Dear Builder Family –

A lot can change in a week. When I was a student at Southwestern, I majored in Philosophy and Religion. I remember having conversations in my classes where we would discuss case studies featuring moral dilemmas, and how to respond ethically. You might have had these conversations in one of our SC classrooms, already. As I have been reading the news about the devastating impact of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, I go back and envision myself in my undergraduate school classroom. It is one thing to talk about abstract moral dilemmas, and our responses in a classroom, and another to be living during an actual dilemma where we are the decision makers, whether we want to be or not. We do not have the gifts of hindsight, or answers in the back of our books here. We only have the recent present moments. In light of that, below are some things that I invite the Builder Family near and far to remember in the coming days:

First, Builders remember that they are on the same team. Your administration, faculty, coaches and staff have been considering the entire context, and working tirelessly to make ethical decisions on behalf of many in our community. As we are away from each other in the coming days, let us be mindful, and pray for all the leaders in our world who are having to make moment-by-moment decisions. We must remember we are on the same team, and therefore work together to keep everyone safe. After this, may Builders all around the world be remembered by the wise decisions that they made that benefited the whole.

Second, Builders remember to be thoughtful and flexible. It’s hard to have athletic games, music and theatre performances, and group gatherings cancelled for the foreseeable future. We are creatures who long to start and end well, and these are important, and natural desires. But for now, self-isolating, staying in one place, and co-existing in small groups are the ways in which we are called to be both thoughtful and flexible, and to care for our neighbors. Blessed is the Builder who can see just far enough into the future to know that buying only one case of needed toilet paper when there are two is the better decision.

Third, Builders are creative. As we speak, your professors, administrators, coaches and staff members are all thinking about creative ways to connect with you starting Monday, March 23, while we are distanced from one another. Professors are building up their online classrooms; staff members are testing out apps to help you meet face-to-face on a screen. From where I sit in the campus ministry office, we are planning to move our worship services online, starting Wednesday, March 25.

Last of all, Builders try. In Campus Ministry, our theme for the semester has been “Try Chapel.” We have been encouraging our student body to try something new as it relates to life and faith. At one of our first chapels of the semester, Dawn Pleas reminded us that Builders try. Full stop. During this challenging time, lean into the new things that you must try, and look for the positive. Remember that SC has prepared you in some important ways for such a time as this. We trust that the Builder Spirit is alive and well, even when we are away from each other. God is with us.

We invite you to follow along on Instagram with @scchapel and Facebook “SC Chapel” to keep updated regarding services, and what we are calling “connection groups.” These will be small groups that use virtual tools to combat social isolation. If you need to talk during this time, or need resources, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Peace and Good Care,