Students Return to Campus for the Spring Semester – Asbury University
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Students Return to Campus for the Spring Semester

January 15, 2019

A fresh energy infused Asbury University’s Hughes Auditorium Monday morning as students gathered for the first Chapel of the spring 2019 semester. Each class rose to sing its class hymn with the hearty energy often found after experiencing the deep rest of the Christmas season. Asbury University President Dr. Sandra C. Gray’s final opening Chapel message reflected on the ways in which we can bring that deep rest with us throughout the year.  

“I love when the New Year comes, because we have a clean slate,” Gray said. “A wonderful thing about the academic calendar is that we get a new start. We are here for a new start today.”

An excitement buzzed through campus as classes resumed Monday. Several transfer students and new freshmen were welcomed to Asbury during Spring Welcome Weekend last week.

For students in the Merciful Class of 2019, however this semester is bittersweet, marking the beginning of the end of their time at Asbury with commencement approaching in May.

During the inaugural Chapel of the semester, students were briefly introduced to Provost Dr. Timothy Wooster as Gray conducted an informal, lighthearted Q&A with him before her message.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank you with a heart of gratitude,” Wooster said. “This has been a very genuine, warm, authentic and welcoming community and I just can’t say enough about how the onboarding and this week have gone.”

Wooster’s journey to Asbury began two years ago when he felt a nudge from God to become open to a life change. Shortly after, Wooster was invited to speak with Gray about the position.

“As you shared, something inside me shifted,” Wooster said to Gray, describing their initial meeting. “In particular when you shared about the faculty and staff and about their deep commitment to excellence, their deep commitment to the spiritual life and the spiritual journey that students are on. But more so, when you talked about the students themselves. I realized that there may be another place where my deep commitment to the best in Christian education and the best in Christian faith might resonate. It was that intangible thing. In that moment, something shifted. That was my introduction to the heart and soul of Asbury.”

Learn more about Wooster.

Following the Q&A, Gray shared a vibrant message on the promise God gives us all to find true rest in any moment. Drawing from Hebrews 4, Gray illustrated the purpose of rest as not just an action, but a place where we can lay our burdens down and surrender our own wills to the will of God, accepting where and what He has placed on our own individual paths.

“When we are in His presence, that means rest,” Gray said. “Or if we’re at rest, that means we’re in His presence. The rest that God is promising to each one of us is not about getting a good night’s sleep. It’s not about having a day off. It’s about entering into this constant place of His presence where our minds and hearts and souls are all in harmony, they’re not in conflict. His presence is what ushers us into this rest.”

We are excited to have the Asbury student body back on campus for this new semester. Please join us in praying for our students as they return to classes this week.

Learn more about Chapel at Asbury.