting generation,” said Keith. “Most times in history have songs going along with them, and our generation didn’t have that. The opportunities that we have for the gospel today are greater than they have ever been.”

In times when struggles feel overwhelming, the Gettys shared that maintaining spiritual rhythms—hymns, Scripture and togetherness—has helped their family nourish their faith. “The things that have always been true for a believer walking with the Lord are still true,” Kristyn said. “Those core disciplines in the spiritual walk are to remain with us and to grow and flourish throughout our whole life. The simple practices of prayer and Bible reading—the normal disciplines of life—remain as critical as ever.”

Listen to the Gettys’ stories, including a performance of “He Will Hold Me Fast” >

Courage in Crisis: Alumni Stories of Courage in their Vocations

For Adam MacLeod ’97, courage is pushing through a protesting crowd to give a legislative hearing. For Seulgi Byun ’97 it’s standing for Scripture amid cynical views of Christian orthodoxy. And for Tatenda Makoni ’17, courage is daily remembering that her work in the medical field is a deeply personal call from God. Center for Faith and Inquiry (CFI) Director Bill Barker ’98 hosted a panel exploring different types of courage and how each informs the lives of three alumni who work in wide-ranging fields: law, theology and medicine. Each with unique backgrounds, the panelists discussed the role of courage in their careers and modern issues like racism and COVID-19, continually expressing the necessity of rooting courage in “a robust doctrine of God.”

Watch their discussion >

Scot Talks: A Trip to the Archives

Archival Attendant Sarah Larlee St. Germain ’17 shared some of her favorite artifacts from the Gordon College Archives. Some notable pieces were drawn from the Edward Payson Vining Collection, which has over 7,000 books, manuscripts and letters from the 12th to early 20th century in 140 languages. She also showed a portrait of A. J. Gordon taken in the 1890s that was donated to the College by his daughter and an 1880s silver tea set owned by Gordon and his wife, Maria.

Watch the Scot Talk >

Scot Talks: Beauty from Ashes & JAF Panel Discussion

In a time of widespread suffering, is it barbaric to look for beauty? Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in the Fine Arts Bruce Herman posed this question to a panel of Jerusalem and Athens Forum (JAF) students and faculty. They discussed beauty in myriad forms, from the coronavirus under a microscope to artistic depictions of Christ’s crucifixion. Beauty, the discussants said, is a social tool—a way of drawing people together even when times are difficult. The ever-present, social and uplifting nature of beauty and art remains: “Beauty is such that we can’t really enjoy it fully without wanting to share it,” Herman said.

Watch the Scot Talk and panel >

Scot Talks: Pluralism and Forgiveness Across Cultures

Professor of Psychology Kaye Cook has done extensive research on how cultural modernizations impact beliefs across cultures. Now, she is uncovering what forgiveness looks like across the world. “We express our love for one another in ways that are shaped by our culture and our faith,” she said. “. . . When we forgive, we forgive in a way that reflects God so that others will understand and feel that love. It might be different for a child than an adult, it might be different for an Indonesian than an American.”

Watch the Scot Talk >

Homecoming weekend may be over, but you can continue to watch and enjoy all the offerings on Gordon’s Homecoming 2020 YouTube channel >

Ellian Chalfant ’22 (communication arts) and Anna Kinkade ’21 (psychology and communication arts) also contributed to this article.