By Ashlee Alley

I am sure it comes as no surprise that faith plays a pretty significant role in my life. I am the campus minister, after all. I was raised in a Christian family and was involved in church for my whole life, but it was actually when I enrolled as a student at Southwestern, I truly began to learn what it meant to be a person of faith. I knew a great deal about making “Christian” choices, and even a lot about the bible. And I had had a good many experiences relating to my faith, but when I came to college and realized my faith was my faith, not that of my parents, I truly learned what it meant to be a believer and follower of Christ.

I remember the first Sunday that I was here in Winfield—I had worked (and played) hard at Freshman Work Day the day prior and I was tired. I set my alarm to go to church with some new friends, but when that alarm went off, I wasn’t sure I wanted to roll out of bed. But I did. Even during those first days of college, I had an awareness that my time in college could be an opportunity to truly explore what I thought and not just accept the beliefs of my parents or my church.

The choices I made way back many years ago led me to become involved in campus ministry, a local church, and engage in personal spiritual practices. I came here to receive a great education and major in biology (which I did), but while I was here, I discovered God was calling me to step out in faith and serve in full-time ministry. No one was more shocked than I was to hear that call, especially when it would bring me back here to Southwestern, to serve as campus minister.

My faith was shaped here as I learned to study the bible, worship with others in chapel, explore ideas that were unfamiliar and truly examine what I believed about things.

I’ve learned important “faith” lessons in the years since. I’ve learned that my doubts have taught me more about faith than anything else, the process of becoming a faithful person means one will encounter both pain and joy, and I will not always know what step to take next. But learning to become a person of faith means I can have confidence that God is giving me the grace to take another step of faith today and again tomorrow.

Rev. Ashlee Alley is the director of campus ministry.

By Stacy Townsley

I am, in general, an optimistic person, and my faith is a key source of inspiration for my positive outlook on life and understanding of the times we’re living in.

To be of service to humanity is a primary tenet of the Bahá’í Faith, and I try to view my work and family life through this lens.

Stacy Townsley is the registrar.