UCA Friday Vespers
Schools navigated the COVID-19 disappointments and struggles with flexibility and inventiveness.
One blessing that came from this inventiveness was the growing involvement of student led vespers at Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Washington.
While UCA students have always provided music and prayer for vespers, this past school year they embraced new ownership by providing the spiritual messages as well.
One inspirtation for this is student week of prayer, when UCA student leaders are empowered to create, practice and present personal messages. They share these messages with their classmates and teachers on campus. While it's been a traditional highlight for years, it became a powerful connection tool during the pandemic school year.
An emerging focus at UCA is regular presentations by students in a public setting. Sid Hardy, UCA chaplain, began inviting students to speak for vespers early in the school year. From freshmen to seniors, new students as well as alumni, Hardy included a wide variety of speakers with unique messages.
The topics are personal; a few listed below with the speakers:
- The Invisibility of God by Hannah Thornton
- My Personal Testimony by Zach Davis
- Biblical Empowerment for Men by Makenna Fleck
- How We Label God by Jared Moran
Students expressed how much they appreciate and value hearing from each other. Even day students returned to campus on Friday evenings to join their dorming classmates for vespers.
By participating more, students can better relate to the struggles and thoughts of others while they show their support with positive encouragement. Speakers Davis and Fleck both commented that they felt they were the ones most blessed after their presentations.
After the challenging year of detours, adjustments and course corrections, God blessed UCA with opportunities for future experiential learning and an embrace of student grown, spiritual leadership.