Ash Wednesday service held at Point University

Published 9:00 am Thursday, February 23, 2023

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By: Charlotte Reames

As Black History Month continues, Point University celebrated racial and religious diversity with several programs, including an Ash Wednesday service and a student and faculty art show.

On Wednesday, students and faculty gathered in the LAC courtyard for Point’s Ash Wednesday along with communion.

The event included a prayer, ash and communion and a scripture exhibit. After taking communion and receiving their ash cross, students and faculty wrote down either something they’re giving up for Lent or a prayer.

The event was hosted by Director of Campus Ministry and Spiritual Formation Jon Reynolds  and Wye Huxford, vice president for spiritual formation & dean of the chapel. Around 10 students and faculty members participated in the event.

Ash Wednesday is a traditional event for some Western Christian denominations, particularly Catholics. It marks the first day of Lent, during which members fast and pray. On Ash Wednesday, participants receive an ash cross on their forehead by the priest to acknowledge their sins. On Ash Wednesday and leading up to Easter, Catholic Christians abstain from meat.

Some Christian denominations don’t celebrate the holiday. However, many students come to Point University from across the United States and the world. In 2018-2019, Point students represented 19 countries and 28 U.S. states.

Reynolds said the aim was to make sure that all students and faculty have the opportunity to worship in their own fashion.

“We have students from all different Christian backgrounds  — and faculty, too,” Reynolds said. “We want to participate in ministering to them all.”

With Easter coming up, Reynolds said the event was meant to get everyone ready for Resurrection Sunday.

From Wednesday to Friday, the art show in the LAC building featured student and faculty artwork focusing on black history and injustices. All students were encouraged to submit artwork to display.

The event was organized by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Nate Dunlap and student equity ambassadors.

“I’m grateful that President Collins understands my vision, and that I have the leeway to bring these moments of awareness to this campus, so that we can truly be that beacon of light to the community, and in partnership with the communities, that we know God wants us to be as an institution,” Dunlap said.

Each painting was numbered and assigned a QR code. As students and faculty walked around, they used the QR code to fill out a form describing how the artwork made them feel.

Around the art show, the DEI council also included books written by African American authors.

Many students attended the art show on Wednesday. One student said the backstories of each painting were most interesting to him, particularly a painting called “Never Letting Go.”

“All the paintings have a unique background,” said Samuell Williams. “That stood out to me.”

Kristina Faison, a freshman, was also drawn to “Never Letting Go.” The painting depicts a statue being remade by two young African American artists.

“It’s really interesting to see younger African Americans making something new and putting it into reality,” Faison said.

According to Dunlap, as part of the program, one student painted a piece for the art show live during a chapel service. Senior Roshanna Rash, a member of the Spiritual Formation team, said that goal was to make the chapel service more interactive for students and to celebrate Black History Month.

“It’s another way to just enlighten those who may not really think about the Black history … Hopefully, it will bring them and realize that this is something that we actually need, especially with the time now,” Rash said.

“We need a way to connect, so that everyone can understand what Black history is really all about.”