Delicately knitted together. Wonderfully complex. A marvelous workmanship. Formed and watched over by God in utter seclusion. Woven together. Every day of your life recorded before you were born. Every moment laid out before a single day had passed. We are honored to have shared in so many moments with the Class of 2020. We have seen your wonderful complexities and God’s marvelous design in each of you. As you celebrate the close of this chapter in your life, we want to share some of our memories with you. We aim to honor you, and we hope this blesses you as much as you all have blessed us over the years.
So many in this class are athletically gifted. Sixteen of you have played at least one varsity sport, and ten have been able to balance multiple sports in high school. You have given so much time and effort to our athletic program, and we have enjoyed watching you compete. Loren, you have been an excellent example of a student who takes advantage of all that this school has to offer. Not only have you excelled in multiple sports, you have also taken time to serve and lead your peers in a variety of ways. Dean, your swimming skills are incredible, and we have enjoyed hearing of all your accomplishments in the water. I think we can all agree that we’d like to have you around in case we start drowning. In all seriousness though, we hope that you will take that passion and drive with you in the future. Cortland, determined is not enough of a word to describe your character. You have been relentless on the basketball court over the years, and you have shown us what it looks like to persevere. We know that God can use these traits for your good and His glory.
As busy as our lives seem to be, there are some of you who remind us to slow down and enjoy what God has given to us. Preston, even though you try to hide your musical prowess, we still see glimpses of it. Whether you’re giving an impromptu concert in Vancouver or listening to the Beatles, you make us relax and smile. Let It Be is definitely your life’s theme song. Parker Inkelaar, there never seems to be a dull moment when you’re around. You make us laugh…even when we try our best not to…and your lovable personality reminds us to take ourselves less seriously and to have more fun. Corbin, although you’ve joined us for a short time as a senior, we still remember your time at WCCS fondly. Your laugh is infectious, and we know your peers have enjoyed having you around as you all close out this chapter of your lives.
Great leaders inspire those around them. They willingly serve others, just as Jesus did. Tanya, many of us have been blessed by your care and compassion. You lead by serving others, and you have impacted this school in a way that is not easily described. Thank you for showing us all the love of Christ. Parker Dhillon, it is easy to point out all of your leadership accomplishments over the years, particularly with Student Council; however, it is your unwavering commitment to the Warming Center that has left an impact on us. We are amazed by your willingness to serve the men in our community each and every week. John, you are an undeniable leader among your peers. Others look to you, and your charisma draws people in. We know that God will cultivate these gifts in you as you continue to lead and serve.
This Class has left a lasting impression in so many areas, including the fine arts. Reagan, you are a vocal leader in chorus. You have a good ear for music and a desire to get it right. You have been able to help younger students learn the music, and you do so with gentleness and patience. Abigail, your appreciation for music is astounding, and you have provided a quality sound for our chorus. Your voice brings energy to the group, and you are a great encourager to the rest of your peers. Adair, you have given so much to our theater program. You have played many wonderful characters throughout school, but it will be difficult to forget your performance as Juror #8. You reminded us of shifting perceptions and the importance of knowing a person’s full story. Nate, or should we say Edward? How can we pick just one great performance? You have consistently lived out your faith for Jesus, both on and off the stage. Thank you for showing us how to live a life that exemplifies Jesus, without judgment or pride. You have loved well.
Not only is your class able to perform athletically, in leadership and service, and as artists, you have shown diligence and perseverance in the classroom as well. CJ, you are a great thinker and a consistent academic; however, we also recognize your steady service at the therapeutic horse barn. You’ve reminded us to recognize and be quick to meet the needs of others, especially those who may not be able to help themselves. Justin, your humility in achievement is refreshing. You are one of the smartest young men we’ve known, yet you have never been one to flaunt your successes to others. You instead meet others where they are and help them to feel valued.
Embedded in all of these accomplishments is a great sense of kindness. You are quick to come together when someone needs help. Kyle, we really believe that you would give the shirt off your back if asked to. You are so quick to help others, and without questions or complaint. We will miss your caring and compassionate demeanor. Avery, you are a great listener, graciously accepting others and trying to understand who they really are. Thank you for jumping into this class with an open mind and for sharing your story with us. We are blessed to have spent this year with you. Logan, we count your shy grin as a gem. Your gentleness is rare and very necessary as we seek to love others well. You are a loyal friend, quick to show empathy and give support. JP, you are one of the kindest gentlemen we’ve ever known. You are valued and treasured, more than we can explain. Your ability to relate to others is an incredible gift, and it will open many doors for you to share Jesus’ love. Thank you for encouraging us.
As much as we recognize your beauty, God sees you most clearly. He has examined your heart and knows everything about you. He knows when you sit down and when you stand up. He knows your thoughts, even when you’re far away. He sees you when you travel and when you rest at home. He goes before you and follows after you. As you leave Westminster, we pray that you will remember your time fondly and hold fast to the truth of God’s Word. Keep in your memory that God’s thoughts for you are precious and cannot be numbered. May God’s hand of blessing be upon each of you. We love you, Class of 2020, but God loves you more. He sees you perfectly, and that’s what we’d call 20/20 vision.
“I was so fortunate at WCCS to have teachers who saw the gifts God had given me and helped me find ways to cultivate those gifts to best serve His kingdom. At that time in my life, I didn’t always believe in myself, but they never stopped encouraging and praying for me. Their investment in me and encouragement, both as my teachers and fellow believers, set such a wonderful example for me of what it means to live out ministry every day and in every interaction. They inspired me to want to use the musical abilities God had given me to serve others and help them see their potential for goodness.” -Molly Glibbery Austin, WCCS Class of 2011
For this week's blog, we have obtained permission from Converse College to repost an article they published on Molly Glibbery Austin, who is both an alumna from WCCS and Converse College. We are so proud of the way she has used the gifts God has given her to make a difference in the world as a music therapist. Read on to learn more of her story!
-Article below written by Courtney Hammett, Converse College Class of 2019; published in Converse College, Taking the Lead, Fall 2019
Molly Glibbery Austin ’15 never imagined that a few years after graduating with honors from Converse, she’d be spending a lot of time in prison. But she has found a calling within the walls of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC), where she provides music therapy for male inmates. Before her graduation, Austin was involved in Delta Omicron, Model Arab League, academic coaching, and served as president of Musicians Helping Others. “Converse is always home,” and “I miss it every day,” she says. “The Music Therapy program has really blossomed.”
So, how did it lead to prison work in Florida? “It’s kind of a crazy story,” she says. After completing a music therapy internship in hospice, she worked for two years at an eating disorder clinic. Then, she worked towards a Master’s of Music in Music Therapy at Florida State University, which she completed in December 2018. While there, she learned that the prison system needed music therapists to volunteer their services.
The position went from volunteer to part-time to full-time, as the FDC developed one of the first holistic mental healthcare programs of its kind. Austin conducted research for her graduate thesis in the prison, and she hopes more research like this will be done in the future.
“It’s pretty innovative for prisons to have such complex mental health treatment,” says Austin. The program involves individual therapy, group therapy, classes, yoga, music and art. The idea is to help patients “in the least restrictive environment possible,” with care suited for the individual. The Residential Continuum of Care provides the appropriate amount of supervision and guidance, judging which inmates pose risks to themselves or others, which need extra help to get to appointments, and so on. Various professionals are able to weigh in on treatment plans, so Austin is part of her patients’ futures.
Austin anticipated the question before I asked: How does she work with the populations that have done awful things? Some crimes, like those involving children, are hard to overlook. “Maybe you can prevent this from happening again,” she hopes, but “it’s tough sometimes.” She used to not look at inmate records – they aren’t allowed to ask, but charges are public and accessible. “I can know as much or as little as I want,” she says. She couldn’t avoid hearing about charges though, and sometimes knowing them could help address symptoms. So, she developed a process where she gets to know the person first, then looks them up at the right time. There are plenty of tragic cases in what she calls a “convoluted legal system,” which prompts her to want a law degree sometimes. For the senseless cases, compartmentalizing to separate the person from the crime is key. Working with her patients is mostly great, as Austin likes them and has “always been drawn to help people who are underdogs.”
The hardest part is motivating patients to want treatment. That’s the genius of music therapy. “We’re therapy ninjas!” Austin explains that by using music her patients enjoy, “they don’t realize it’s work.” Sometimes, that work is practical. In one case, she led the men in discussion of the song “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC. After singing and playing the song, the lyrical content provided a chance to ask about the “highway” the inmates’ lives were on. Could they harness the confidence of the song’s subject, yet steer their lives in a new direction?
But music therapy is so much more than therapy with songs sprinkled in. For patients with low intelligence and low literacy, it’s a way to learn. In one patient who suffered from delusions, following directions and learning to play Christmas songs grounded him. Through a process called institutionalization, inmates may lose their identity and sense of self after a long time behind bars. Some may also lose cognitive ability. Music therapy helps regain their person hood. Even something as simple as choosing a song or instrument is a humanizing event. “They can be individuals today, they can have a choice,” she emphasizes. When they learn a chord, they get praise and feel validated, excited. They feel human.
From day one, Austin says, “the goal is to prepare for release” and to “prevent recidivism.” American prisons are notorious for having revolving doors, wherein petty crime leads to a snowball effect. Primarily, she says “what I’m doing is for the welfare of my patients,” but society at large also benefits. With therapy and education, many inmates are eventually able to lead fulfilling lives on the outside. In the meantime, the men are learning to cope with their situation and are less likely to harm themselves or others.
-Article written by Courtney Hammett, Converse College Class of 2019; published in Converse College, Taking the Lead, Fall 2019
We love how Molly is able to use her calling as a Music Therapist to point others towards Christ! We asked her to reflect on her time here at WCCS and how she feels it prepared her to discover and now live out the important work He has for her to further His Kingdom. Check out her response below!
“I was so fortunate at WCCS to have teachers who saw the gifts God had given me and helped me find ways to cultivate those gifts to best serve His Kingdom. At that time in my life, I didn’t always believe in myself, but they never stopped encouraging and praying for me. Their investment in me and encouragement, both as my teachers and fellow believers, set such a wonderful example for me of what it means to live out ministry every day and in every interaction. They inspired me to want to use the musical abilities God had given me to serve others and help them see their potential for goodness.” -Molly Glibbery Austin, WCCS Class of 2011
Prepared to Change the World - Update from Lane Christopher, Class of 2014 JSM Scholarship Recipient
For this week's blog, we checked in with Lane Christopher, Class of 2014, the recipient of our James Scott Morgan Scholarship last year. Read on to find out how she used the scholarship to help fund a unique educational experience abroad! She also shares more of her plans for the future, and how she feels WCCS has prepared her to fulfill Christ's calling in her life!
Hey y’all! I am Lane Christopher, an alumna of WCCS from the class of 2014, and what they call a “lifer”. I earned my undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina in Political Science with a minor in Theater. Now, I am in my first semester of my second year at University of South Carolina School of Law to earn my J.D. I have so many interests, but healthcare and policy litigation remain at the forefront. For my senior writing project, I am researching comparative healthcare law between Europe and the United States, specifically the issues of federalism associated with healthcare. If I become a healthcare law expert, I could assist in writing effective legislation to ensure the health and safety of this nation. By helping people gain coverage so they are protected when they need it most, I hope to further Christ’s mission. Christ was a warrior and a defender of those who could not help themselves, and I think as a lawyer I should use my degree to help others as often as I can.
Last spring, I had an amazing opportunity to spend a Maymester in London, studying English legal history and comparative environmental law. The course happened right in the midst of Brexit, so I was at the center of the policy changes during the transition. We met with figureheads in various fields of English legal policy, as well as political experts who lectured on how Brexit is affecting environmental policy. I learned so much from this educational experience, and WCCS helped make this possible. To help offset the costs of the program, I was awarded the J. Scott Morgan Scholarship from WCCS, named in memory of a cherished alumni parent who believed in the importance of preparing well for one’s calling in life. This $1,000 scholarship was established by his family and is awarded annually to a young alumnus to help fund an internship, travel/study program, research opportunity, or like-minded experience that helps a graduate better determine the career or calling God has for his or her life.
WCCS was such a blessing in my life, and I barely know where to start. The first time I experienced the power of this community bound together by Christ was in first grade. I had reconstructive brain surgery that year, and I was so young I barely remember being in the hospital. What I do remember is the visitors at home while I was on bedrest and my teacher, Mrs. Adkins, coming to help me stay on track in school and to help my mom get some sleep. Oddly enough, the next year I came down with a severe pneumonia that caused a fluid cyst to build up in my lung. I remember my second grade teacher, Mrs. Watts, teaching me math at my kitchen table while I had to stay home. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was a situation very unique to WCCS, and had I been at another school, I could have easily been held back. These women took time away from their families to ensure my academic and personal success, not because they were told to, but because they wanted to show Christ’s love to me and my family.
Throughout the years, I was loved by so many teachers, students, and staff, but Ms. Regier definitely impacted my life the most. She was my AP U.S. History and Government/Economics teacher and is part of the reason I am in law school today. If you know her, you know she is definitely one of the most challenging teachers at WCCS. But, she is not tough in an arbitrary and undeserving way; she is tough because she expects you to show up to class prepared and ready to analyze what you have learned. She is tough because she expects the best work out of her students. She is tough because she works to ensure the success of every single student that passes through her classroom. She is tough because she relentlessly spreads the love of Christ through teaching, motivating, and nurturing students. She prepared me for law school by showing me how to be an excellent student, but also by showing me how to love others, helping them work hard to reach their goals.
I continue to struggle with migraines throughout my life, and especially did during my junior and senior years of high school. Ms. Regier learned how to read me and paid attention to my mood, and when I started falling apart, she would always help me any way she could. She would turn the lights off in class, make sure I had medicine, let me rest my head, and help me catch up if I had to go home. Moreover, she still to this day asks me about my health and tells me that she prays for my pain to remain manageable and minimal. I have never met a more genuine Christ-like woman, who deeply cares for and speaks truth to everyone she meets. I could never thank her enough for the many recommendation letters, the words of wisdom, the prayers, and the assistance she has given me over the years. There is a special place in everyone’s heart for their favorite teacher, and I am glad Ms. Regier fills that space in mine.
Thank you, Ms. Regier and WCCS for all of the love over the years. I never realized how important it was to be surrounded by people who love Christ, until I graduated and had to choose those people for myself. I am so proud to be a “lifer”, and I will always work to make my WCCS family proud.
Mrs. Ashley Sapp serves as our College & Career Counselor for grades 6-12. Starting as early as middle school, Mrs. Sapp provides ongoing support to students as they navigate through school and make plans for life beyond graduation. Support is offered in a variety of ways, including individual meetings with students and families, parent nights throughout the year, leadership, job shadowing, and service opportunities, college visits, standardized testing, and career inventories and assessments. For this week’s blog, we thought we would have Mrs. Sapp speak from her expertise and share a few thoughts about how students can make the most of their high school experience as they look towards the future in which God has uniquely called them.
As the College & Career Counselor at WCCS, I have witnessed first-hand that success in high school means so much more than just getting a high GPA, passing the right tests, and playing on all the right athletic teams. I have also seen that success looks different for each individual student. It’s about finding that unique path, specifically designed for you, by God. It’s my desire that every one of our students at WCCS would do just that. I pray that first and foremost, they would accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and from there, to grow as His disciples in order to glorify Him and bless the world in which we all live. For some, this might mean going to a four-year college or university. For others, it might mean entering the workforce, military, or mission field. Equipped with the right tools, the high school experience is a great opportunity for students to discover and begin using their God-given talents and gifts. Below are a few practical tips for success after graduation:
TIPS from Mrs. Sapp on how to make the most of your high school experience:
Explore your gifts/talents as you seek God’s call on your life.
You can do this through your academic courses and electives, clubs/organizations, serving in the community, and using resources from the College & Career Office. WCCS has over 50 high school course offerings, including 20 different high school electives. Students also have access to 20 athletic teams and a variety of service, travel, and club opportunities. Discovering your God-given passions and gifts might require you to get out of your comfort zone a little and try new things, seek out job shadowing and service opportunities on your own, or put some effort into defining your strengths and weaknesses. Continue pursuing personal growth and the Lord’s plan for your life, and I assure you it will lead to both academic success as well as personal fulfillment.
Perform to the BEST of your ability in everything, both in and out of the classroom.
Understand that each person’s BEST is different, and there is a future plan that connects with your gifts/talents and accomplishments. Along with this, you must be willing to accept and celebrate the “No.” As you explore that in which God is calling you, whether that be a college/university, a scholarship, leadership opportunity, etc., you will encounter moments in which you are told “No.” You must see this as God closing the door to one thing in order to bless you with a better thing. “Celebrating the No” is an essential part of taking risks and courageously following Jesus.
Communicate often with the faculty/staff at WCCS and take advantage of mentorship opportunities.
Asking questions is essential as you navigate through school and consider your plans for the future. As the College & Career Counselor, it is my job to provide intentional, guided planning for students as they research options and look towards future goals and plans. It’s a privilege for me to partner with families and students in this way, and I look forward to the individual meetings and conversations that I’m able to have with students as they dream about the opportunities ahead. Furthermore, throughout my years at WCCS, I have seen how the faculty and staff strive to make a personal investment in the lives of students, and I encourage you to embrace these moments of being surrounded by a community of supportive, Godly mentors.
I love hearing how former WCCS students are thriving and serving the Lord in so many different fields, occupations, and amazing locations. Below are a few recent WCCS graduates who have taken their knowledge and gifts/talents beyond high school. I have seen the Lord work in the lives of not only these students, but so many others - directing each of them to a unique calling in which they can impact the world around them, and I’m so proud of them all.
Baxley Crippen – Class of 2019
After graduation, Baxley Crippen took a gap year to participate in the National Outdoor Leadership School where she trained in outdoor rescue missions. For the second half of her gap year, she is serving in Mexico and plans to attend college afterwards.
“I believe that because of the guidance and love that was given to me during my years at WCCS, I learned who I am and who I want to become. My time at Westminster showed me what I am gifted at, and what I would excel in. My plans beyond college are to help the world in whatever way I can. I want to make a difference in God’s name.”
Travis Howell – Class of 2019
While at WCCS, Travis began an internship during his junior year that sparked his interest in the field of diesel mechanics and heavy equipment repair. He was recently accepted into the Caterpillar Diesel Mechanic Program at Florence Darlington Technical College. He obtained one of only ten sponsorship spots through Blanchard Caterpillar after completing the required testing to be accepted into the program!
Kara Hill – Class of 2018
Kara was recently admitted to the Bachelor of Science Program at Charleston Southern University and plans to pursue her Master’s in nursing or possibly a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant program, afterwards. She believes the Lord may be leading her to focus on pediatrics or labor & delivery, and looks forward to her clinical rotations to help her with this decision.
When asked how she feels WCCS has prepared her for her future, Kara responded, “Learning in a Christian environment has been a huge blessing because of the different perspective that it brought to the table. At WCCS, we always looked at worldly events with a Christian perspective. I believe my time at WCCS helped me not only grow stronger in my faith, but taught me how to defend and share my faith. In the future, I believe it will be easy to share my faith with patients because of my time at WCCS.” Her mom, Lucy Hill, believes Kara has been able to excel after graduation not only because of the high academic standards set before her at WCCS, but because she was prepared spiritually to know that everything done in life is for God’s glory. “Charleston Southern University’s mission statement includes ‘integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.’ WCCS has helped prepare Kara in this way as well.”
These are just a few examples of how our WCCS graduates are taking their gifts and talents into the real world to bless others!
For those who are transitioning into high school, it can be such an exciting time in the lives of students and their families. I’d like to invite you to join us on Monday, January 27, for our Rising 9th Grade Parent Night at 6:30 p.m. in the Upper School Chapel! You’ll gain practical information to help you and your student navigate through the high school experience and prepare to make plans for after graduation. We’ll talk more in depth about what kind of support WCCS offers to help students discover their individual callings, what class choices will best prepare students for success after graduation, and how our schedule uniquely accommodates the needs of high school students. I hope you’ll join us. To RSVP, contact Jane Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For this week’s blog, we are sharing a reflection from Kirsten Jolly, WCCS Salutatorian from the Class of 2019. Kirsten was a 4 star thespian, honor graduate, Palmetto Fellow Scholarship recipient, and was accepted to 7 universities. Kirsten is attending Clemson University with the plan to major in English. Recently, she called her mom, Tamara Jolly, to thank her for investing in her Christian education at WCCS. Check out her thoughts about why she believes her time at WCCS was so invaluable!
College is hard. But I cannot imagine how much harder it would be without all thirteen years of love and support from Westminster Catawba Christian School behind me. The Christ-centered education I received at WCCS is truly one of my most treasured possessions. As I reflect on the many ways I am thankful for my time at WCCS, I have become particularly aware of the following ways the WCCS faculty, staff, and community have shaped my readiness for life beyond high school:
I definitely feel more adequately prepared for college academics by my time at WCCS. One of the main ways that I was challenged throughout high school was through the emphasis on critical thinking. The teachers at WCCS really helped me learn how to think for myself and logically work through problems, forming my own ideas and opinions on the subject matter. I have seen how important this skill is to my college professors, so this has been a super helpful connection.
Ongoing Support from WCCS Faculty & Staff
Without a doubt, the WCCS faculty and staff go above and beyond what is ultimately required of them to support and guide each student. I believe the small learning environment benefited me in so many ways. Besides offering extra help during their own time and working hard to help students understand the academic material, teachers at WCCS invest in each child as a person. They care about you forever. Today, as a college student, I still have a close relationship with many of my WCCS teachers and talk to them often when I need help or maybe even when I am just feeling down. I could never count the number of after school chats or moments of prayer that I shared with my teachers while I was still a student, and it is a huge comfort knowing that my classmates and I still have that ongoing love and support.
Perhaps most importantly, WCCS spiritually prepared me to enter into the growing secular world that is a reality today. I now attend Clemson University, which is a very large school with a large variety of people. Every day, I am met with new challenges of faith, both in the classroom and in social settings. Even amongst other believers on campus, it’s surprising how many are unfamiliar with large portions of the Bible. WCCS not only encourages students in their personal walk with Christ, but actually teaches them scripture. This has become an extremely valuable tool as I navigate my way through my new campus life. Without a strong spiritual base, I would never be able to survive in such a loud world with so many different beliefs. I’m so grateful for my deep familiarity with scripture, and how I now can share with others on my college campus.
Before I left home, I visited WCCS one more time to bid a last farewell to my teachers and friends and to wish them a good year. Every single faculty and staff member I encountered that day offered to stay in touch and said to give them a call if I ever needed help. That is an experience I truly find irreplaceable. I have been at Clemson for exactly a month today, and I have already reached out to some of my teachers—not for help academically, but just to talk as I’ve been struggling with homesickness and adjusting to a new life. Westminster Catawba Christian School will forever be family to me. Thank you to all the teachers, staff, and friends who have helped me along the way – and of course, THANKS MOM AND DAD!
Scott Morgan was father to three WCCS alumni. For many years, he was a loyal supporter of WCCS, having served as a member of the Board, a proud cheerleading dad, and even a substitute teacher. Read here about his family’s “journey of faith” during his battle with cancer through the words of his wife, Ann Morgan.
The week of April 7, 2014 began as most other weeks with the exception that Scott, my husband, was beginning his second round of antibiotics and steroids for his “allergies” (or so we thought). Scott went to work Monday morning, but as the morning wore on, he went to his parents’ home just blocks from his office to rest. Scott’s brother, Dr. Todd Morgan, saw Scott late in the afternoon, ran some blood work, and immediately had Scott admitted to the hospital due to his blood counts. After 3 units of blood and 1 of platelets and an overnight stay, Scott was transferred to Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte. After multiple tests, the doctors diagnosed Scott with Burkitt Lymphoma Leukemia.
As a family, we developed a plan of action and worked the plan! Scott began his first chemotherapy treatment on April 11, thus beginning our “journey of faith.” Sometimes, the plan we develop does not go the way we expect, but God goes before us, walks beside us, and hems us in with his love and care. After seven months of chemotherapy, hospitalizations, spinal taps, two brain surgeries, bone marrow tests, and several trips to the emergency room, Scott was healed…not the way we expected but rather with a new, eternal body free of pain or hurt. On October 25, 2014, we celebrated Scott’s “homecoming.”
"Sometimes, the plan we develop does not go the way we expect, but God goes before us..."
Through this journey, we learned as a family that the Lord is faithful no matter our circumstances. We held on to the phrase “Eternal Glory > Cancer.” As Believers, we are promised a future glory of which Paul writes in Romans 8. And as weak and fallible jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7-17), we hold the true and powerful message of Salvation inside of us. And although we are faced with great suffering, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians about the power of what we hold inside of us in the face of persecution, sickness, etc. God’s gracious promise of eternal glory outweighs all the troubles of this world and “causes thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”
"The Lord is faithful, no matter our circumstances."
Scott’s greatest passion was living out his faith as a family man totally dedicated to his wife, three children, parents, and extended family. He thrived on helping others – sometimes with a kind word of correction or instruction, guidance on a career, and even advice on dating and selecting your future spouse. Scott had a heart for young people in pursuit of their calling in life. It was not unusual for him to email one of the children’s friends advising them on the upcoming semester’s course load – encouraging them to take the harder path that would in the long-run better prepare them for their goals.
In honor of Scott’s memory, our family has decided to preserve his legacy of loving others and helping them discover God’s calling on their life through the J. Scott Morgan Scholarship Fund at WCCS. Our prayer is to see WCCS graduates prayerfully discerning the Lord’s call of how to serve others after they leave WCCS.
The Morgan Family and WCCS are excited to share that the first scholarship will be awarded in January 2018. The J. Scott Morgan Scholarship will be awarded annually to one WCCS alumnus/a enrolled in a degree-seeking program at a collegiate institution.
We caught up with alumna, Elise Denney, ’13, recently and asked her to share with us some thoughts about “life after WCCS” and how she continues to grow in her relationship with Christ and her desire to bless the world around her for His Kingdom’s sake! She had some wise words to share with our current WCCS students about truly seeking after the Lord and being a part of His Church!
If you had told “high school Elise” that she would be spending her summer working for the student ministry of a local church, she probably would not have believed you. Don’t get me wrong, I knew church was important, but I thought it could be substituted for other things…chapel, small group, retreats, youth group, maybe even bible class....anything to get me out of waking up early on Sunday mornings. Often times as a student at WCCS, opportunities to encounter Christ are conveniently woven into our daily school schedule. Without a doubt, this is an incredible blessing, but we have to be careful that it does not become a normalcy or an excuse to not seek the Lord on our own.
"Often times as a student at WCCS, opportunities to encounter Christ are conveniently woven into our daily school schedule."
Fast forward to college and now I can see how the Lord was pursuing me in ways that puts my half-hearted pursuit of Him to shame. When choosing a college, strong Christian community was not among the top of my priority list. In fact, I’m sorry to say that it was not really something I considered even a little bit. Fortunately, the Lord is endlessly faithful and knows what we need before we even know how to ask for it. At Clemson, I found friends that truly reflected Christ in the incredible way that they loved others. These same friends invited me to attend Grace Church and I became a member after about a year of attending regularly.
Grace Church has a summer internship program called Kairos that I was blessed to be a part of this past summer. Kairos is a 10 week internship where you work in a particular ministry area (I worked in student ministry) while also taking discipleship courses. You live with a host family that attends the church while interning. Some of my service jobs included planning events and mission trips for their youth group and building relationships with the middle and high schoolers that attended.
As I reflect on the summer I spent with Grace Church, I am filled with gratitude and wonder. Kairos is a unique experience that gives you a rare, close-up look to how Christ passionately pursues the Church as His bride again and again. Kairos has filled me with new life and urgency for personally loving and serving the church. This was something I thought I understood before, but now I have been humbled enough to see how I approached the church solely as a consumer. The question in my mind has changed from “What can the church do for me?” to “What can I do for the church?”. I now understand more deeply how thankfully and reverently we should approach an institution that God has promised to sustain forever. It’s amazing that He allows us be a part of that even in our brokenness—a brokenness He chooses again and again to use for His ultimate glory. It is this beautiful mindset of redemption that fills the halls of Grace Church and captivated me all summer long.
"The question in my mind has changed from 'What can the church do for me?' to 'What can I do for the church?'"
Wherever you may be today in your walk with Christ, I would encourage you to not overlook the holy and eternal institution we call “Church.” It is to our immense spiritual benefit that we seek opportunities to be involved with a local church. Here are some ways that Church was designed by the Lord to bless us:
- Community: The Church is a collection of disconnected individuals brought together into a new people and into a new family. You are always invited in. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” We are literally called to come together and seek ways to glorify Him as a unit. When you choose to not commit to a church, you squander the chance to use your spiritual gifts and be a part of the Lord’s work, which has impact on both heaven and earth far beyond our understanding.
- Authority: I hear ya, the rebel child in me shudders as well. In our culture, we are taught that coming under authority is not fun, but hang with me. Coming under authority in the local church is actually a protective blessing. Receiving spiritual authority keeps us from becoming self-centered and critical. It humbles us and helps us extract insidious sin buried deep in our lives. Ephesians 4:20-24 says, “But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” We need to attend church regularly in order to spur each other on spiritually toward this goal and encounter those that know how to be encouraging and disruptive with grace.
- Spiritual Growth: Your identity in Christ makes you who you are, but your growth in Christ is contingent on being engaged with the Church and being obedient in how the Scripture tells us to treat our church family. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Being transformed into the image of Christ is a lifelong process. We can’t be flighty consumers of the Church and expect to reap the benefits of this transformation. We have to be whole-hearted investors and look for ways for the Church to seep into every area of our lives, not just what we have to give on Sunday mornings.
If you get nothing else from reading this, please let it be this: Church demonstrates the intangible presence of Jesus. Don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to experience that by being noncommittal with the Church. It is what you were created for and your soul longs for it!