Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving Thanks for Our Alumni

By Roy Ciampa, PhD
Associate Professor of New Testament

Just before Thanksgiving weekend I was at the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society, the Institute for Biblical Research, and the Society of Biblical Literature, all of which were held in San Francisco this year. I enjoy going to the meetings to meet old friends, make new friends, and have my thinking stretched by papers and presentations presenting new information, ideas, perspectives or approaches. I love coming back with some new things to chew on and to follow up and possibly incorporate into my teaching or research. But perhaps one of the things I like most about attending these annual meetings is the opportunity catch up with some of our alumni who also attend. I run into them between sessions, and also get to sit and talk with some of them during the GCTS Sunday breakfast and the dinner that we usually have for doctoral students and recent doctoral grads. It is such a joy to see our grads prospering in their studies (even if they struggle at times as well, of course) or teaching ministries.
This year I was able to chat with some grads studying biblical studies and others teaching missions, church history, and biblical studies. I’ve also had recent contact with grads who are faithfully ministering in the church ministries to which God has called them and who are using all that they learned while in seminary to minister to the people God has put in their care. Such quality people, doing such important things!
I am so grateful to God for the gifted and committed people he brings to Gordon-Conwell, and that I have the privilege to work with. Our students shape my thinking and inspire me to be a better Christian, scholar, teacher, and person. Our alumni do the same. And I know I am not alone, but that the whole faculty would heartily agree with me. This year as I think about the gifts of God for which I am grateful, you should know that alumni who are faithful to whatever calling God has on their lives (and who have left their marks on Gordon-Conwell along the way) are among the most precious gifts for which I give thanks. Psalm 106:1-5 reminds us that as we give thanks to God for his mighty works we are also to rejoice in the prosperity of his chosen ones and to glory in his heritage.
1 Praise the LORD! O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. 2 Who can utter the mighty doings of the LORD, or declare all his praise? 3 Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times. 4 Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you deliver them; 5 that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory in your heritage. (NRSV)
I hope you are staying in touch with some faculty members, letting them know what God is doing in and through you. You can rest assured they are eager to hear from you and happy to pray for you, and are thankful for you and your commitment to advancing God’s purposes in his church and his world.

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