WRITTEN BY: SAVANAH DUFFY | STAFF WRITER
Spiritual Renewal Week is meant for students to seek and embrace spiritual growth and faith restoration, but some students may also begrudge the closed coffee shop, cafeteria and library during chapel hours.
According to the Director of Chaplaincy Ministries, Tim Whetstone, Spiritual Renewal Week should be a time not of “resignation,” but of “hopeful anticipation” to see God move. One of the topics discussed among students like Sarah Pyle during Spiritual Renewal Week is the impact that it has on students’ spiritual growth.
“I personally think it’s a great idea, but for the most part, it seemed like a hassle for many students. Mostly be- cause everything was closed, even the library,” says junior, biochemistry major
Pyle. Spiritual Renewal Week this semester was focused primarily on the “out- ward expressions of an inward trans- formation” according to Whetstone. Whetstone said the theme is intended to be a framework for the speaker of the week to connect his or her message to the overall theme of 2015-2016: “Way. Truth. Life.”
Freshman and applied health science major Benjamin Godoy said he believes that Renewal Week is effective for students who attend chapel and the activities, but the issue is getting people to go.
PLNU Junior Connor Mathisen holds a similar view.
“It’s not gonna be a Spiritual Renewal Week for the community of Point Loma if the community of Point Loma doesn’t show up to the events,” said Mathisen.
Whetstone said that for students to get the most out of Spiritual Renewal Week, he believes it requires a “shift of posture” and not merely being resigned to tolerate the week.
For some students, Renewal Week impacted them the most during their freshman year of PLNU.
Senior and literature major Alexa Allen says that she had just transferred from Biola University when she experienced Spiritual Renewal Week. With it occurring a few weeks after her arrival, she felt that it was a welcome to the school and a way of “inviting (her) back to the church.”
For Mathisen, his freshman year of Spiritual Renewal Week was one factor that made him change his major because it provided him with a time of prayer and reflection.
Whetstone shared a similar experience of a PLNU student two years ago, who had been praying at the altar during Renewal Week and felt a confirmation from God to change her major.
While some students felt greatly impacted by Spiritual Renewal Week, other students felt that they were being forced to attend.
Allen said if students chose to think of the week as a time to “step away from academics…and invest (their) whole being into the chapel, the week, and the events, then they would get more out of it.” But to Allen, it must be recognized that students need to make the decision to invest in chapel, and that something like spiritual growth must be done willingly.
Godoy said that for Renewal Week to be more effective for students, they need to have a desire to attend chapel and not be or feel coerced to go.
Whetstone believes that renewal is something not to be forced into.
Senior Hannah Andrade says that for her, Spiritual Renewal Week is effective when the speaker is someone who can connect with students. “Forcing [students] to be there by shutting down the caf and library won’t change their attitude,” said Andrade via text message. “The speaker is the key.”
The speaker for the week was Tim Green, who has spoken and taught in various countries in Eastern Europe. Green said that his biggest desire for Spiritual Renewal Week was that his speaking at PLNU would become part of what God is already doing.
Green’s desire is that students “wouldn’t only believe [faith in Jesus], but they would begin to imagine what it looks like for themselves to actually participate in it,” he said.