Category Archives: Articles

Center for Faith and Innovation launched as replacement for OPUS

By Melissa Schill

04.14.19

Wheaton College announced the Center for Faith and Innovation’s (CFI) opening in place of Opus; the Art of Work, in order to provide vocational training and resources to a wider scope of Christians, both at Wheaton and in the workplace with alumni.

CFI’s mission, according to the Center’s website, is to “help Christians pursue their work in the marketplace as an act of discipleship to Jesus Christ.”

Through connecting liberal arts professionals, generating theology-based and business research, providing professional education for emerging and current business professionals and disseminating best practices through libraries, blogs, and other publications, CFI aims to equip business professionals to integrate their calling with their faith.

Associate Professor of Theology Keith Johnson and Associate Professor of Marketing Hannah Stolze will co-direct CFI together. Johnson’s role is to provide theological expertise and content for the program through strategic planning, writing and speaking. Stolze will cast a vision for how to move to an external-facing center that engages Christians in the marketplace, as opposed to those inside the Wheaton community. Ben Norquist, former assistant director of Opus, will be the managing director.

Opus, Wheaton’s faith and work institute, was founded in 2014 with a grant from the Kern Family Foundation in order to promote conversations about the theology of work and to provide training for faculty and staff to be vocational mentors for students. More than 160 lessons, lectures and activities have been created for Wheaton’s through the program.

In addition, faculty from 60 percent of the college’s departments received vocational training. However, Opus dealt solely with Wheaton faculty and staff, and did not provide vocational training or resources to students or Christians out in the marketplace.

“Opus created space at Wheaton to talk about vocation in new ways. Once we stood in that space, new opportunities became visible,” Johnson said.

“The transition to CFI is about seizing those opportunities for the benefit of our students.”

The primary way CFI plans to begin engaging with the student body is through the Innovation Lab, which will launch in the fall of 2020. Cross-disciplinary student teams will be created and trained in “design thinking,” a method to develop concepts and a common approach used in the workplace.

Companies will have the opportunity to bring problems to the Innovation Lab so students can put their liberal arts skills and creativity into practice, strategizing and coming up with solutions.

“I love how the Innovation Lab will give students studying the humanities or the arts or the social sciences an opportunity to translate what they are learning in their majors to a marketplace problem while learning how to collaborate on a team,” Assistant Professor of History and Dean of Curriculum and Advising Sarah Miglio said. Miglio’s role in CFI is to “advocate for the director’s team and find ways for CFI to collaborate with campus partners like [the] CVC.”

In addition to engaging with students, CFI hopes to continue working with faculty and staff at Wheaton. Several programs are in place to achieve this aim including CFI Scholars (a program that financially supports creating materials on vocation), the Vocation Seminar (a seminar designed to equip faculty and staff to mentor students in vocational development) and Lunch and Learn (an opportunity for vocational conversation over a meal). CFI also provides fellowships, conferences, and research grants to faculty members.

In an email to the WheatonCollege community, Provost Margaret Diddams said, “I look forward to the ways that our faculty and students will contribute to this renewed initiative to lead the national conversation on how Christian faith and theology should shape and inform our engagement with work and our vocational callings.”

BGC to become new headquarters for Global Diaspora Institute

04.14.19

By Micah McIntyre

On March 22, Wheaton College announced a partnership between the Billy Graham Center (BGC), the Global Diaspora Network (GDN) and Lausanne North America to form the Global Diaspora Institute, an organization committed to equipping the Global Church to engage with mass migration.

According to the World Migration Report, which was released at the end of 2018 by the International Organization for Migration, international migrants comprise about 3.3 percent of the world’s population. The number of displaced people also reached a record high in 2018 with about 40 million internally displaced peoples and over 22 million refugees.

The report’s findings figured prominently into the creation of the global Diaspora institute. BGC Executive Director Ed Stetzer believes that the Church should use this crisis to serve and interact with many unreached people groups across the world.

“We simply cannot deny the enormity of how God used the Diaspora to spread the work and message of the gospel. It’s at the front and center of our Christian history,” Stetzer said in a press release from Wheaton. “With hundreds of millions of people living and working outside their homeland today, many of them Christian, we have the opportunity to unveil creative ways to reach our world for Christ through those from many cultures and backgrounds.”

According to Wheaton’s press release, the Global Diaspora Institute will work to “equip, connect, resource and mobilize missional leaders in diaspora communities in North America and beyond and help churches in North America to engage with the diaspora and the Global Church.” Sam George, an accomplished missions worker, theologian and a Catalyst for Diasporas for the Lausanne Movement will be the program’s director. Through his work in regional and global diaspora consultations, his position as Catalyst for Diasporas facilitates more conversations around this topic.

Chairman of the Global Diaspora Network, T.V. Thomas told the Record that he believes Wheaton College and the BGC are a natural fit for the institute.

“Wheaton College is globally recognized for decades as one of the prominent citadels of evangelicalism I believe the BGC was established to highlight and reinforce the relationship of faith and practice in Christianity,” said Thomas. “Biblical orthodox convictions must undergird and promote the communication of the gospel to all people everywhere. This includes ‘the people on the move’ who are part of the unprecedented global migration from everywhere to everywhere.”

Junior Grace Gantz worked with refugees in Lesvos, Greece last summer. The community center she worked in was about five minutes away from a camp containing about 8,000 refugees. During the week refugee families were invited to play games, talk over tea and participate in Bible studies held for the various people groups that were represented. Gantz said that more than 70 people came to Christ by the time her program ended. She believes that American churches are not ministering to refugees as well as they could and that organizations like the GDI can play a huge role in preparing churches to reach immigrants.

“From what I have seen in America, individuals look at migrants as someone who is lesser than them because of their circumstances,” said Gantz. “There are so many vulnerable refugees in the area so I think if an organization like that did exist, there would be a lot of potential for the refugees to feel as if they belonged.”

Solidarity Cabinet Chair Jonathan Chen also believes that the Church needs to engage the migration crisis head on and hopes that organizations like the GDI can help churches to do so.

“Christians need to be informed about the migration crisis,” said Chen. “Obviously an organization devoted to supporting immigrants and refugees is extremely important because Christians are called to care for the migrant; it is a gospel priority.”

In Mexico, students learn life and language

Students spending the semester in Queretaro, Mexico immerse themselves in language and culture

By Emily Smith

04.14.19

While most Wheaton students are currently breaking out the Chacos and Birkenstocks, defiantly willing it to be spring, eight students have spent the last three months in warm Querétaro, Mexico, a large city 136 miles northwest of Mexico City, through the Wheaton in Mexico program. Although the weather is definitely a perk, the program’s purpose is to help students develop both linguistic and intercultural competency as they take classes and enter into the local community.

Wheaton in Mexico began in 2014 and was offered every other year. Starting in spring 2018 the program has continued every spring semester. Since the program’s inception, students from 20 different majors have participated, and Wheaton in Mexico remains the only Wheaton-run, semester-long international study-abroad program. This characteristic is not the only thing that makes Wheaton in Mexico unique. Associate Lecturer of Spanish and Wheaton in Mexico Director Tim Klingler explained in an email, “In contrast to most study-abroad programs, a faculty member accompanies the student cohort during the entire semester, providing on-site mentoring, teaching an integrative seminar and both supporting and pushing students to deeper intercultural learning and engagement … The dual emphasis on developing linguistic and intercultural competency is very unique.”

As an academic program, students take classes taught entirely in Spanish by professors on a local college campus. Courses include Mexican History, Advanced Spanish, Mexican Art and Mexican-United States Relations. Art class stands out as a particular highlight: for each period in art history students receive an introduction through a lecture or presentation in class, then take a field trip to find examples of art in Querétaro and finally work on an art project in the style they are studying. When class lets out usually around 1 p.m., students go home for “la comida,” the biggest meal of the day. They then head back out to explore the historic center of Querétaro or do homework in a café.

Students also have the chance to complement what they learn in class through several excursions to different parts of Mexico. After learning about the different pre-hispanic civilizations in Mexico, they climb the Teotihuacan pyramids and explore other ancient ruins in Oaxaca. Students also explore Guanajuato, a smaller colonial town, canoe up turquoise rivers in the Sierra Gorda and view the artwork of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Mexico City.

“My favorite part of this experience so far has been all of the traveling we have done,” said Caitlyn Kasper, a sophomore currently participating in the program, in an email interview. “Traveling can be super stressful, but through the program a large majority of the logistics are taken care of for you so that you can focus on learning and exploring.”

Brian Salcedo, a senior who participated in the program last year, agreed with Kasper, adding that learning the history of the places he visited enhanced his semester. “It was a very unique, immersive experience. Whether it was in the beautiful waterfalls we visited outside, [or] the pyramids that we saw, each [experience] had [its] own story.”

The heart of Wheaton in Mexico is the opportunity for students to be immersed in the language and to invest in and learn from their local community in Querétaro. Students are individually matched with host families so that they can live and work alongside locals while steeped in the culture. Students commute to school and work. Often host families become treasured resources and confidants throughout a students’ stay. Although culture shock can make total immersion into a family difficult, many students grow to love residential life in Mexico. Rachel Novak, a sophomore currently participating in the program agreed. “[Most families] are amazing sources to learn about Mexican culture and life, and I am positive that they have played a huge role in improving my Spanish,” she told the Record in an email.

Sophomore Leah Martin also raved about her host family, reporting by email from Mexico that despite her host parents’ busy lives, “Somehow, my laundry is still done for me, I’m provided with freshly squeezed orange juice every morning and they never forget to ask me how school was. I kind of feel like an elementary schooler who is convinced their mom must have super powers.”

Students also find a variety of ways to get involved in Mexican culture apart from their host family and classes. Over the years several students have volunteered as English tutors at Instituto Asunción, a Catholic school in the area. They play English word games and facilitate discussions with Mexican students, helping to improve the students’ English language skills while also polishing their Spanish. Teaching in another language allows Wheaton in Mexico students to integrate their majors into pedagogy. Kasper, a Spanish and secondary education major, says she has enjoyed integrating her majors and experiencing “cool exchanges” of English and Spanish learning while serving in the local community.

This semester, other students have gotten involved with Centro de Apoyo Marista al Migrante, a ministry that aids Central American immigrants passing through Querétaro. Students visit the ministry center every other Thursday, cooking breakfast for those living there. The population is young, transitory and open to conversations with other young people. Martin told the Record, “Many of the individuals whom I have met there are young men from Guatemala or Honduras fleeing from violence and/or looking for work … They have been some of the individuals who have shown me the most grace with my Spanish and shown me that my presence is valued.”

Other students create their own service projects that further their specific interests. Salcedo is a senior applied health science major who interned at a local hospital during his 2018 semester in Mexico. He was able to gain invaluable experience as a medical fellow assisting medical students and doctors, attending medical lectures and talking to patients. He reported how incredible it was to observe different departments, especially in a foreign context, and to employ the training he has received at Wheaton. “My favorite part was just having a white coat, learning beside medical students and being treated as a medical student,” he said.

Regardless of how they choose to get involved in the community, all Wheaton in Mexico students find a church home for the semester. “I have been so blessed with a church family that includes some pretty great individuals around our age,” said Martin. “They’ve taken us bowling, to the movies, out for crêpes, out for ice cream, invited us to birthday parties, ran a 5K with us and have been so incredibly patient with us in the process of honing our abilities to speak Spanish.”

Novak also said that her church family has been her favorite part of the semester, but for different reasons. While the community in the church is vital, Novak loves worshipping in a Mexican context. To her, the intercultural exchange that happens during a church service foreshadows heaven’s unity. “I am often hit with the blessed feeling of being part of the Church, the body of Christ connected across the globe, believers from all different cultures and languages,” she said. “It is almost surreal.”

Developing a routine and finding a community in Mexico transforms a foreign place into a home for the Wheaton students living there. When asked what the best part of the semester has been, Martin responded, “Having a host family I belong to, a church family, a volunteer position in a local organization and the knowledge that most employees at the coffee shops within a half hour walking distance from my house definitely recognize me … is a feeling I so cherish. My favorite part about living here has been … feeling like I belong.”

Studying abroad benefits students in several ways. First of all, living cross-culturally teaches students a lot about themselves, not just about their host culture. Many students describe how their growth, while difficult, was accelerated in a foreign context, giving them incredible coping skills, a widened worldview and a better grasp on their identity. “Sometimes I feel as if Wheaton should count another four credits just from emotional and identity learning in a study abroad experience!” joked Novak.

“Wheaton in Mexico had a huge impact on me personally,” said Elizabeth Frey, a senior who participated in the program last year. “I grew incredibly as a person during my time away, not only in my language ability and worldview but as a human being. I learned independence, courage and faith at a level I hadn’t encountered before … My capacity to do my own thing, seek out the experiences I wanted, take care of myself the way my body best responds to and approach conflict expanded beyond anything I expected.” In an email, Frey acknowledged the fear associated with spending four months in an unfamiliar place but said that her experience showed her how much faith and courage she actually possessed. She returned to Wheaton with knowledge of her abilities and with more spontaneity because of her newfound confidence in God’s provision.

The personal aspect of the trip was especially meaningful for Salcedo, who is Mexican-American. Before Wheaton in Mexico, he remembered being “at a loss of what being Mexican-American meant to me.” He said his outlook was transformed by studying in a location that contained a component of his heritage and learning about Mexican history and culture. “I am proud to have a history that [Wheaton students] got to study, and at that same time use that history and mix it with American culture, American identity … and I’m proud of merging both cultures into who I am in my daily life,” he told the Record.

For other students, spending time outside of the culture they have always grown up in is revealing. It can jumpstart a passion for justice, racial reconciliation and intercultural communication. In the case of junior Abby Smith, another 2018 participant, she told the Record that she recognizes more cultural differences in communication and expression. She also noted oppression in regard to many Mexican individuals, saying the experience “opened my eyes to how much injustice there is that I’ve never had to deal with because I’ve always had it easy.”

In addition to learning more about themselves and their cultural identities, students also form strong relationships within their cohort that continue even after the semester ends. “I have been overjoyed to see the way that we have taken care of each other and treat each other like family,” Martin said. “Even though I know that our time here in Mexico will soon be coming to an end, I am so incredibly glad that I get to share the memories we have made here with my Wheaton peers and that I can continue growing in relationship with them even once we are back on campus.”

In the end, all past and present participants interviewed were unequivocal in their assessment of the program. Would they recommend it to others? “1,000 percent yes,” said Novak. “I was told many times that as a science major (and double major) that it would be very difficult to leave for a semester and I should choose a summer program instead. However, I can truly say that nothing could replace a full 16 weeks in another country.”

“I would recommend Wheaton in Mexico to everyone!” Frey said. “I saw the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, got to experience so much I will probably never get to again and made relationships with people in our group and those I met in Mexico I plan to keep the rest of my life.”

“This semester has definitely not been without its challenges … but it has been such an incredible opportunity for learning and growth. I have learned a lot about myself, had to lean an awful lot on the Lord and have pretty much fallen in love with Mexico,” Martin said.

In the end, Martin did mention one major downside: “The transition back to eating Saga fruit after a semester here might present a rather large challenge.”

Athlete Spotlight: Favor Ezewuzie

By Maggie Franke

Junior sprinter Favor Ezewuzie is a standout at Wheaton College for many different reasons, but her athletic success as a member of Wheaton’s Women’s Track and Field team has brought her into the limelight. But track was not the sport that brought Ezewuzie to Wheaton in the first place.

I had originally come to Wheaton wanting to play basketball,”Ezewuzie said. I mainly played basketball from the time I was ten until the time that I was about 18.”

Ezewuzie attended high school at Covenant Christian Academy in Peabody, Mass. The school highlighted her basketball performance at the 2019 NCAA DIII Women’s Indoor Track and Field national meet on their Facebook page. But the Ezewuzie’s have not always called Massachusetts home. Like Favor, her family was brought to a different place due to an exciting educational opportunity.

“Both of my parents were born and raised in Nigeria,” Ezewuzie said. “They came to the U.S. in the 1990s and then they had me and my brothers. My dad is visually impaired, so he can’t see. There are not a lot of opportunities for someone who is blind to move up in the scale of education in Nigeria. He got [a] scholarship to come to the U.S. and study law at Boston University.”

Ezewuzie said her parents encouraged her to understand that sports are a way to glorify and worship God, whether she won or lost. Her two older brothers were role models to her as basketball players themselves.

Looking at schools, Ezewuzie was originally interested in attending Gordon College in Massachusetts, but she heard about an interesting Christian college in Illinois that caught her attention. However, Wheaton was not a definite option for Ezewuzie to play basketball right away.

“I had gotten into Wheaton, but I couldn’t afford it,” Ezewuzie said. “May [2016] came around, and I found out that I got a scholarship to come to Wheaton. At that point, I hadn’t made a decision.”

Ezewuzie accepted the Don and Ann Church scholarship awarded to students of multicultural backgrounds or of racial minority who have exceptional academic standing and leadership qualities. She emailed Coach Madsen and asked to visit Wheaton and try out for the team. Upon her arrival for the 2016-17 academic year, Madsen told her that they were not taking tryouts that season.

“I decided to be the manager,” Ezewuzie said. She videotaped all of their home games that season. “The scholarship brought me to Wheaton, but I really wanted to play basketball,” she said. “I was determined that even if I couldn’t try out my freshman year that I would try out the next year, my sophomore year.”

But then plans changed. “So then when I joined the track team I thought, ‘Oh yeah I can run track, I mean I guess it’s kind of cool.’ I always thought that I was kind of fast,” Ezewuzie said.

Ezewuzie developed a love for running during the 2017 outdoor track season. Basketball was still in the back of her mind until she started running the 4×100-meter relay and learning how to run hurdles. That season, Ezewuzie ran as a part of Wheaton’s All-American and CCIW-champion 4×100 meter relay and was All-CCIW in the 100-meter hurdles, the long jump.

Though recognized as an individual standout runner, Ezewuzie remarked on how the culture of Wheaton’s track team revealed that track is, in fact, a team-driven sport. “It is a sport where you are constantly aware of other people and encouraging them through it,” Ezewuzie said. “I have found that sometimes I have to train on my own, and it is not the same. There’s something about being able to train with your teammates that is so needed and important because they push you, lead you and affirm you.”

According to Ezewuzie, four to five Wheaton athletes run in the same race together, but before they run, they pray that they will glorify God during their race and find the joy of the Lord’s pleasure.

One race in particular is significant to Ezewuzie: the 4×400-meter relay at Swarthmore College. “Getting on that bus, spending so many hours with them, going out there and running the 4×4 was, for me, something that was so incredible because I learned what it means to do something, not because you love it, but because you’re a part of something bigger than yourself,” Ezewuzie said. “If you ask anyone, I do not love the 400. But each time I get up there to get the baton, it’s for this team, for this school, for the people I represent. Finishing at the end with four people, there’s something about that … I’ve never experienced that before. Running something that is so difficult, but knowing that you are part of something bigger.”

At the “Last Chance Meet” in 2018 at Swarthmore College, Ezewuzie, Natasha Brown, Marissa Heath and Erika Johnson finished in first place in 3:48.12. At the time, that was the third fastest run in DIII.

Wheaton’s track team has only encouraged the mentality that Ezewuzie was raised with, in terms of what sports really mean. My parents have always been people that have allowed us to see the bigger picture behind sports,” Ezewuzie said. “You’re running to glorify the Lord. I am a part of a community of people that relies on me and relies on my commitment and my drive to be a part of it, but I also see being a part of a team as a way to glorify and worship the Lord.”

Ezewuzie said that competing as a part of the Thunder has allowed her to grow as an athlete but truly grow in her faith as well. “For me, it even applies to running hurdles,” Ezewuzie said. “There are days that you’re running and you hit a hurdle bad. After that, are you going to continue to run after the next hurdle? Or is that going to mentally get at you? Oh, I hit this hurdle, so my next race I’m going to hit all of them. It’s this mindset that I have seen with the Lord. God, no matter what challenges come my way, you are faithful to bring me through each obstacle.”

Wheaton hosts first-ever Men’s Golf Invitational

By Maggie Franke

Over the weekend, the Wheaton Men’s Golf team hosted their first Wheaton Invitational at Cantigny Golf Course. With a strong performance, senior Drew Engelking earned individual medalist honors.

When asked about the perks of hosting an invitational, junior Jabe Gonder said, “Cantigny is an incredible home course and it was nice to play where we practice.”

Engelking’s first round left him in eighth place with a score of 76, but his excellent second round performance cut five strokes from his score. After the 73-point second round, Engelking carded a 149. He was tied for first place then won the tie-breaker over Carthage College’s Joe Vath. Engelking earned CCIW Men’s Golfer of the Week honors thanks to his victory this weekend. He won the award once before as a freshman.

In the team event, Wheaton finished fourth overall. Carthage College won the invitational, but was closely followed by Aurora University and Carthage’s B-team. Marian University also competed in the invitational taking sixth and seventh place overall behind Carthage’s C-team.

“We’ve been working on course management and feel as if our games are all trending towards a successful spring,” Gonder said. There are four more invitationals before the CCIW Men’s Golf Championship, and a lot of CCIW play remaining in the season. Last year, Wheaton placed third overall at the conference championship tournament.

Wheaton’s next finisher was senior Joshua Chung who finished in a tie for 17th overall. Sophomore Cooper Williamson and freshman Ben Blasé of Wheaton tied for 20th, and junior Jabe Gonder finished close behind in 24th place. Junior Luke Meyer also competed in the tournament and finished in 29th place overall.

The Wheaton men’s golfers will return to the competition this Friday, April 5 at the Illinois Wesleyan Invitational.

Thunder baseball begins season with winning streak

By Abram Erickson

Thanks to a commanding opening stretch, the Wheaton Thunder Men’s Baseball team is off to a strong start this season, and they’re cruising into conference play.

Currently sitting at a 13-6 record, the team started off the year on fire in the non-conference schedule, racking up seven straight wins.

Their winning streak began at Lookout Mountain, Georgia, where the Thunder opened the season with a pair of wins against Covenant College. Then they went to Fort Pierce, Florida for the team’s annual spring break trip, where the Thunder won all of their first five games in the Florida Coast Spring Training Tournament. Wheaton gained two victories against Norwich University, then took a game apiece from Geneva College, Western Connecticut State and Cairn University.

Two losses in a doubleheader against Washington College stopped the streak at seven wins, but the Thunder stormed back with a commanding 11-1 win over the College of Mount Saint Vincent to finish off the tournament.

The Thunder returned home to Lee Pfund Stadium in Carol Stream for the first time on Friday, March 22, when they opened up the Wheaton Invitational against Concordia College (Minn.). Wheaton prevailed over Concordia 8-2 in the opener, and then tallied another victory against Saint Mary’s University (Minn.) on Saturday. The invitational finished with the Thunder falling, 5-10, to Concordia University Chicago in Saturday’s nightcap.

The Thunder were 10-3 heading into conference play and moved seamlessly into their CCIW regular-season schedule with a win against Illinois Wesleyan University, 8-5.

Wheaton’s first conference series of the year was a face-off against the Big Blue of Millikin University on March 30 and April 1. The Thunder took the opener on Saturday, 9-3, but fell 4-0 in game two. Millikin won the rubber match on Monday, 3-0, to drop Wheaton’s conference record to 2-2.

Immediately following the Millikin series, Wheaton went back to work in a CCIW doubleheader against Carthage College on Tuesday. The Thunder won game one in dramatic fashion, thanks to a walk-off double by freshman infielder Matthias Haggerty in the bottom of the 10th inning, which led Wheaton to the 9-8 victory. Game two saw Carthage earn a 10-7 win, and Wheaton’s conference record remain even at 3-3.

The Thunder will look to carry momentum from their strong opening throughout the CCIW season. They aim to continue performing the way they did their dominant non-conference stretch, according to senior infielder and team captain Ben Brittain.

“We’ve had a strong start to the season so far, and the most encouraging part about it is the amount of contributors,” Brittain said. “Heading into conference, our entire starting lineup was batting over .300, which is something that we have never had the luxury of in my four years on the team. Likewise, our pitching staff consistently gives us opportunities to win games.”

Brittain himself is among those setting the tone for the Thunder batters, as he leads the team with a .387 average and 29 hits. Sophomore infield/outfield player Joel Pierce has been another bright spot for the Thunder offense thus far, leading the team in doubles, total bases and home runs with eight, 45 and three, respectively.

“When the pressure of performing is spread throughout the lineup, hitters are more relaxed at the plate which builds confidence,” added Brittain.

Wheaton has strength on the mound thanks to leadership from senior starting pitcher Michael McCraith, who is the top performer among the hurlers with 32.1 innings pitched, a 3-1 overall record and a 1.95 ERA. Junior pitcher Christian Bolhuis has also added three wins on his way to a 3-2 record.

“Overall, both our confidence between individuals and teammates is at an all-time high and we are hoping to continue the trend as we begin conference,” Brittain said.

Fellow team captain Nick Mailman, a senior outfielder, echoed Brittain’s comments. “It’s been a great start to the year. We’re getting significant contributions from all spots in the lineup,” Mailman said. “We’re lucky to have so many key contributors returning, and that should bode well for us in conference.”

With a 13-6 record overall and a 3-3 record in conference, the Thunder are poised to enter the bulk of their CCIW schedule.

Up next is a three-game series against Elmhurst College on April 5 and 6, with game one on Friday in Elmhurst, and games two and three in Carol Stream on Saturday.

New faith and disability initiative partners with local schools, churches

By Melissa Schill

This week, the Ann Haskins Special Education Program at Wheaton College, an endowed program within the education department, launched The Faith and Disability Initiative. The initiative is a “disability discourse to empower disciple-making movements.” In a country where almost 20 percent of the population has a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, founder and Wheaton Professor of Special Education Thomas Boehm sees a pertinent need for increased exposure to and engagement with the disabled community.

The initiative’s overarching goal is twofold. First, “engaging the world through inclusive schooling and Biblical faith for the expanding of God’s family.” Second, “equipping the Church for inclusive ministry and schooling for the maturing of God’s family.” Whether at physical churches, Christian schools or Wheaton College, the initiative aims to provide support and resources that promote and enable engagement with disabled people in the community.

“It is the initiative’s function and mandate to collaboratively work institutionally,” Boehm said. The idea of founding an initiative like this came to Boehm while he was pursuing his doctorate in Special Education at Vanderbilt. After he was hired to teach at Wheaton in 2015, Boehm began working more seriously to make it happen.

The Faith and Disability Advisory Council was formed to serve as decentralized leadership for the initiative. The group will meet twice a year. It will include two Wheaton alumni who teach special education as well as three parents of individuals with disabilities. Over the next three years, Boehm hopes to grow the council to 15 members.

Through the council, Boehm hopes to make engagement with the disabled community easier. “I want to figure out how to serve, equip and empower existing infrastructure. I want to resource them,” Boehm said.

To launch the initiative, a private symposium was held March 27-29 for leaders working in fields involving faith and disability, including theologians, academics and practitioners.

The symposium provided materials that might equip attendees to better support disabled individuals. For example, 30 seven-minute lectures were filmed by the attendees. The lectures offer insight about the relevance of engaging the disabled community as well as practical means of doing so within specific fields of work. Boehm hopes to make the lectures accessible to faculty so that they can be used to educate students in a wide variety of disciplines.

Wheaton College currently offers an LBS1 Endorsement for education students through the Ann Haskins Special Education Program. Students in this program take 18 credit hours to get the endorsement which equips future educators with resources and strategies to serve all students.

Freshman Kiersten Anton decided to pursue her LBS1 Endorsement after being in class with special education students during high school. As an education major, she hopes to teach in a mixed classroom — a classroom in which disabled students and non-disabled students are taught together. “I am an advocate for mixed classrooms,” Anton said. “There is so much to learn from [individuals with disabilities].”

Freshman Audrey Irwin, another education major pursuing an LBS1 Endorsement, said that many schools and churches are making strides to a more mixed approach, “but there is still a lot of work to be done … It is so important for believers to engage with the special needs community because they are our brothers and sisters in Christ and have so many incredible gifts,” Irwin said in an email exchange with the Record.

The Faith and Disability Initiative will serve to engage more students like Anton and Irwin in opportunities to work with disabled members of the local, national and international community.

“Wheaton invests a lot of time and energy and resources into building off ramps so students can go off campus to have all kinds of experiences … Any and every one of those experiences ought to have an opportunity where students can engage with individuals with disabilities,” Boehm said. “We should be cultivating partners where those kinds of experiences are normative.”

Alongside promoting social engagement for students, the initiative will also host informational engagement opportunities. “Engaging Autism — Honoring God,” a lecture by Dr. Grant Macaskill, Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and Director of the Centre for the Study of Autism and Christian Community, was held on March 26. It featured a piano performance from Judson student Daniel Bovell, an individual with autism, as well as a temporary art installment from the students at Clare Woods Academy, an organization committed to helping youth and adults with disabilities.

This event will be held annually to ensure that conversation on campus concerning engagement with individuals with disabilities continues.

Billy Graham Archives moving out of BGC

By Charles Hermesmann

On March 28, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) announced their request for Wheaton College to transfer Billy Graham’s papers and the BGEA organizational archives from the Billy Graham Center (BGC) Archives on Wheaton’s campus to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C. Graham, a famous American evangelist and pastor who graduated from Wheaton in 1943, gave the college oral histories of the BGEA, crusade procedure books, news conferences, sermon transcripts, personal correspondences and other materials when the BGC was dedicated in 1980.

In a statement on their website, Graham’s son and president of the BGEA, Franklin Graham, said the decision was made to “continue consolidation in Billy Graham’s hometown.” According to the BGEA’s website, the papers were first given to Wheaton because a facility like the Billy Graham Library did not exist at the time. The transfer would be part of the BGEA’s efforts to centralize all archival information in one place.

Some Wheaton students were unhappy about the announcement. Freshman John Colson felt that Graham’s initial decision to entrust his papers to Wheaton College should not be overridden: “Dr. Graham … knew that we, as the institution that we are, would do the best job making these papers and materials accessible to anyone who might want to use them.”

Wheaton students and scholars from around the world have used the BGC Archives for research. Some are concerned that not being able to access the documents will hinder this work. “People enjoy his work and actually being able to access it firsthand,” said freshman Josh Denniston. “Not having those resources available … won’t maintain or cultivate the learning environment we have here at Wheaton.”

The Billy Graham Library, where the BGEA has requested to transfer the papers, was founded in 2007. On its website, the library is described as a ministry. At its dedication, Franklin Graham said, “It’s a tool for evangelism. And long after my father and mother are in heaven, people are going to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ because of the message they hear inside those doors.”

At the BGC’s dedication in Wheaton, Billy Graham said, “I hope and pray that the Billy Graham Center will be a world hub of inspiration, research and training that will glorify Christ and serve every church and organization in preaching and teaching the gospel to the world.” The BGEA helped fund the BGC’s initial construction.

In the BGEA’s statement regarding the transfer, Franklin Graham said, “We are grateful for the role Wheaton College played in my father’s life and for their ongoing commitment to the cause of evangelism — as well as for their partnership as these archives transition into a new era. We also thank Bob Shuster and Paul Ericksen for their professional care of the [BGC] Archives over several decades at Wheaton.” The BGEA declined to provide the Record with further comment.

Wheaton publicly responded to the announcement in an email confirming that, “college leaders are in communication with the BGEA regarding its planned consolidation.… Wheaton College affirms its longstanding respect for the BGEA and looks forward to continuing the positive relationship that the College and the BGEA have enjoyed for decades.”

Representatives from the BGC Archives declined to comment on the decision and instead pointed to the college’s statement. President Philip Ryken told the Record, “Billy Graham was a gift to the world, but he was also a gift to Wheaton College.… We remain committed to the ministry of evangelism synonymous with Billy Graham’s name, and also to providing world-class archives for the study of global outreach.”

The BGEA has not yet determined which papers will be available for public use upon their retention by the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte. While in the BGC Archives’ possession, the papers were either open or closed depending on the date of their production. In Mar. 2018, the BGC Archives opened two of Graham’s collections that had been previously closed by the BGEA until his death, according to The Gospel Coalition. The collections include documents, such as letters to presidents, that will not be available for public access until 30 years after their production. Some are not to be opened until 75 years after the youngest document in the collection was produced.

In taking control of the documents, the BGEA would be able to regulate who accesses Billy Graham’s papers, letters and other materials and when they would be able to access them. The shift in control has raised some concerns elsewhere in academia

In a Religion News Service article, Messiah College professor of history John Fea said, “By taking the papers away from Wheaton, where access is open, Franklin Graham and the BGEA can… control the narrative of his father’s life in terms of who gets to read them. Evangelicals must come face to face with both the good side and the bad side of their history by taking an honest look at people like Billy Graham. I am not sure this will happen in Charlotte. The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte is not a library.”

In the college’s statement, Ryken assured the Wheaton community that even if the materials are consolidated, the BGC Archives will continue to house information on evangelism both in the U.S. and worldwide.

It is unclear exactly when the move will happen. For now, Billy Graham’s archives remain open to students and visiting scholars in the BGC until June 1 when the documents will begin preparation for transfer.

Annual Theology Conference brings authors, speakers to Wheaton

By Micah McIntyre

Today, Apr. 4, biblical scholars and theologians from around the world converge on the Billy Graham Center (BGC) for Wheaton’s 28th annual Theology Conference.

The conference is titled “Who Do You Say That I Am?’Why the Humanity of Jesus Matters.” The goal of the conference is to better define the relationship between Jesus’ humanity and saving faith. According to the description of the conference on Wheaton’s website, 12 speakers will each explore “how the reality of the Incarnation challenges and redeems our broken social structures, including racial and ethnic divisions, economic systems and sexuality.”

Last year’s conference brought in the second most attendees in the conference’s history when Marilynne Robinson came to discuss her book, “Gilead.” This year, Office Administrator and Conference Coordinator Krista Sanchez expects there to be about 75 registered attendees from outside of campus and a couple hundred members in total when combined with Wheaton faculty and students.

Fleming Rutledge, one of the first women ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church, is a keynote speaker this year. Student workers and conference committee members expect her lecture to draw in the most people.  

“I am especially looking forward to hearing [her] give a lecture on Thursday evening and preach in Friday’s chapel,” said Caroline Lauber, one of the student coordinators for the conference. “She has been one of the most important and influential preachers in the U.S. in the last four decades. We are fortunate to have her on campus to speak to students, faculty and the greater Wheaton community.”

Not only is Rutledge a premier preacher in the United States, she is also recognized around Canada and the UK as an accomplished teacher and Old Testament scholar. She has published numerous books that deal with the intersection of theology and modern culture. The faculty and administration believe that her contributions to the conference will aid in communicating a message that they feel needs to be shared.

Dean of Biblical and Theological Studies and the Conference Committee Chair, David Capes, proposed the theme to the administration because he and his colleagues feel that the humanity of Jesus is overlooked in the church today.

“There are a lot of evangelicals that have a sense of the divinity of Jesus that trumps his humanity,” said Capes. “A part of what we wanted to do was to address that failure or fault I think that a lot evangelicals have.”

Capes feels that the subject of Jesus’ humanity has many implications for the way Christians live out their faith and confront major issues. To help evangelicals better understand the incarnation, he and the other faculty chair of the Conference Committee and Professor of Theology, George Kalantzis, brought in speakers with different areas of expertise. There are a number of New Testament scholars, as well as scholars in Christian art, who will explore various aspects of Jesus’ humanity. There will also be speakers who focus more on culturally relevant applications of the topic.

“We have two scholars coming from South America who are working on a project … dealing with migration patterns and displaced people. [We want to ask,] what does the humanity of Jesus say to displaced people,” explained Capes. “We’re going to have a variety of people coming in and addressing various issues. It could be endless — what does the humanity of Jesus say about how we treat our planet? We could add chapter after chapter … dealing with contemporary issues.”

Student workers who have been involved in promotion and advertising are excited to explore a topic that they feel is relevant.

“If we neglect the humanity of Jesus, we have a diminished view of the the salvation that he achieves,” said Lauber. “This conference is a wonderful opportunity to explore and emphasize this topic.”

But for Lauber and Capes, this conference is not only for scholars and theologians.

“We do this for the students,” said Case. “People will come in from the community to hear Fleming Rutledge and Ryan Daley and some of the other speakers, but we primarily do this to enrich the lives of our students.”

“I want to encourage students to attend because they will hear outstanding theologians and biblical scholars on these topics,” said Provost Margaret Diddams. “I would like students to take advantage of all the opportunities that they can for biblical and theological literacy while they are here at Wheaton.”

Lauber believes that students need to take advantage of the opportunity to attend such timely lectures and hear nationally recognized speakers.

“We are not only able to hear some of our own professors, we are also able to hear people who are leaders in the academy and the church,” said Lauber. When else will you have another opportunity to listen to amazing theologians speak on the humanity of Jesus for free?”

New student leaders talk about partnership and plans

An interview with Sarah Yoon and Nat Lewis, elected president and VP

By Charles Hermesmann

What first motivated you to run for student body president and vice president?

Sarah: First, I think the experiences I’ve had at Wheaton have definitely been transformative, whether that’s been in classes, or on my floor or just with friends that I’ve met. I really want to pour into the community and give back. The past three years, I’ve found ways to serve Wheaton. First, [by] exploring what Wheaton has to offer on the debate team and on Koinonia. My second year, I was a Deke, and showed hospitality to prospective students and people who could be here and may make Wheaton their home. This past year, I poured in and really fostered a sense of community around me [as a Resident Assistant (RA)]. I think I see Wheaton, and especially student government, as an avenue to advocate for belonging, and if that means using my interactions and my experiences with other people to advocate for those voices, that’s what I’d like to do.

Nat: We’ve actually had the fairly unique privilege of having been alongside each other for a majority of our leadership experience. We were Dekes in the same cohort, RAs not just in the same year but [also] in the same building, so I think that closeness has really afforded increased familiarity with Sarah, increased friendship, increased knowledge of how she works and how her experiences have affected her.

The parts where I’ve thrived the most have been in the nurturing, the energetic speaking on behalf of advocacy, more of the day to day small roles that I’ve been able to observe as an RA. I think that nurturing is where I thrive, and I think during the campaign, there’s this analytical side that has come out as well. It was a very natural choice from the very beginning to run for VP. All my gifts seem to line up with that role.

What do you see as the biggest problem on Wheaton’s campus right now and how do you plan to address it?

S: There is a sense of helplessness, or that sense of [thinking], “As an individual, how am I supposed to create change? How am I supposed to change the world?” I think something that is more universal in terms of Wheaton’s students is that we don’t feel empowered in classes or through comparison with each other — we don’t feel like we can make a difference and that inhibits change, inhibits progress and inhibits cooperation. I think there’s a lot of lack of imagination or a lack of vision for what the future could have in store for us.

N: [There’s] a lot of cynicism on campus. That’s a hard thing to talk about because it comes off as [accusatory], but I think I would have to point the finger at myself first and say that it’s something that we all bring to the culture. The interesting thing about cynicism is that I feel like it’s a particularly hard thing to call out because it is self-perpetuated and defensive. I think the biggest thing you can do is combat it with vulnerability. Radical vulnerability, [but] wise vulnerability.

Some students are concerned that you do not have any previous SG experience. How do you respond to this?

N: We have not had that much student government experience prior to this, but that’s something that we’re very aware of, and we’ve sought to represent a new outside perspective from student government. We’ve just begun to arm-wrestle with some of this information from the very beginning by talking to the SG advisors, previous presidents, previous vice presidents, talking to faculty about strategy, attending the weekly board meetings, reading the constitution and reading proposals. We know that we don’t have that previous experience, yet because we’re aware of it and because we desire to do a good job we have really tried to educate ourselves as much as possible. We haven’t gained our experience from being on the board and being raised in the environment of student government, but we care so much about it that we are willing to not only step into a new zone but do what is required to prepare ourselves to step in.

S: There’s this misconception that the president and vice president create proposals, [but we’re] actually not allowed to vote. So in terms of passing proposals or approving them, that’s something that the EVPs and the people physically on the board do — they are the voting members. I think that Nat’s and my experiences throughout Wheaton have allowed us to tap into different parts of campus in a more holistic way, and that leads to more proper and more effective representation. So, even just last year, both being Dekes we had a behind-the-scenes view of the admissions process. This year as RAs, both Nat and I get to see behind-the-scenes of residence life in forming intentional community that is surrounded by [not only] growth, but also accountability. In my experience as a student ambassador this year, I’ve been able to meet with Dr. Ryken, with so many different faculty and administrative members and employees … and begin forming a bridge between students and faculty. That’s something that Nat and I are already doing. Representation — which is the primary job and purpose of president and VP — is something that Nat and I do already have experience with.

What are your goals for next year? How do you plan to make a difference and what specific changes should students anticipate coming into the 2019-2020 school year?

N: Some of our values are advocacy, belonging and commitment. I think even now, post-election, without at all trying to upstage or usurp the current board’s authority, we’re really trying to figure out how to actively form action steps that will embody those values. Some of those include areas of need, both in our campaign and also in positions to be filled. I think we’ll get a better idea of how the board will be fleshed out and what [the] areas of need are when class officers are elected. As “SG outsiders,” I think we have an acute awareness of how student government is perceived by the student body at large, and I don’t want to speak for everyone in saying they’re all perceiving student government this way, but I think it is not an exaggeration [to say] that a lot of students didn’t know the meeting places and functions of a lot of student government staples like the board meeting [in previous years.] We really want to establish proximity with the student body. We’re also trying to formulate some better ways we can collaborate with other student groups to increase awareness and effectiveness.

Our campaign was focused a lot on the idea of unity, which I think umbrellas out into a lot of other areas [like] sustainability and health. I don’t think that people would jump to the word “unity” when describing our campus culture right now. We’d love to see more collaboration between groups, more communication and more understanding.