Asbury traditions make Reunion special
Published 9:40 am Thursday, June 20, 2019
From staff reports
The organ reverberates throughout Asbury University’s historic Hughes Auditorium as a gathering of alumni, young and old, sing out in harmony unto the Lord.
From Hymn Sing to class gatherings, there’s so much to love about Reunion at Asbury. In just one week, alumni can take part in a handful of the university’s favorite traditions at this beloved annual event.
For Director of Alumni Relations Lisa Falin Harper, tradition touches every part of Reunion weekend.
“I love watching friends greet one another for the first time,” Harper said. “Their joy is contagious! I love the singing in Hughes. It is life-giving and one of my favorite traditions we have at Reunion. I love seeing young alumni catching up with one another, while kids are running around, screaming and laughing as they play on the green. I tear up every time, thinking of the way God has worked in this place and through Asburians all these many years. What a privilege it is for us to be a part of this great tradition at Asbury.”
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being gathered in Hughes Auditorium for worship times during Reunion weekend. Not only is it a beautiful place to reminisce on one’s own spiritual journey as a student, but it’s also an impetus to encounter God as a member of Asbury’s alumni community today.
Reunion worship services provide time for deep spiritual reflection and connection with the Lord individually and communally with fellow Asbury alumni. The week culminates in an incredible time of worship during Hymn Sing. The music-filled event that is often called “the heart of Reunion,” is led by Dr. Mark Schell and his daughter Hannah Schell Miller, who guide alumni through a variety of classic hymns including “How Great Thou Art” and “It is Well.” Though this father-daughter musical duo is a newer tradition, their musical leadership serves as a sweet and treasured gift to the community.
Another exciting tradition that alumni can look forward to at Reunion 2019 is reuniting with their class advisors. Class advisors play a huge role in a class’ acclimation to Asbury and, as a result, have a special bond with the class. This year, advisors for the classes of 1969, 1979, 1989, 1994 and 1999 will be on campus to celebrate and reconnect with the classes they advised.
Alumni can also enjoy “returning to the classroom” with a lively discussion led by Dr. Dan Strait during the annual Coffee & Conversations event, where they’ll examine the work of 17th century poet George Herbert.
Reunion is all about connection as alumni are provided with ample opportunities to share memories and catch up on each other’s’ lives. Class lunches also bring about a wonderful time of reconnection and bonding with classmates.
The Reunion ice cream social tradition allows a delicious time of fellowship for the whole family, while the fireworks show makes for an unforgettable Saturday evening.
This year, a new tradition may begin for the class of 1964, as they take a trip to the Ark Encounter to explore massive exhibits depicting Noah’s ark.
Amidst all of the beloved traditions, Reunion 2019 will also look toward the future. Something that will make this year’s Reunion incredibly special is the chance to witness the groundbreaking of the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC). Alumni also have the unique opportunity to honor and celebrate the work of retiring Asbury President Sandra C. Gray by attending He is Faithful: A Celebration & Concert with VERITAS.
Though Reunion is covered in traditions, some new and some old, each Reunion is uniquely themed and presents opportunities for alumni to dive deeper into different aspects of their faith. This year’s Reunion will focus on God’s faithfulness with a theme verse of 1 Thessalonians 5:24. In between all of the tradition and fun, alumni can expect to be challenged and encouraged to examine the faithfulness of the Lord in their own lives.
Harper hopes that alumni come into the weekend with this in mind.
“Our prayer is that our alumni would recognize God’s presence in their lives right now,” Harper said. “So many made commitments to Christ while students at Asbury. Many can show you exactly where they knelt in Hughes, as they gave their lives to Christ. Whether it was a few years ago or a few decades ago, God is and has been faithful and our desire is for our alumni to be drawn deeper into a relationship with Christ. We want them to leave refreshed and with an understanding that they are loved deeply.”
Learn more about Reunion 2019 by visiting asbury.edu/reunion.