COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Lindsey Wilson College was
founded at the dawn of the 20th century. And on Wednesday afternoon
LWC students, faculty and staff gathered in V.P. Henry Auditorium
-- one of the college's oldest spaces -- to pledge that the college
will be a "model" United Methodist institution in the 21st
"We affirm our commitment to the church by respecting, by
honoring and providing scholarly, theological teaching of religion
in the Christian tradition within our curriculum," LWC President William T. Luckey Jr.
pledge to strive to be the model United Methodist Church
college or university
in the 21st century."
Luckey's comments came during the college's annual Church
College Celebration Day, a day each fall when the LWC community
celebrates its Methodist heritage and explores what it means to be
a church-related college.
"We take being church-related serious," Chaplain Troy Elmore
said during the ceremony in V.P. Henry Auditorium.
The Rev. Darren Brandon
, who serves as
superintendent of the UMC's Columbia district, said LWC's mission
of serving "every student, every day" is a good match with the
UMC's four areas of focus.
The mission's essence -- "every student, every day" -- also
"sheds light on our humanity," Brandon said.
"It helps us see clearly and in new ways," he said. "Most
importantly, it helps us see each other better."
Because Lindsey Wilson embraces its church heritage, the
college has not become what Dean of the Chapel Terry Swan
called a "shadow
college," a once strong church-related institution that has drifted
from its roots.
"This is who we are here. This service helps unveil the soul
of our community," Swan said in his message, titled "Mission or
After reading James Tunstead Burtchaell's survey about U.S.
church-related colleges, The Dying of the Light: The
Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from Their Christian
Churches, Swan said he has realized the strength of LWC's
commitment to remaining a church-related college.
"Not here, not now and not on our watch," Swan said was his
reaction after reading Burtchaell's book. At Lindsey Wilson "we
have a president, a cabinet and a board of trustees that have that
desire … to be most intentionally church-related. We want the
college to be a place of true academic freedom, of truth-speakers
and truth-seekers. People who speak the truth in love, with clarity
Being faith-friendly is essential to being a strong
church-related college, Swan said.
"A big part of our heritage and a great part of our mission is
being a faith-friendly community," he said. "And that goes even
beyond being respectful; it means we are receptive to faith here.
It is an atmosphere we create, we don't force it -- it is a
welcoming, it is an openness."
Swan said LWC is also blessed to have faculty and staff who
are committed to the college's mission.
"The persons who make up the Lindsey Wilson faculty and staff
are the very best of people," Swan said. "It is not just a job --
it is a calling, it is a vocation where their life's mission
intersects with the college mission. They are exemplars, and I am
so proud of that."