Fuller community celebrates school year with annual event
Dr. Mouw gives the benediction at Festival of Beginnings 2011
The First United Methodist Church of Pasadena was bustling
with students, faculty, staff and alumni of Fuller Seminary on Wednesday for
the school’s annual Festival of Beginnings to celebrate the new school year.
Music filled the morning air as the faculty, dressed in full
regalia, filed into the sanctuary to the singing of hymns. Students sat
shoulder-to-shoulder with campus staff and alumni. A special section was given
to members of the 1961 – 1963 classes here celebrating a collective 50th reunion.
This year marks Fuller Theological Seminary’s 65th
year and President Richard J. Mouw’s twentieth and final year heading the
Dr. Mouw delivered the sermon based on this academic year’s campus-wide
theme, “More Than We Can Ask or Imagine” from Ephesians 3:14-21. Prayers were
also offered for the Schools of Theology, Psychology and Intercultural Studies
as well as for staff, administrators, alumni and donors.
This year’s Distinguished Alumnus Michael Cassidy was also
honored for being a model of global consciousness and for having “accomplished
many things for God in his life.” Refreshments and a time of fellowship on the
campus mall followed the service.
“My prayer is that this may be a year in which we learn more
at Fuller Seminary what is the breadth, length, height and depth of the love of
Jesus Christ, so that we can draw on that power that is able to accomplish
abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine,” Dr. Mouw said.
He related the story of his encounter with a missionary when
he first began at Fuller. While working overseas, said Dr. Mouw, this
missionary found that the people of a particular tribe had a tradition of always
looking to the past, present and the future.
“They talked with their ancestors. They talked with their
contemporaries. They talked with their descendants,” Dr. Mouw explained. “We,
too, need that type of conversation here at Fuller Seminary.”
Dr. Mouw encouraged the Fuller community to study,
contemplate and learn from the “saints of the past.” He noted that there are a
myriad of important topics in the history of the church that can be studied,
like the history of preaching, evangelism and counseling. “We need all the help
we can get from the past,” Dr. Mouw said.
Present day brothers and sisters also have a lot to offer.
Conversations with peers all over the Christian spectrum can broaden
perspectives, according to Dr. Mouw, who added that the Fuller community is
fortunate to be led and inspired by people from many nations. Contemporaries
also have much to say about things such as neuroscience, the varieties of
Islamic life and counseling in China, Dr. Mouw said.
Lastly, Dr. Mouw challenged Fuller family and friends to look
into the future and imagine what the Fuller community in 2077 – another 65
years from now -- would have to say about the progress the students of 2012 made.
He shared his hope that when the Fuller of 2077 looks back at the Fuller of
2012, they will be impressed by the school’s desire to use their talents,
gifts, and studies to do “more than they could ever ask or imagine.”
Watch Dr. Mouw's sermon here.