By: Maria Monteros
From Sept. 24-27, Spiritual Deepening Week will explore spiritual freedom with the general superintendent of the Church of Nazarene David A. Busic as speaker.
Busic, who has held the highest office of the Church of the Nazarene since 2013 and was previously the president of Nazarene Theological Seminary, will be given the flexibility to discuss either a topic of his choice or around this year’s theme “Free at last.”
Busic expressed his fondness for the Trevecca community the last time Shawna Songer-Gaines, university chaplain and assistant professor of Christian worship met him.
“I know that [Busic] is an excellent preacher and executer of scripture. And so, whatever he does, I know and trust he’s going to bring something about scripture to light in a way that we haven’t encountered it before,” she said.
The idea behind the bi-yearly event embodies the theme itself, said Songer-Gaines.
Throughout the week, faculty members were encouraged not to schedule major tests, the athletics department to put games on hold and the student body to set this week aside for worship.
“One of the things that I hope to challenge about the notion of freedom is that freedom is not merely an absence of external restraints,” said Songer-Gaines. “Following after God in a really significant way sets us free from living for just, you know, today and this moment . . . for a life that is bigger and fuller.”
Jake Beard, senior religion major and ASB chaplain, said Spiritual Deepening Week this fall is a “monumental time” for many students that left their home for Trevecca with “a lot of guilt and shame.” Beard hopes this event’s strong emphasis on freedom in Christ will allow students to be free from the chains holding them back.
“[This week is for us] to remember why we come to this place called Trevecca. It’s really a time at the beginning of the semester where the entire student body can get on the same page, where we can be vulnerable with each other, where we can be set free together,” he said.
Spiritual Deepening Week is held every semester. And while it happens at same time and place as average chapel hours, the expectation around a week of service allows students to better engage in worship, said Songer-Gaines.
Songer-Gaines hopes students will find time for silence amidst their busy schedules and find the connection between Spiritual Deepening Week and the education they receive at Trevecca.
“[In a Christian liberal arts university] you’re free to explore all kinds of different disciplines and thoughts and things like that. Well, worship offers . . . a really true and broad sense of freedom. When we find ourselves free to worship, that’s a really important part of liberal arts opportunity that we do here at a Christian university,” she said.