Inspiration

Chaplain’s Corner

It’s Christmas season here at Bryn Athyn College.  You can feel the spirit growing with the students as we approach Christmas day.  Our chapel offering have been building up to the day of the Lord’s birth with special messages in our services, candle lighting, singing, and offering the deeper meaning of the Christmas story as it applies directly to our individual lives.

One of these deeper meanings is about the angels telling the shepherds that they would find the child, “wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).  New Church teachings tell us that, on a personal level, a “manger” represents instruction, and that “swaddling clothes” symbolize “first truths.” (See Apocalypse Explained, paragraph #706.)  A person is led to see the Lord in his or her life by learning of him, through instruction of the first truths, which are the basic doctrines about the Lord, love to the neighbor, and useful service.  The Lord is born into our hearts in this way, as we behold the Savior of the world.

Instruction in the spiritual teachings of the New Church gives each student an opportunity to come to Bethlehem, so to speak, and to behold him.  To sense the presence of the divine providence working in their lives, to turn toward the neighbor with love and kindness, and to learn in all instruction at Bryn Athyn College to find meaningful useful service in this world, is all part of this.  As ministers at the college, our interaction with students begins here, with these first truths from which to build upon, leading to deeper truths as students continue their progress through the terms and through the years.  Our calling is to  invite all to come to a place where they can connect with their God, and grow in a relationship with him and with one another that brings good into the world.  Our Christmas hope is that many will, as did the shepherds on that Christmas night, “return, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20).

 

-Rev. Grant Schnarr, Chaplain

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Chaplain’s Corner

In October, our Wednesday chapel services have followed the New Church Journey series “Practicing Forgiveness.” I’ve been struck by the beautiful balance in the teachings on forgiveness. We are to forgive not just up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22). But this does not mean that we ignore the harm done to us or let evil go unchecked; Jesus said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him.” (Matthew 18:15). Part of seeking reconciliation involves acknowledging that harm has been done. It is challenging to live by these teachings — to wish well to those who have hurt us and at the same time to seek justice — but when everyone is committed to these ideals, our communities find healing. It is a central New Church teaching that mercy and justice are not opposed to each other; they make one, as love and wisdom do. In the words of Psalm 85, “Mercy and truth have met together; justice and peace have kissed.” It’s inspiring to be part of a community that seeks to live these teachings.

 

-Rev. Coleman Glenn, Assistant Chaplain

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FeelGood Raffle Extravaganza

FeelGood is raffling off ten amazing baskets to anyone who is smart enough to buy tickets! These baskets are filled with a range of exciting things, from tasty treats to gift cards. Sponsors such as Jules Thin Crust, Allways Cafe, Huntingdon Valley Crossfit, the Trenton Thunder, and All Aboard Cafe have generously donated to the cause, and the BAC FeelGood chapter is excited to give these prizes to the lucky winners on Tuesday evening, May 23rd.

Buy your tickets online or in person at the Bounty Farmers Market on Saturday, May 20th, or at the Residence Life BBQ on Tuesday, May 23rd, where the drawing will take place (you do not have to be present at the raffle drawing in order to win).

When you buy a raffle ticket, what does your money go toward? Ending poverty and hunger on a global scale through an inspiring and community-building mechanism called FeelGood!

FeelGood is a youth-led movement turning students’ college years into a time of effective global action. On campuses across the country, students run a successful social enterprise—a grilled cheese deli— to raise money and build public support for the end of extreme hunger and poverty. In the process students gain critical business, leadership, and teamwork skills that serve them throughout their lives.

Chloe Kund, co-founder of the FeelGood BAC chapter, is proud to say that to date $19,000 has been raised on the BAC campus. An avid supporter of the FeelGood initiative, Chloe has been a student volunteer, a counselor at the FeelGood summer conference, and for the past two years she has served as a FeelGood “changemaker ignitor.” Years ago Chloe fell in love with the FeelGood mission and didn’t want to stop being a part of it after graduating in 2014. She says, “It’s something that fuels me– it’s a very bright spot in my life that connects me to a movement I believe in.” Chloe will be serving as the BAC “changemaker ignitor” next year as well, helping more students help others.

Maia Wyncoll is the marketing and PR chair for the BAC FeelGood chapter. She volunteers her time and talent because she wants to make a difference. She says, “It’s easy to get caught up in the mentality that as a college student I can’t make an impression on the world…but FeelGood has helped me see that each person can have a good impact, and as a team working toward a common goal we can have an incredible impact.” Maia’s work with FeelGood has brought her out of her comfort zone and helped  her make good friends both on the BAC campus and across the US and Canada through the FeelGood network. She’s also found an internship through this experience that she is very excited about!

To learn more about FeelGood, go here.  Remember to buy your raffle tickets!

 

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Warm Up America!

Over the past three months, students, faculty, staff, and library-goers have been knitting colorful squares to be assembled into an afghan for the charity project Warm Up America! Andi Sibley, reference and user services librarian at the Swedenborg Library, heard about the project and liked the way they encourage local involvement.

Sibley says, “Warm Up America! encourages communities to come together to knit and crochet and then donate their products to local hospitals, shelters, or charities, so we are giving it to the Bryn Athyn Cares refugee group. We love that we are able to do this fun project and give it to a local family.”

Tykah Echols, a student at Bryn Athyn College, works at the library and knitted four panels for the afghan. She says, “I had almost forgotten how much I love to knit when the knitting table appeared at the library and I got an excuse to do it again!” She has been knitting since she was about five years old, having learned by watching her mom knit for hours on end. Tykah says, “It was so wonderful rediscovering this craft that I have enjoyed all my life. Plus, the final product is not only useful, but beautiful too!”

This project was such a hit that it will likely return next winter. Sibley says that librarians are always interested in finding ways in the library to offer creative outlets for stress relief, like the coloring table that is set up on the main floor. Other ideas have come up, like doing a lego table or board games and tech toys. She adds, “Yarn arts seemed like an easy way to get started, have fun, and be creative.”

While students, staff, and other library guests benefit from the stress relief of crafting, the refugee family receiving the blanket will have a warm reminder of the goodwill and support from their local community.

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BAC Alumna Teaching, Exploring, and Blogging in Japan

Jamera McNeil (BA ’15) has been living in Tokyo for the past year, working as an assistant language teacher. She sent us a letter recently, giving us a quick update on her life. Needless to say, it was exciting to get a letter from Japan, and even more thrilling to see that it was from this lovely lady!

While at Bryn Athyn College, Jamera was known for her sharp intellect and utterly delightful giggle. She was a history major, an RA (resident assistant), and also served as a student ambassador for a number of years. Teaching in Japan has been challenging but stimulating, and her time living in a foreign country has stoked continued interest in future opportunities abroad. We can’t wait to catch up with Jamera this summer to write a full-blown article on this marvelous person and her fantastic journeys. For now, check out her classy blog: the muggle chronicles.

 

 

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