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BSA Celebrates "Unity with Diversity"

February 24, 2011

February is Black History Month, but Gordon-Conwell’s Black Student Association decided they wanted a broader theme for the series of events they organized for the Hamilton campus earlier this month.

“We didn’t want to just do an event that celebrated black history,” said Devon McCarley, first-year M.Div. student and chair of the BSA. “We wanted to celebrate all of our diversity and do an event that would bring us all together.”

The BSA, a student group intended to connect Africans and African-Americans on campus, chose the theme “Unity with Diversity” and tried to incorporate multiple cultures into each event.

At an evening chapel service, three students prayed in different languages: Spanish, Russian, Creole and English. Professor Quonekuia Day, Instructor in Old Testament, spoke on Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10.

“She was an amazing speaker,” said Bryan White, third-year M.Div. student. “Her message was that this passage shows us that diversity is not something to be feared or ignored.”

Later in the week there was a prayer breakfast and forum. Worship included songs sung in Korean; Dari, one of the languages spoken in Afghanistan; and Chichewa, spoken in Malawi.

“Although you did not fully understand what was being said, you could still feel the power and know that God was being glorified,” said McCarley.

The forum speakers also represented the breadth of the Gordon-Conwell community. Yukari Hata, a Japanese student, spoke about her personal experiences. Patrick Smith, Assistant Professor of Theology and Philosophy, addressed the theology of diversity. Dr. Donna Petter, Assistant Professor of Old Testament, exhorted attendees on the practical Biblical principles for living in unity with diversity.

“Every time I looked into the audience, the theme, unity with diversity, was literally what I saw,” McCarley said. “There was black, white, Asian, Hispanic, sitting at the tables together. There was not majority or minority. It was all of God’s people.”

“This is the way God intended it to be,” said Dean of Students, Lita Schlueter. “And this is what makes Gordon-Conwell such an excellent seminary: we are seeking to be global and it starts here.”